King of the upper body
Nobody can deny that deadlifts and squats are the best lower body exercises you can possible use to build mass and get in shape fast. So the question many people ask is what is the single best exercise for the upper body? The answer is very simple, and that is the pull up. No other exercise incorporates the amount of upper body and core muscles than this exercise and its variation called the chin up. This article will explain why this exercise is king and what the difference is between the pull up and it's variation of the chin up.
Building upper body mass
Pull ups are like deadlifts for the lower body in that they work a huge array of muscles all over your body. The muscles these exercises use are the same, just to different degrees which I will explain next. The muscles worked are the lats and back overall, biceps, shoulders, chest, and forearms. Just like the deadlift works many muscles for the lower body, the pull up does the same here for the upper body and that's why it is the best upper body exercise you can perform in your workout. Since you are working so many different muscles you will see your muscle mass build up quickly if you are dieting properly because you are hitting just about everything in your entire upper body which is fantastic and time efficient. You will work your muscles hard, especially your biceps and back which are the biggest muscles hit for this exercise. If you want to get on the fast track to having a strong, muscular upper body then this exercise cannot be ignored.
The primary exercise
Since there is a great debate about these two exercises I figured this is important to hit upon. They both work the same muscles, just in a slightly different way. Pull ups are performed where you have an overhand grip and your palms face away from you. I recommend that you have your grip length about shoulder width or slightly more so you don't risk hurting yourself as the pull up is a wider grip exercise. The pull Credit: wikimedia commonsup puts more stress on your back then the chin up because your biceps aren't in as much use, thus the back has to compensate by kicking in harder to perform the lift. This is the only primary difference because of how you are gripping the bar and how close your grip is to the body. The shoulders, forearms, chest, and other muscles get worked pretty much the same. You will find that your back is in a good amount of pain when first attempting to do this intense movement because it has not likely been forced to work that hard ever. The pull up is a very demanding exercise and you will see results quickly as a result of pushing yourself.
The popular chin up variation
Where the pull up is a wide overhand grip facing away from you, the chin up is the opposite. The chin up is performed with an underhand grip and your palms face towards you instead and your grip is very close to your body. The chin up is considered to be the more popular exercise for beginners for the primary reason that the chin up puts greater stress on the biceps whereas the pull up worked the back more. People generally have strongCredit: Morguefileer biceps than they do backs, so beginners will find that if they can only do one pull up they could probably get two or three chin ups done. This is again the only primary difference between the two exercises as the biceps are put under more strain here where as the main exercise works the back more. If you are looking to get into this exercise and get started then I would recommend this variation first and work your way up in strength and familiarity.
Both of these exercises are great for building mass and working all different parts of your upper body, but another thing about this exercise is the fact that it just feels awesome. Who doesn't love to be able to pull themself up from just their arm strength alone? Many people consider the bench press to be the defininative test for upper body strength but lately I've seen this change to the pull up because people can bench pretty easily whereas this exercise they are weak and can't even do one single rep. Marine training and boot camps have used this as the staple for their exercises because this defines your true upper body strength as there is no help from a sturdy bench to lift things up, but instead you have to pull yourself up by pure strength to do just one rep. It feels great to have the capability to do this exercise and I highly encourage you to incorporate this amazing compound movement into your workout routine if you haven't already as this is a great exercise for looking fantastic.
Work hard and kill it!
Now that you see the potential for this exercise and just what it has to offer for both muscle building and body sculpting, why not bring this into your routine now? I'm convinced that this exercise and the deadlift alone are enough to give your whole entire body a workout in just two exercises; talk about a great deal! Don't fall victim to isolation exercises as I've pointed out in a prior article, but do compound movements like the pull up and you will quickly see a difference in your strength and looks with proper diet to feed your muscle. Don't take it from me; do your research and find all the other people what have seen transformation happen by simply incorporating this exercise into their workout schedule. It truly is an incredible exercise and you will be glad you did it the next time someone wants to test you. If you take the time to give this a shot and work it for a good month or two you will be convinced just like I was and will never shy away again from that bar again. If you are looking for a guide on how to do this exercise a simple YouTube search will yield hundreds of guides on the proper movement and grip you need to perform it.
One quick note that I feel needs to be mentioned should be obvious but enthusiastic newcomers may make this mistake. When performing these exercises proper rest is super important. Due to the strain you will be putting on your entire upper body from this exercise you can quickly get injured and tear up your muscles in a bad way if you don't take the time to rest. When I first started I did chin ups and I only did them once a week. This was more than enough as I was dying for days after. As time moved on and I got stronger I was able to do them more frequently but that first step with adequate rest was key to my success. We don't build muscle in the gym, we tear them up there. We build muscle when we rest and sleep so make sure that you are taking a good amount of time to recouperate your muscles so you don't get injured and end up having to spend a week or two out of the gym because you wanted to push yourself that extra day to see if you gained any strength on your last attempts. Good luck and happy muscle building!