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You Know the Pull-Up . . .

“There’s something really empowering about being able to move and lift your own body weight,” says Danny King, master personal trainer at Life Time. Pull-ups are a fantastic movement for your big back muscles, he adds; they counter­act the “pushing” move­ments like the bench press that are so popular.


. . . Now Meet the Rack Pull-up

This exercise works your lats and rhomboids like a traditional pull-up but reduces some of the load to allow you to get stronger and progress toward the standard movement.

To Do It Right: Set a bar in a rack at about torso height while standing. Grasping the bar, lower yourself to the floor, place your feet slightly in front of you, and straighten your arms. With your hips below your hands, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, using assistance from your feet as needed. Progress this move by propping your feet out front on a bench.

. . . and the Hanging Scap Shrug

The scapulas are the shoulder bones that give us “wings,” and by improving scapular motion, we can enhance all overhead movement patterns and range of motion while avoiding pain and injury.

To Do It Right: Start in an overhand pull-up position. Hanging from the bar with your arms straight, pull your shoulders away from your ears and raise your body. Hold for one second, then return to the starting position. You’re lifting yourself up without bending your arms: Think about bending the bar instead.

(Add even more variation to your pull-up by incorporating these five alternatives to the standard overhand grip.)

This was excerpted from “Beyond the Basics” which was published in the October 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Models: Alejandro Martinez
Sarah Tuff

Sarah Tuff Dunn is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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