It all started when I was born. The way I’ve been told it, a gangly yet elegant stork dropped me gently on the doorstep of my unsuspecting parents. I summoned the strength that only a day old baby has and pulled myself up on the side of the basket to take a look at my new home. I was pleased.
This was my first pull-up. Ever since that fateful day I have been a great believer in the strength and mass building superiority of the pull-up to most other upper body exercises.
This is me doing my first pull-up at 1 day old.
Your grip strength gets challenged, your forearms are worked harder than my great grandpa when he was an 11 year old working in a steel mill, your biceps and shoulders get a run for their money, and your back gets more shredded than the cheese I was shredding this afternoon. I shredded that cheese real good.
If God came up to me and she was all like “I am not in a good mood today. Jay won’t change Blue Ivey’s diaper and Solange is trying to get together Destiny’s Child again.”
And I would be all like “Dang God that bites, but I really have no idea how that relates to me at all.”
Bey…I mean God would be all like “It relates to you because since I am feeling so sassy and fabulous today I am going to only allow you to do two exercises for the rest of your life.”
And I would be say decisively “Bice…”
God cuts me off with a nasty dance step and a terrifying glare, “YOU CAN’T CHOOSE BICEP CURLS!”
I reply with a meek “Damn Beyonce that’s cold as ice.”
Despite this cruel stipulation I must make my decision. “Pull ups and Deadlifts!” I cry out.
Beyonce turns to me with the fire of a survivor in her eyes. Her sequinned onsie glistens in the light of a thousand suns and she speaks without opening her mouth.
“You have chosen wisely and for this I will reward you.”
A flock of little bluebirds descend on Beyonce and slip the sequinned onsie off of her as she slowly walks towards me and…Well! I went off on a bit of a tangent there but for those of you still with me here are three reasons why you should be doing pullups.
They provide a good barometer for how strong you are relative to your bodyweight.
If you think that you are strong and yet you can’t do 10 strict pull-ups here’s a little newsfash. You ain’t strong dawg! Either that or you have the lower body of a rhino and the upper body of a 12 year old boy. In that case I commend you for being the one guy who doesn’t skip leg day.
If you can do over 20 pull-ups here’s a tip. Gain some weight dawg!
You should get to the point where you can do over 10 strict pull-ups comfortably. This is a level of strength that is respectable and it is the point at which I will stop calling you a bitch.
There are so many variations to do that they never get boring.
Chin-ups, Pull-ups, Alternating grip, Neutral grip, towel pull-ups, rope pull-ups, three finger pull-ups, two finger pull-ups, one finger pull-ups (if you’re into showing off), plyometric pull-ups, one armed pull-ups. I think you get the point.
It is important to vary the grip and grip width that you use in order to prevent imbalances from forming.
They will make you swole as all get out.
If you want an upper body that is big and strong you should be doing pull-ups. I very, very rarely do bicep curls and yet my biceps look like an elephant took a shit on a skinny dudes arms in the shape of huge biceps. How did I get this aesthetically pleasing look that attracts more compliments from men than women? Pull-ups. Lots of them.
If you want a back that looks like it should be covered in oil and paraded around Ancient Greece than do pull-ups. Lots of them.
Here’s a kick ass little finisher, from the Maestro of Muscle himself, Charles Poliquin, that I like to do from time to time. And from ‘time to time’ I mean whenever I am going out to meet a girl and want to look really jacked.