You should have a good understanding of the pull-up at this stage. How to do it, how to plan it and how to spot problems.
Now we’re going to investigate a few variations on the pull-up. These will be working on different muscle groups and movement types. They all come with relative positives and negatives, but all serve the purpose of upper-body pulling.
A very small difference from the pull-up is changing the grip. Instead of the pronated grip, we’ll switch to using a supinated grip (palm facing towards you).
Just by changing this small part will have ripple effects onto the specific muscles you use to do the work. Notably, you’ll notice a lot more work happening on the pecs and biceps.
*Note. What I said in the video that the lats being used less is wrong. You will still heavily use the Lats as well in the chin-up.
Embrace the weird
Finding weird grips and positions to do a pull-up or chin-up is a very good way of changing the amount of work specific muscles have to do. Having to pull to the left more might need you to engage you left obliques or something else.
The up-side is that you become more versatile and functional.
Try tree-branches, scaffolding, overhangs, bouldering challenges, rocks, ledges, window sills, etc.. lots to try.
A technique used by gymnasts a lot, but very useful for us too. It requires a smaller amount of strength, but more momentum.
What you should try to do is swing your hips up and over the bar on the far side. Give it a good swing and drive with your knees as high as you can. As you bring the knees up, start pulling to get your hips as high as possible.
This can be a fun addition to pulling training as well as a general movement skill.
Skin the cat
Ha! I know, a very weird (and a little morbid) name for an exercise. The skin-the-cat allows you to try and pull your bodyweight at some of the far-ends of your mobility.
Start hanging off the bar in a dead-hang and then try to pull your feet up to touch the bar. Instead of stopping at the bar, you will now try to keep going through the gap between your arms and the bar.
Start with only going a little way and pull back. Note that the return pull is usually the hardest because your arms are in a weaker position if you don’t have mobility there.
This is here to give you some other ideas of things you can do to add to your bar training. There are infinite numbers of variations and ways to be on the bar.
A simple youtube search on ‘Calisthenics’ or ‘Barstarzz’ will give you many results.
Check out one of Frank Medrano’s videos and his callisthenics routine…
Here we are. The muscle-up is one of the most sought-after parkour movements by practitioners. It’s a very tough movement, requiring a lot of strength and mobility. This is one that you will have to work hard towards and will take dedication.
However, it’s totally worth it. Being a super-functional movement, it basically says that you can scale obstacles without the use of your legs. So if you can’t use your feet to help, you are still able to climb over.
I highly recommend that the muscle-up be one of your primary goals of getting stronger.