“I’ve met guys with big arms and legs who were weak as shit. I’ve never met someone with big back who was weak.” –Some Really Strong Guy


You know whom else I haven’t seen with a strong back? People with bad posture!


Want to be strong? Ok, do you at least want to have nice arms and back? What about reducing shoulder and back pain? Then, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the one and only Pull-Up!…..or, as I like to call it, the deadlift for the upper body.


What MUSCLES are involved in a pull-up?


  • Trunk: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Arms: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, and Tricep
  • Shoulders: Teres Major, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Levator Scalpulae, and Deltoids
  • Abdominal Muscles: Rectus Abdominis, Hip Flexors, Erector Spinae, External/Interanl Obliques, and Transverse Abdominis
  • Hands and Forearms: All of them haha



What are the BENEFITS of pull-ups?

  • Strong/sexy back
  • Strong/sexy arms
  • Strong/sexy abs
  • Improved pressing strength à works antagonist (opposing) muscles
  • Shoulder health (if done correctly)
  • Variety àmany different versions to keep you entertained and challenged
  • Simple à you don’t have to make it complicated to get better
  • You can do it almost any where (any where there’s something to hang from)


Pull-Up Combinations?


  • Pull-Up
  • Chin-Up
  • Wide-Grip
  • Staggered
  • Narrow Grip
  • Rope/Towel
  • L-Sit
  • Weighted
  • Archer


What should I do if I can’t do a Pull-Up?

  • Box/Ground Assisted
  • Band Assisted*
  • Negatives
  • Static Hold


*Banded pull-ups should be reserved for those who have great shoulder range of motion, healthy shoulders, and who are moderately strong (i.e. you can’t do pull-ups but you’re getting closer). If you’re too weak, heavy, or have poor shoulder range of motion you will eventually tear apart your shoulder girdle and be in pain.


The journey to your first pull-up can be a long one. Don’t give up! You’ll start reaping the benefits of pull-ups long before you can do one. It’s just more fun and beneficial in the long run to do the J .


Whether you can do pull-ups or not I suggest you do some variation of pull-ups 2-3x a week. Full extension at the bottom and make sure you clear your chin over the bar at the top. And, for the love of everything holy, do not…I repeat….DO NOT kip.



About Josh Jarmin

Originally from Washington, D.C. (NOVA) Josh moved to Atlanta to be a Middle School history teacher after graduating from James Madison University. He joined the Marine Corps infantry as a reservist and served in Iraq honorably. Josh then turned his attention to personal training after his tour in order to help others reach their health/fitness goals. At one point he was 275lbs and 28% body fat. Now he's 195lbs and 13.5% body fat. Josh worked for several fitness facilities in Atlanta and developed a loyal following of trainees. He's created a training program of his own personal design and has established himself as one of the top kettlebell and body movement experts in the Atlanta area. Josh is currently the Co-Owner and Director of Fitness at Blueprint Fitness.

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