Pull-up & Chin-up Guide | How to do Pull-ups & Chin-ups
Without doubt, pull-ups and chin-ups are one of the most effective basic exercises to develop a muscular upper body. They work a large number of muscles simultaneously and, through different grip setups and techniques, offer many different training variations.
Apr 21st, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
|Strength||Pull-ups are a great exercise to strengthen almost all upper body and arm muscles, including the hand's gripping strength.|
|Muscles||Doing Pull-ups on a regular basis can develop an impressive upper body.|
|Balance||Pull-ups help maintaining the upper body's muscular balance by compensating the popular pressing exercise for chest and front shoulders.|
|Simplicity||Pull-ups require nothing but a fixed horizontal bar or something similar to grasp. Once you're able to perform a few pull-ups, you can train virtually anywhere.|
|Versatility||A variety of grip setups and many training techniques make pull-ups a versatile and interesting exercise.|
Basic Pull-up Instructions
- Stand below pull-up bar and grasp it with wide overhand grip. Hang on bar.
- Bend your knees and cross your lower legs.
- Pull your body up until your upper chest reaches the bar. Look up and keep chest up, leading toward the bar.
- Return with same speed. Keep the arms very slightly bent at the bottom of the motion to maintain the muscular activity. Simultaneously let your your shoulders be pulled up by the bodyweight.
The Difference Between Pull-ups and Chin-upsWhile the basic pulling movement is the same, pull-ups and chin-ups differ in the hand's grip setup.
|Palms facing away from you involves less arm flexor muscles and more back. It is harder.||Palms facing you involves less back muscles and more arm flexors. It is easier.|
Pull-up TechniquesEspecially for beginners pull-ups a are a major challenge. Not only do they require a good relation of strength and bodyweight, but also a very specific muscular coordination that can only be improved by doing it.
Don't stick to Lat Pull-downs for too long. Even if you're strong enough to sit and pull down about your bodyweight, it doesn't mean you're able to do a single correct pull-up, because you're not accustomed to the specific technique. Any great performance on the pull-up bar comes from hard and consistent training.
|Assisted Pull-ups, Machine|
|Assisted Pull-ups, Elastic Band|
|Assisted Pull-ups, Training Partner|
|Wide Overhand Grip|
|Close Overhand Grip|
|Close Neutral Grip|
|Wide Reverse Grip|
|One Arm Reverse Grip|
- Straight Arms. Extending the arms completely disables all major muscular activity for a moment, which may result in overstressed passive structures, such as tendons and ligaments.
- Swinging. Try to keep hips and legs as stable as possible. Don't kick legs and don't swing back and forth.
Exercise Guide Links to Pull-ups & Chin-upsPull-up
Pull-up, Behind Neck
Pull-up, Close Grip
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The Best Six-Pack Ab Exercises
At first glance, the best and most effective six-pack ab exercise won´t be recognized as abdominal-specific, because it isn´t the classic and very popular exercise like crunches, leg raises or sit-ups that I´m talking about. Obviously, even crunches don´t offer a really functional core training, hence there are much smarter ways to train and shape the center of your body.
Mar 2nd, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
Six-pack Abs RequirementsTo get six-pack abs, you have to meet two essential requirements:
|Muscles||Strong core muscles are the basis, not just for good-looking abs, that is nothing more than a pleasant side-effect, but for a pain-free back, a good posture and an outstanding training performance, which requires the core muscles to be as strong as possible.|
|Body Fat||Men need to have a body fat percentage of 10% or lower to show a six-pack ab. Otherwise they remain hidden below a layer of body fat. That, however, means no functional disadvantages at all, you simply don´t have visible abs.|
Complex Training vs. Isolation TrainingCurrently, the most popular ab exercises are isolation exercise that involve certain rolling-in movements of the upper body, which is no functional way to train your abs. The main purpose of all core muscles is to stabilize the trunk against external forces. Beside stabilization, the obliques serve as torso rotator. Let me summarize:
Isolated core training through upper body roll-ins or side-bends is a meaningful act, but does not provide a functional and natural way of core strengthening.
