Are you a fan of the hit summer TV show, American Ninja Warrior? What an incredible demonstration of strength and agility! Athletes are timed as they work through challenging obstacle courses in city qualifying and city final competitions. Those who make the cut earn a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the national finals.
A common denominator for these competing athletes is incredible upper body strength. Cliff Goodrow knows a lot about upper body strength. He has worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years and has a background in both personal training and group fitness. Goodrow was a national level natural bodybuilding competitor and continues to judge bodybuilding, figure, and fitness competitions.
Goodrow says pull ups are an excellent choice for building upper body strength. “If you can do as many pull ups as you have fingers and toes, you have exceptional upper body strength!”
“Pull up” is often used as a general term to describe a variety of similar exercises. It’s also used to describe a specific grip. “Frequently the term pull up is used to indicate an overhand grip; chin up is used to indicate an underhand grip. Another type of pull up can be done with an opposing grip [one overhand, one underhand],” Goodrow explains. “All types of pull ups can work the following muscles: the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis major and minor, deltoids, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, teres major, subscapularis, biceps brachia, brachialis, and more.” Bottom line? If you want to strengthen your back, arms, shoulders, and even chest muscles, add pull ups into your routine!
“Pull ups can make you a better athlete in both pushing and pulling motions, as well as general upper body strength. For those of you who may be getting ready for a fitness or bodybuilding competition, pull ups will give you muscle separation and help develop that V shape,” Goodrow explains. “For most of us who are exercising in order to feel good and have energy to carry out our everyday activities, pull ups are definitely on the ‘to do’ list. General upper body strength, good posture and looking great are all benefits.”
Having trouble getting started? No worries! Next week we take a closer look at modifications to help people of all fitness levels successfully perform pull ups!