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Pullups are undeniably one of my all-time favorite exercises, and the best way to do them is with as many different grips as possible – to target different movement patterns and emphasize different ares of your muscles. Here is a video showing a lot of different pullup grip variations using common items found at the gym.
Multi Grip Pullups with John Sifferman
For general conditioning purposes, I almost always recommend multi grip pullups to my clients. They are a superb upper body strength exercise and anyone can do them if you have a pullup bar available. If you can’t do full pullups like the ones demonstrated in the video, then I have two suggestions for you.
1) Start with negative pullups. This means you use a chair or bench to get your chin over the bar, then slowly lower your body under control for repetitions, without using the chair for assistance. After you have lowered yourself, stand back up on the chair and start the negative pullup again.
2) An even better option is to use resistance bands (AKA flexbands, those big rubber bands that you can exercise with). Wrap one end of the resistance band around the pullup bar, and then step into the other end, making it stretch to the length of your body. This way, the resistance band will actually help you pull up, because the elasticity will be pulling you up towards the bar. This is the best technique I know of for training to achieve your first full, strict pullup.
Pullups are wrongly mistaken for training only your back and bicep muscles. Multi grip pullups are a full body exercise, and shouldn’t be confused as an isolation technique. Proper pullup technique utilizes total body coordination, and a “chain reaction” of muscle contractions all throughout the body. More advanced variations of the pullup actually use a hip snap to get the chin over the bar. These are called kipping pullups.
To your health and success,