Also the percentage of body fat, as the second important pillar for a six-pack abs, can be influenced more effectively by doing functional and complex exercises, since you activate a large number of muscles simultaneously. This leads to an increased hormone secretion and increased fat burning. A reduction in body fat requires a certain amount of active muscle and an adequate diet, which leads to insight number two:
The more muscles you activate simultaneously during an exercise and the more muscle mass you own, the higher your potential for burning body fat. Therefore you have to do complex exercises, requiring a signficant and functional participation of your core muscles.
The List: The Best Six-pack Ab ExercisesI will divide this list into two categories:
- Ab Exercises whose target muscles are mainly abs.
- Non-Ab Exercises that activate a large number of muscles and put high demand on your core muscles.
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How to Do Shoulder Dislocations
Shoulder Dislocations are a great dynamic flexibility exercise to stretch your chest and front shoulder muscles, to correct the posture of the upper torso, to prevent you from shoulder pain from working out and to improve the flexibility of your shoulder articulations, which is increasing your overall upper body training performance.
Mar 1st, 2010 - written by Stephan in Flexibility
Why You Should Do Shoulder DislocationsIf you spent plenty of time in seated position, whether it is in the car or at the desk, your upper back will sooner or later have the tendency to develop a hyper-kyphosis, caused by shortened chest and shoulder muscles weakened upper back muscles. The same is true for almost anyone who is doing a regular strength training for chest and front shoulders. Non-balanced shoulder joints are one of the main sources of shoulder pain.
|Reason||Incorrect Seated Posture|
|Examples||Pushing Compound Exercises||Pushing Isolation Exercises|
How to Do Shoulder DislocationsShoulder Dislocation Equipment. You need one of the following things. The use of flexible equipment like towel or belt allows more convenient wrist angles. However, if you want to use a rigid stick, go for a wooden broomstick or PVC stick.
- Grip Distance. It is important to begin with a wide grip and to gradually decrease the grip distance as your shoulder joints become more flexible.
- Straight Arms. Keep your arms as straight as possible throughout the complete motion.
- Chest and Back Muscles. Squeeze your back muscles and pull your shoulders together. Keep your chest muscles relaxed.
- Tense Your Core and Hip Muscles. Tense your abdominal muscles and your glutes to prevent your lower back from hyper-extending.
- Range of Motion. Choose an adequate grip distance. If you can´t perform the full motion, widen your grip.
- Overall Posture. Don´t hyper-extend your lower back. Tense abdominals and glutes to keep your torso as upright as possible.
- Execution Speed. Don´t go too fast. Concentrate and on an error-free movement.
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Bench Press Video Tutorial | Training Technique | Tips and Tricks
Finally I had the opportunity to create a Youtube video out of the Bench Press Tutorial video files. Have a look!
Feb 27th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
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Push-ups: Correct Training Technique and Variations
Jan 17th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
IntroductionWithout doubt push-ups are the most popular bodyweight exercise. They strengthen almost the entire body, especially chest, shoulders and arm muscles, they are available in many variations, you can do them without any equipment and the technique is quite easy to learn. Yet, it takes some basic knowledge to do push-ups correctly, because like with any other strength training exercise, also push-ups bear the potential of mistakes that may lead to injuries and pains. Therefore read this guide to a correct push-up training technique.
|Strength||Working with your own bodyweight requires great effort and makes push-ups the a perfect exercise for strengthening the muscles of the torso.|
|Muscle Growth||Anyone who does push-ups on a regular basis may soon be pleased to develop some muscles. Push-ups mainly build chest, front shoulders and triceps muscles.|
|Effectiveness||Besides the dynamically active muscles push-ups also put high demand on many stabilizing muscles, which an almost total body workout out of this exercise.|
|Simplicity||A great advantage is the simplicity of push-ups. You can do push-ups almost anywhere and anytime.|
- Place your hands slightly more than shoulder-wide apart on the floor.
