WEIGHT TRAINING: ADD A PULL-UP BAR ROUTINE TO YOUR WORKOUT

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Thinking about adding some pull-up bar exercises to your workout programme so you can stay in shape anywhere? We've got an effective routine to help you build upper body strength no matter your level.

 

An effective tool

There is an array of benefits to using a pull-up bar:

 

  1. It's easy to pack up so you can work out just about anywhere. It can be used in loads of places so you can stay on track with your training.
  2. This complete weight training tool is ideal for building excellent upper body strength. By varying your grip, you can do exercises to work your entire upper body (arms and back) and core.
  3. Using a pull-up bar is a great way to add bodyweight training to your workout programme and boost your strength and power. Everyone should be able to work out using their own body weight.

 

Before you get started

To adapt the following weight training programme to your level, start by determining your maximum reps for the following exercises: overhand pull-ups, toes to bar and dips. Do as many reps as you can for each exercise without stopping.

 

Exercise 1: Overhand pull-ups

 

  • Targeted muscles: Back and biceps.

  • Performing the exercise: Hang from the bar, placing your hands wider than shoulder width apart. Your hands should be facing forward (overhand grip). This helps to engage your back muscles. To do a pull-up, pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Lower back down, controlling the descent, to your starting position.

  • Breathing: Exhale as you lift yourself up and inhale as you lower yourself back down.

  • Safety tips: Keep your body straight and engage your core. Don't swing your body. Focus on your back and arms.

 

Exercise 2: Toes to bar

 

  • Targeted muscles: Rectus abdominis

  • Performing the exercise: Hang from the bar and spread your hands ’wider than shoulder width apart. Raise your legs to your chest, keeping your legs straight until your ankles touch the bar. Lower you legs back down to your starting position, controlling the movement to prevent swinging.

  • Breathing: Exhale as you lift your legs up and inhale as you lower them back down.

  • Safety tips: Keep your body straight and engage your core throughout the movement.

 

Exercise 3: Dips

 

  • Targeted muscles: Pecs and triceps.

  • Performing the exercise: With the pull-up bar on the ground behind you, place your hands on it with your arms straight. Bend your elbows until your butt touches the ground then straighten your arms back out.

  • Breathing: Exhale as you lower your body and inhale as you come back up.

  • Safety tips: Keep your back straight and engage your core. Control your movement as you lower down.


 

Pull-up bar workout routine

The aim of this routine is to help you improve on three exercises and tone your upper body, back and abs. It is a four-week programme with two weekly workouts. Each workout ends with a challenge. The goal is to spread out the workouts over the week to give yourself sufficient recovery time (eg, Tuesday and Friday).

 

Tempo, sets, reps, difficulty

Because you can't adjust the weight used during the exercises (your bodyweight), you'll control the intensity level by changing the tempo, which lets you vary the amount of time - and therefore the difficulty - that your muscles are engaged during the exercises. This is the time for one rep.

 

Remember that there are four phases to a single movement. For example, when doing a pull-up, you lift up (concentric phase), you reach the top of the bar (transitional phase), you lower down (eccentric phase) and finally you reach your starting position with your arms straight again (second transitional phase).
The tempo comprises these four phases,always starting from the eccentric phase (the descent). So, for example, for a 4010 tempo when doing a pull-up, you lift up in one second, spend no time in the transition, lower directly down in four seconds, and lift up again immediately.

 

The tempo is explained as follows:

Example: 2020 =

2: lower down in two seconds (descent)

0: no pause at the bottom (0 seconds)

2: pull back up in two seconds (ascent)

0: no pause at the top (0 seconds)

 

The number of sets and reps will also vary:

Example: 6 x 5 = 6 sets of 5 reps

 

The three difficulty levels correspond to your results on the test above:

  • Level 1: 3 or fewer reps

  • Level 2: 3 to 7 reps

  • Level 3: 8 or more reps

 

Programming

 




 

Workout 1

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Week 1

5 sets x 5 reps for each exercise (tempo = 4012) (push with your legs to reach the top position, hold for 2 sec, then lower for 4 sec)

6 sets x 4 reps for each exercise (tempo = 3022) (2 sec to ascend, hold for 2 sec, lower for 3 sec and continue without pausing)

4 sets x 8 reps for each exercise (tempo = 3022) (2 sec to ascend, hold for 2 sec, lower for 3 sec and continue without pausing)

Week 2

5x5 (6012)

6x4 (5022)

4x8 (5022)

Week 3

4x8 (4012)

5x6 (3022)

6x8 (3022)

Week 4

4x8 (6012)

5x6 (5022)

6x8 (5022)

 

Workout 2

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Week 1

8 x your max reps (for exercise 1, 2 or 3 - your choice) (tempo = 1120)

4 sets x 6 reps (1120)

3 sets x 10 or 12 reps (1120)

Week 2

8 x max reps (1,2 or 3) (1120)

4x6 (1120)

3x10 or 12 (1120)

Week 3

10 x max reps (1,2 or 3) (1120)

6x6 (1120)

5x10 or 12 (1120)

Week 4

10 x max reps (1,2 or 3) (1120)

6x6 (1120)

5x10 or 12 (1120)

 

Challenge

Workout 1

Exercise: Start with your arms at 90° and hold as long as possible. Your time stops when your arms are straight.

Workout 2

Exercise: Do as many reps as you can in one minute for each exercise (strict reps = do them without momentum and go through the full range of motion; you can do several sets - pausing between - during the minute).

 

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