Building back strength is of the utmost importance in sports, especially for female athletes. Working your back stabilizes your shoulders, protects your spine, improves your posture and enhances overall sports performance.
One of the best exercises for developing upper body strength is the Pull-Up. It works several large muscle groups in the back, as well as muscles in the shoulders and arms. However, it can be difficult to perform at first if it’s not part of your regular workout routine.
The best way to become a Pull-Up machine is to start with a progression that gradually develops strength in the muscles that are activated during the movement [similar to the Push-Up progression we've already covered].
Perform the following exercises and reap the benefits of greater back strength. Keep at it and you will soon be able to perform multiple Pull-Ups.
This exercise allows you to pull a resistance lighter than your bodyweight with the same movement as a Pull-Up, and it's a good way to begin strengthening your back muscles.
Sets/Reps: 1x10, 1x8, 1x6; 90 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Keep torso upright // Move bar with control // Increase weight each set
This exercise simulates the Pull-Up motion while providing assistance.
Sets/Reps: 1x8, 1x10, 1x max; 90 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Remove one foot from band to increase challenge // Adjust band width or length to achieve rep goals
After completing this progression, you should be able to effectively perform multiple Pull-Ups, but your strength development doesn’t have to end there. To continue, perform as many Pull-Ups as possible to get your max. Then, based on the result, perform the Pull-Up routine below. Retest your max every three or four weeks to keep challenging your muscles.
1x max minus four reps
1x max minus two reps
Rest: 90 seconds between each set