- Then extend you body, place feet with toe tips on floor as well and hold your body above the floor while keeping your arms almost extended.
- Now bend your elbows and lower your body until the chest almost touches the floor and your elbows are bent about at right angles.
- Press your body up into the starting position, elbows remain slightly bent.
- Repeat as often as possible, provided a correct training technique.
|Hands||Place the hands slightly wider than shoulder-wide apart, not too far away. Let the fingertips point forward.|
|Wrists||Placing the palm flat on the floor can occasionally lead to pain within the strongly extended wrists. In this case, it is better to do the push-ups on the fists or with handles, which allows the wrists to stay straight.|
|Upper Arms||Hold your upper arms between almost perpendicular to the upper body or close to the upper body, depending on the type of push-up.|
|Waist||Keep the abdominal muscles tight. Shoulders, hips and ankles form a straight line. Do not allow the body to sag.|
|Glutes||Also keep the gluteal muscles tight. Along with the abdominal tension it prevents the body from sagging.|
|Head||Keep the head aligned to the spine in a neutral position and look down.|
Push-up VariationsThere are a variety of push-up variations that make this exercise either lighter or heavier or have that shift the demand on different muscles involved.
|Push-up||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up|
|Push-up, Close Grip||Triceps Brachii||Push-up, Close|
|Push-up, incline||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, Incline|
|Push-up, decline||Pectoralis Major, Clavicular||Push-up, Decline|
|Push-up, Diamond||Triceps||Push-up, Diamond|
|Push-up, with Elastic Band||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up|
|Push-up, on Knees||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, On Knees|
|Push-up, One Arm||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, One Arm|
|Overextended Wrists||As mentioned before, some people may experience pain from overextended wrists. In this case it is better to perform the push-ups on the fists or with special push-up grips.|
|Head Leading||During push-ups keep neck and head aligned to the body. Move your chest to the ground and let your head follow the motion.|
|Looking ahead||To avoid unfavorable strains or injuries in the neck, it is very important to look down in a neutral fashion while doing push-ups.|
|Upper Arm Abduction||For the shoulder joints secure the upper arm angles are between slightly below perpendicular to the body and near besides the body.|
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Video: 500 Exercises Compilation
This post is for all those among you who ever wondered how it looks like to have 500 different fitness exercises summarized as a 10-minute video snippet :-)
Jan 10th, 2010 - written by Stephan Arndt in Strength Training
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Bench Press: A Comprehensive Exercise Guide
Jan 5th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
IntroductionBench press is one of the most popular weight training exercises. It is a basic upper body exercise for the chest muscles.
Due to its compound mechanics, bench press enables you to lift relatively large weights and to develop great upper body strength.
A widespread prejudice is that bench press is a "dangerous" exercise, which is not true at all. Bench press, in all its variations, is as safe as any other free weight lifting exercise.
Occurring difficulties or even injuries in the shoulder joints can usually be traced back to a wrong training technique, inadequate preparation or the use of too much weight.
|Development of Strength||Bench Presses let you lift relatively large weights, which makes it one of the most effective upper body exercises to build strength.|
|Muscle Growth||Bench Presses can help building an impressive torso. It is a great exercise for developing chest, front deltoids and triceps.|
|Effective Training||Doing Bench Press and few Bench Press variations basically provides an adequate training for the muscles involved. There´s no urgent need to experiment with a lot of other exercises. Improve your Bench Press performance, and so will your physique.|
Bench Press Instructions
- Lie supine on the bench of a bench press rack.
- Grasp the bar with the desired fashion, dismount it from the rack and, with arms extended, hold it above your chest.
- Lower the weight in a straight line down to your chest while forearms travel perpendicular to torso, looking from the side.
- Then press the weight up until arms are extended. , that is a Bench Press.
