The dead-hang pullup is a great bodyweight exercise to build upper body muscle mass, burn fat and help keep your weight loss off. You will also develop better definition and sculpt your upper body as you add sets and repetitions over time. The best fat-burning, muscle-building equipment is your body.
Work to do exercises with technically correct movements before progressing to heavy weight exercises. This will limit your risk of injuries.
The pullup is one of the best exercises you should be doing. Don't be afraid of the exercise. If you can't do any, start by doing 1 pullup and progress. You could also strengthen your back muscles with the lat pulldown and dumbbell row.
The pullup is not just a back muscle exercise. Pullups work your lats (and other back muscles), core, shoulders, arms, chest, biceps and improve grip strength.
Do the basic overhand grip, dead-hang pullup this way:
1. Hang from a pullup bar with your palms facing away from your body, your arms straight and your feet crossed together with legs bent about 90 degrees. Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar.
2. A wider grip (greater than shoulder width) will work your lats more. A closer grip (shoulder width or less) will work your middle back muscles more.
3. If you lack grip strength, you can use straps to help.
4. Don't jut your chin out (it strains your cervical spine).
5. Don't swing. It makes the pullup easier by using momentum. You need to pullup, not swing up.
6. Don't let your chest collapse because that puts too much stress on your shoulders.
7. Don't arch your lower back too much. You want your abdominal muscles to be engaged when you do the pullup. Keep your torso braced (as if taking a punch to the gut) during the pullup.
8. When you start the pullup, drive your shoulder blades down and squeeze them together. This will engage your shoulder stabilizers more.
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