Pull ups, it seems you either love them or hate them. Pull ups while a difficult exercise should not be kept out of your program. This exercise not only works a big part of your upper body, it also plays a part in developing the size of your back. Chest to bar pull ups are especially important if you are looking to gain size in your back.
Pull ups are considered a multiple joint or compound exercise simply put, your working more than one joint at a time. With pullups you are not only working your back you are also working your biceps and to some extent your triceps and shoulders. Your latissimus dorsi is the muscle that starts at the middle of your spine and wraps around your teres major. These are the visible muscles under your arm pit and are the muscles that are worked the most during pullups.
Bringing it to the Bar
There are many variations of pullups that can be done including chin ups, and reverse pullups. These variations allow you to focus on different parts of your upper body during the movement. Another variation of the movement is chest to bar pullups. When you bring your chest up to the bar using a wide, overhand grip, you are targeting more of the upper and middle parts of your lats, this helps to develop the bulk of your back. If you want to develop the width of your back, use more of a narrow, overhand grip when bringing your chest to the bar.
When performing chest to bar pullups, be sure to focus on your form. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, your back should be hyperextended, chest out, and your knees may either be straight or bent. You should not use your lower body for momentum - focus instead on using upper body strength to complete the exercise. As you become familiar with the proper technique and form for pullups, you may find you are able to perform the exercise with ease. Adding intensity to your pullups is simple to do. Wearing a weighted vest or a weight belt allows you to continue to challenge yourself during the movement. Changing your grip also adds to your work out; try a reverse grip during the movement to target your biceps - these are called chin-ups.
Not Quite Yet
Pullups are a body weight exercise, meaning you are using your body weight as opposed to dumbbells or other types of resistance. If you are not yet strong enough to perform pullups, there are several exercises that you can do to help you gain strength. If you have access to a machine rack or squat rack, you can place the bar on the rack to perform modified pullups. This can also be done by using an assisted pull up machine. Strength training exercises such as lat pulldowns, seated rows and bent over rows will help you to develop strength in your back, specifically your latissimus dorsi. To strengthen your biceps try exercises such as biceps curls, hammers and concentration curls.