Bench Press VariationsThere are several grip options and bench angles available to add versatility to your bench press training:
|Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press|
|Close Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Close Grip|
|Incline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Clavicular||Bench Press, Incline|
|Decline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press, Decline|
|Floor Press||Triceps Brachii||Floor Press|
|Reverse Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Reverse Grip|
Bench Press Technique
|Grip_Distance||Gripping too close shifts workload to the triceps and weakens the pushing force. Gripping too wide compromises the range of motion. A good estimation is vertical forearms as bar touches chest.|
|Grip_Setup||Place the bar in the palm of your hands and secure it with your thumbs.|
|Torso_Posture||Always keep your chest up. Tense your back, bring your shoulder blades together and pull your shoulders back to create a safe and solid foundation to lie on and to press the bar up from. Don´t let your shoulders roll forward.|
|Feet_Position||Place your feet wide apart and put them flat on the floor. Keep your knees bent about right-angled and shift the weight on heels.|
|Head_Position||Keep your head in neutral position on bench. Don´t press it into the pad to prevent the neck from being overstressed.|
Range of Motion (ROM)The Bench Press range of motion is a controversial issue. Science has proved that a limited range of motion for the negative as well as for the positive part of the movement are the safer choice for the shoulder and elbow articulations and offer the same training effect as full range of motion. This insight leads to the following consequence for your Bench Press training: Avoid any extreme joint positions. Don´t lock your arms at top of motion and don´t let your elbows travel far below height of shoulders at bottom of motion.
|Bottom Position||Top Position|
|Full Range of Motion|
|Limited Range of Motion|
Bench Press Safety
|Warm_Up||Before doing Bench Presses with high resistance, have an initial overall warm up followed by a short local warm up of 15-20 repetitions with about 40-50% of the estimated maximum weight you Bench Press.|
|Weights||Learn the correct technique first and begin with light weight. Progressively add weight, always under the prerequisite of a proper training technique.|
|Posture||Keep your buttocks on the bench and prevent them from lifting off, because that will increase the risk of overextending your lower back.|
|Thumbs||Use your thumbs to hold the bar, otherwise it may slip out of your hand.|
|Spotter||It is recommended to Bench Press with a training partner or any other spotter. They will offer support if you´re unable to lift the bar off the chest.|
Bench Press Injuries and Pains
- Posture: If you have slouching shoulders caused by long-term seated or other one-sided positions, you should stretch your chest as well as your front shoulders. Also train your middle back and rear deltoids on a regular basis.
- Imbalances: Bench Press, besides almost any other chest exercise, also trains your front shoulders, which may lead to an imbalance between the strong front and weaker rear shoulders. Consequently and permanently your upper arm bone is slightly being pulled out of its natural position within the shoulder joint, causing pains and making it less resilient. Again, stretch the muscles of the anterior torso be stretched while the muscles of the rear torso have to be strengthened
Lower Back Problems
- Posture: Keep your Gluteus on the bench to dis-burden your lower back. To relieve the lower back from any pressure, raise your thighs up perpendicular to the floor and bend your knees. Consider that this position costs some stability.[/bold]
- Inefficient Dismounting: Dismount the barbell from the rack with straight arms, because that let´s you carry most weight. Lock your elbows and move barbell above your chest.
- Pressing to Shoulders: Move the barbell up and down above your chest, not towards or above your shoulders.
- Upper Arm Position: Keep your upper arms perpendicular to your torso or, when doing close grip bench press, close to your torso. Raising the upper arms above perpendicular to your torso forces your shoulder joints into a weak and vulnerable position.
- Bent wrists: Keep your wrists as straight as possible and hold the bar close to your wrists.
- Overextended back: Lifting your Gluteus will limit the range of motion. Worst of all, it moves your lumbar spine into an overextended position causing unusual high pressure that may lead to back pain.
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tags: bench press | bench | press | barbell | technique | guide | shoulder | pain | injuries | exercise | training |