Ever wonder why pull exercises are always included in any resistance training routine?
It’s because these types of movements focus on developing strength and balance for the entire body.
Benefits of Pull Exercises
Pulling stimulates the posterior chain – primary muscles used for jumping, running, bending, and even getting on and off a chair. If these muscles are left inactive for a long time, it can impact your overall mobility and strength.
Modern lifestyles often find us seated for hours, which can inhibit the posterior chain muscles. When your primary movers become inefficient, your stabilizing muscles take on the heavy-duty work. This could result to chronic back pain and aches around your back, shoulders and neck. It could also compromise your posture.
The best way to prevent these from happening is to engage in pulling exercises regularly.
Sure, when exercising, it’s tempting to focus on the very visible areas – the chest or waist. But in reality, the back and leg muscles make up more than two-thirds of our musculature. This makes them worthy of our focus while working out. This explains why it’s a must to incorporate pull exercises in your workout, especially if you want to improve your back pain management, posture and overall strength.
Equipment You Can Use:
Although you can perform pull exercises without equipment, the added resistance from the weights or power rod resistance machines like Bowflex Blaze can enhance your strength and balance. Workout equipment for bodyweight pull exercises include:
Pull-up bar attached to any stable area that can serve as a mount like a wall, the doorway, a tree trunk, etc.
- Lat pull down machine
- Chin-up bar
- Stability ball
Best Pull Exercises:
1. Barbell Bent Over Rows
- Stand with your feet apart and hold the barbell in front of the legs.
- Bend your knees with hips pushed back until barbell is slightly below the knees.
- Pull your shoulders downwards and then backwards, with the barbell reaching your chest level and elbows close to the sides of your torso.
- Slowly return to the starting position and perform a few times.
2. Barbell Dead Lift
- Stand with feet apart, and hold the barbell about an inch away from the shins with your hips jutting out backwards.
- Hinge at the hips while holding the barbell in front of your knees.
- With each barbell pull, you should be standing upright with knees extended to a full lockout position, shoulders down, and both back and core engaged.
- Slowly return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
3. Dumbbell Upright Front Rows
- Standing with feet apart and knees slightly bent, hold your dumbbells in front of you with palms faced down.
- Raise the dumbbells vertically until you reach the collarbones and go back to starting position. Perform about 3 sets of 10 reps.
4. Lat Pull Down
- Sit on a lat pull down machine, holding the bar over your head and palms facing out.
- Engage in a pull down motion, activating your core and pulling the shoulders down as you do so.
- Pull until the bar reaches your collarbone. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 2 sets with 30-second intervals on each side.
5. Static Chin-ups
- Like lat pull downs, this is another vertical pull exercise that is ideal for beginners who cannot perform the full pull-up yet. With a box or step, raise your body until your chin is level to the bar. Hold the position as long as possible.
- Repeat for a few times until you are strong enough to lower your body after leveling on the bar.
6. Seated Rows
- Use a pull back machine for this one. Sit with your back straight and place your feet on the metal block in front, making sure that your knees are slightly bent.
- With your arms extended, pull the handle back towards your torso. Your upper body should be at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Slightly arch your back and stick out your chest.
- Breathe out every time you pull. Do 15 reps for 2 sets.
7. Kettlebell High Pull
- Stand with feet apart and hold the kettlebell with one hand. Swing the kettlebell with one hand towards your shoulder.
- Your wrist should be straight and the elbow high. Swing the kettlebell and drop into inner thighs. Repeat the kettlebell pulls and breathe rhythmically.
Pull exercises, be it vertical or horizontal pulls, can help you build up the primary muscles in your body. Add these movements to your weekly exercise routine and to help ensure you keep your body in the best shape possible.