When you’re trying to work your back, the most used exercise seems to be the pull up. It’s effective, it works the right muscle groups and it shows results. It also seems very easy. Reach up, grab hold of a bar, and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back down and repeat. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to it.
However, that’s where people start making mistakes. They tend to be basic and easily fixed and while it’s true that even if you do it wrong and your form isn’t perfect you’ll still get results, you’ll find that you get much better results if it’s done properly and your work outs will become more effective.
The Common Mistakes
When people perform this exercise, there are a lot of normal mistakes that they can make.
Using momentum for the lift
A lot of lifters swing themselves first back and forth in order to get the momentum needed to boost them up over the bar, or lift their knees up to help them. While initially, momentum can help new lifters get over, it shouldn’t be continued when you have the strength to get yourself over the bar. Using momentum brings other muscles in to the exercise, and reduces the effectiveness it has on your back.
Sometimes, it’s hard to find the strength to pull yourself up and over the bar, but only doing half of the movement is not doing your muscles any favours. In order to get the most out of any work out, muscles need to be contracted from their full length to their full short length. Anything less isn’t giving them a deep enough work out.
Not applying the force from the elbows
While not necessarily a mistake, a good habit to get into is pulling up with the force coming from your elbows and not your hands. Doing this reduces the amount of interference your arms have on your move and means that more of the stress is being put on the right group of muscles.
Having your elbows too far out
If you’re pushing your elbows out in front of you, you’re actually reducing the effectiveness of the work out. Doing this puts additional strain on to your biceps and arms and means that they’ll end up benefiting more than your back will. Keep your elbows in a line with your shoulders and push them back, and down, when you lift.
Moving your shoulders
When you lift yourself from the floor, try not to pull your shoulders up in a shrug motion. Doing this puts extra strain on the surrounding shoulder muscles and removing this strain and tension from your back. Keep your shoulders pushed down to the ground to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Make sure each movement is controlled and measured, and take your time with the exercises. Rushing through them, or only doing them half correctly, will not give as good results as it would if you’re focused and you ensure your form is correct.