Straight Up Back: Pullup Workout

Despite a plethora of more advanced equipment, the simple pullup bar remains one of the most effective tools at your disposal for building size and strength. You just have to commit (or recommit) to developing proficiency with the pullup bar, and this brutal gauntlet will help you do exactly that. By using a weighted belt, you can add resistance that no cable station can replicate, triggering a cascade of hormonal responses and muscle breakdown that will help you to drastically accelerate your gains. Get ready to get wide.

Exercise Pointers

Pullup

Hang from a pullup bar with your hands spaced wider than your shoulders. Contract your lats and pull up until your chin is over the bar. Lower yourself slowly. On weighted pullups, fasten a dip belt around your hips and add weight until you can’t complete more than 6 to 8 reps.

Chinups

You are stronger on the lowering phase of a rep than the lifting portion, so even though you’re sure to be toast by this point, you should have enough in the tank to reap the benefits of a few negatives. Try to take at least five seconds on each descent and jump (or kip) yourself back to the top. Chinups always use a supinated (underhand) grip.

Inverted Row

At a power rack or Smith machine, set the bar to about waist height. Hang from the bar and row three sets to failure. This challenging move allows you to get in a few horizontal pulls to add thickness to your lats and to target the smaller muscles of your middle back.

Straight-Arm Pulldown

Paired with the inverted row as a superset, this isolation move will have your upper lats screaming. You can vary your hand spacing slightly from set to set to mix up the muscle recruitment pattern, but the emphasis will be on your upper, outer lats.



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