“Strong back, strong man.”
Most attribute the quote to Bill Kazmaier—the legendary strong man. We really have no idea who said it. Either way, it’s true.
Dense lats, traps, rhomboids and erectors are necessary components of a heavy lifting, aesthetically pleasing male human.
An upper-body pull is any rowing, pull-up, chin-up or pull-down movement. Pretty simple. Your arms start in the fully extended position, your elbows bend and pull your body closer to a bar or an implement (bar, dumbbell, etc.) closer to your body.
Since pulling comes in horizontal and vertical variations, we’ll break down each on their own.
Let’s think success first and bullet point good horizontal and vertical pulls:
Here are bad horizontal and vertical pulls:
A solid horizontal pull begins with a simple cueing mantra: T. S. C.
T = Tall and Tight
S = Squeeze
Tall and Tight
By now you know what this shit means. Let’s not flog a dead pony. Get your spine long, brace your core, keep that shit in place for the entire set.
Pulls are often too lax—and it’s a mentality problem. Pulling exercises are often shuffled into a secondary position in the exercise rolodex behind the other compound movements. They’re not approached with bench pressing or deadlifting intensity. That makes the pull a bit softer than it should be.
When we squeeze, we bump up the pulling intensity. Our grip crushes the bar or bell, and we pull with increasing tension as our arms flex.
Continuing with the pull as a secondary citizen mentality, folks often lose tension and control during the eccentric, or negative, portion of the exercise.
Control tells us to maintain a good position and complete the eccentric while maintaining tension. We’re not talking an excessive amount of time, unless we’re emphasizing the eccentric, but maintaining tension and position while lowering is pivotal.
There are a ton of different rowing and pulling variations, so we won’t go into set-up specifics during the lesson. You’ll get those from exercise demonstrations.