Channel your pulling power
Turn up the volume
Fitness coaches disagree over many things, but in every top trainer’s plan you’ll find pull-ups and/or chin-ups. To get better at this classic test of upper-body strength – and build a leaner, V-shaped torso in the process – do more of them. Subjects who did pull-ups for ten minutes twice a week for six weeks, doing 60 seconds of activity with 30 seconds of rest, increased their pull-up max from fewer than ten to almost 15, according to the Mountain Tactical Institute.
Do full-range reps
“You won’t get stronger unless you move through a full range of motion,” says coach Tom Crudgington. “Grip the bar with arms straight and push away from it to lengthen the lats and recruit more fibres. Engage your glutes to fire up the central nervous system. Lift your chest, then pull up in a single, fluid motion. Keep your elbows tight and glutes tensed, and don’t flex your hips forwards. Clear the bar with your whole head, then reverse the movement back to the start.”
Get a grip on drop sets
Drop sets are a great way to work a muscle to complete fatigue, but how can you use this highly-effective set-extending strategy with bodyweight moves? Simple: just change your hand position to make the move slightly easier. “Pull-up drop sets are great for building muscle size and strength faster,” says PT and model Shaun Stafford. “Do your last set of pull-ups to failure, then switch to a hammer grip and go to failure. Finish with a chin-up grip to failure.”