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Building Muscle with Pull-Ups

I believe that one of the best exercises that you can do to build muscle fast in your upper body is pull-ups.  In fact, I would choose pull-ups and push-ups and the two most important upper body exercises that you can do to get ripped.  Both of these moves engage many muscles in the upper body, including arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and back.  Unfortunately, most people can't do a decent pull-up.  I should know, when I started P90X, I could only do about 2-3 pull-ups.  I attempted to use the chair for assistance, like Tony suggested in the videos, but I really did not feel like it was helping me to work up to unassisted pull-ups.  I felt like I was missing out on the fast results that pull-ups provide to build muscle.  I started a phased approach that helped me to workup to doing more reps of unassisted pull ups.

My phased approach for pull-ups consists of 4 phases:


Phase 1: Hanging from the Bar - in the phase, you use a chair to lift you up over the bar, then you simply drop your feet from the chair and hold yourself over the bar.  Typically I would hold myself for 20-30 seconds then take a break for 20-30 seconds.

Phase 2: Lowering Down from the Bar - in this phase, you start out just like phase 1, but then you slowly lower yourself down from the bar.  Each 1/4 of the way down as you lower your body, pause and hold in that position for 3-5 seconds.

Phase 3: Half Pull-ups - in this phase you lower yourself down from the bar about half the way down, then pull up so that your chin is above the bar.  This helps you to get the feel of the pull-up motion, but is still easier than doing a full pull-up.

Phase 4: Full Pull-ups - from phase 3, you can begin dropping a little past half way, then backup up.  Gradually work lower and lower, pulling back up over the bar after each rep.  Eventually you will be lowering yourself all the way down to straight arms, then back up over the bar.

Congratulations, at this point you are getting maximum benefit from one of the best exercises to build muscle fast.  Keep working on those pull-ups and before you know it you will be getting ripped.

If you would like more tips on how to get maximum results from your workout, sign up on Beachbody and designate me as your coach.  It is a free service and I am committed to helping people get into the best shape of their lives.

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