Up you go

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Up you go
Pull-ups are one of the most convenient exercises around. You can do this exercise pretty much anywhere. All you need is a bar and your body. Bars that can be attached to a door in your house are easily available and once you have it, you have the ideal muscle building exercise equipment at your disposal.

I’ve stressed the importance of compound exercises in the past. We discussed the other great upper body exercises a few weeks ago. Compound exercises are important for a number of reasons: they target several muscle groups and help the body body up as naturally as possible as well as help release a large amount of growth hormone, which is also beneficial for your body.

Previously, I’ve also talked about squats — they are indeed a great way to tone your lower-body muscles. Well, pull-ups are like squats for your upper body. There is no other excise that aids upper body growth quite like pull-ups do. Specifically, pull-ups do a great job of targeting the back and biceps.

The gradual increase in the intensity of your workouts is one of the secret ingredients to the magic muscle-building recipe. Some routine require you to get fancy with your workouts in order to increase the intensity, but not pull-ups. You can boost the intensity of your back workout simply by lifting your legs parallel to the ground. Another great advantage of pull-up is that there are different variations to it. The best thing is that they don’t require any additional equipment. All you’ve got to do is switch your hand placement around.

My favourite variation is the good ol’ overhand pull-up. This is the best variation for getting your lats to grow. Other variations that are equally good are close grip pull-ups and reverse grip pull-ups (also known as chin-ups). I find that all of these variations do a great job of targeting my back, but reverse grip pull-ups (chin-ups) place more emphasis on the biceps.

It’s not like running on a treadmill or jumping rope, but pull-ups do get your heart rate up. If you want to boost the fat loss capabilities of doing pull-ups, you could decrease the time in between sets and also super set your pull-ups with another exercise.

When it comes to pull-ups, just remember: practice makes a man perfect. Start slow, if you have to, but persist. Stop making excuses and start doing pull ups. When I could only do one or two pull-ups I would perform three to four sets of assisted pull-ups, and then do a couple of sets of body weight pull-ups. A combination of push-ups and pull-ups will help you get fit and in shape in no time at all. All you need to do now is get down and start.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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