Nature has arranged the human body in such a way that two biggest muscles of the back, the lats and the traps can actually be seen, not only from the back, which one would expect, but also from the front. Beautifully sculpted backs are a sight to behold. Many people worry that the development of the trapezius will detract from the visual width of the physique. This is not so, what detracts from the visual width of the body is under developed shoulders and wide of the body is under developed shoulder and wide waist and hips.
No weights are needed, the simple (or not so simple) pull up / chin up is the main source of achieving your goal of a wide back, that classic V. Pulling your own body weight is a major step in the right direction. If you want to impress in a tank top, give the dumbbells a rest and start doing pull ups. This simple old school exercise promises more than some decent lats. Other areas the pull up will build are lats, mid-back, rear delts, biceps, forearms, and core.
The muscle groups that you use will depend on different hand grips and positions, such as palms away from your, palms facing you, wide grip – you can really target a lot by tweaking this one simple move, and as a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups at the same time, you could say that pull-ups are to the upper body what squats are to your lower half.
So how the perfect pull is up achieved? Grasp an overhead bar using an over grip (palms down) at least a foot wider than your shoulders on either side, and follow the steps below,
• Set your hands at either shoulder width or slightly wider, palms facing forward.
• Keep your legs straight, your ankles, knees and inner thighs and bottom squeezed together.
• Engage your core and draw your sternum inward to create a ‘hollow’ or ‘dish’ shape.
• As you start to pull your body up toward the bar, keep your body in this same position. Think about pulling the bar to your chest and keeping your elbows tucked in.
• Descend in a controlled manner, and repeat maintaining tension and only letting your feet touch the ground when you’ve reached fail.
If you want to tweak this and target more of your back, then arch through your back so your feet are behind you in the start position, which puts more of the strength and control through your back muscles instead of your core. If you want to target your biceps, use a closer grip with your palms facing inward using the original technique, maintaining tension in your core. And if you think pull-ups are just a strength exercise, think again. Pull-ups may not offer the same cardio or fat-burning workout as something like running, but they still get the heart pumping and are great to use as part of a super-set with push-ups or even burpees.
But aside from aesthetics, the sense of achievement that comes with the pull-up’s basic strength is a reward in itself. Make pull-ups a regular part of your workout.