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July Trainer Tip: How to get better at pull-ups

July 23, 2015

From Dusty Paul
Click here for Dusty's Bio

How to get better at pull-ups by using the eccentric (negative) pull-up

For many people pull-ups are a very hard exercise due to low strength, high bodyweight or long levers due to arm length ... Or all of the above? 

If you can't pull yourself up - at least you can lower yourself down... slowly. Start out much like the July Fitness Challenge with your chin above the bar and slowly lower yourself (5 sec) down to a hanging position. And then repeat. Keep control of the tempo on the way down and the symmetry in your arms and shoulders.

Why it works:
This is known as eccentric muscle contraction.
Definition: An eccentric muscle contraction is a type of muscle activation that increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens. What we’re really doing is overloading the eccentric phase of the pull-up, which is the going down portion. Since you’ve never performed a pull-up before, you’ve never experienced that much resistance loading on the back muscles. Eccentric training results in an increase in concentric power. Since a heavier than normal load is applied to the muscles, an increase in muscle tension and cross-bridging of fibers occurs. 

If you want help performing this exercise talk to an exercise physiologist the next time you're at Island Health & Fitness. 

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