The human body is an amazing machine, capable of incredible feats of strength. Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t use our muscles to their full potential. This can lead to weak, flabby muscles and lower-back pain. A great way to address this is by adding in some pulling exercises. Pulling exercises work the latissimus dorsi (back muscles) and biceps, helping to build muscle and increase strength. Pulling exercises can be done in a number of ways, from rowing machines to dumbbell rows or even using a resistance band.
The barbell deadlift is a hard exercise, but it’s effective at targeting the whole back and shoulders. This makes it an ideal first exercise in a pull day workout. Start by stepping up to the bar and positioning your feet hip-width apart. Grip the bar with an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift the bar to your sternum, keeping a tiny bend in the knees and a tight core. Keep the bar a few inches away from your shins and then lower it to the floor with control. Repeat for reps.
Another great pull exercise is the chin-up, which is a great alternative to the traditional pull-up. It works the latissimus dorsi and biceps, providing moderate stimulation for the shoulders. This is a great exercise to do for beginners or people who can’t perform pull-ups for some reason. To perform a chin-up, grab a pull-up bar and hang from it by putting your hands on each side, or by wrapping your fingers around the bars. Then, slowly raise your body up until your chin is above the bar and then lower yourself back down.
Lat pulldowns work the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and middle and lower trapezius muscles, while also providing some moderate stimulation for the biceps. To perform this exercise, sit at a lat pulldown station and grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s wider than shoulder-width apart. Then, gently pull the bar down to your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
This is one of the best upper body exercises for building muscle. You can do a lot of sets with low reps for more hypertrophy or more high-rep sets to develop strength. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a rep range that’s between 5-15, which will provide a balance between strength and hypertrophy. As you get stronger, reduce your rep range and up your weight to make the exercises more challenging. This will help you progress more quickly.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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