When it comes to major bang-for-your-buck exercises in the vertical pull category, Level-Ups bring a lot to the table.
Now, if you can’t bust out at least a couple of consecutive Pull-Ups with solid form, this one is likely above your pay grade. But if you’re someone who has nailed the basic movement and is looking for ways to improve your Pull-Up strength and endurance, Level-Ups are the move for you. Similar to Floyd Mayweather’s “Money Walk,” Level-Ups can help you own the Pull-Up movement and build tremendous amounts of bodyweight strength.
Some of the benefits of Level-Ups include:
- Long rep duration and substantial time under tension
- Training and targeting specific joint angles and weaknesses isometrically along the way, which is a fantastic way to develop any lagging positions you may currently have
- There could be some extra drive coming from your lats when you are in full extension with the hanging leg. Recall that the lats and glutes feed activity too one another, and there is some extra deep hip flexion training present in the movement
You can try different grips to see what suits your preference and weaknesses best, but the neutral grip seems to lend itself very well to this particular Pull-Up variation. Keep in mind that if you are grinding week in and week out with weighted Chins and Pulls, you can rotate this movement into your cycle to not only de-load your shoulders, but to do so in a way that still recruits a relatively high proportion of muscle fibers due to the nature of the tempo of the exercise.
One key to the exercise is not to use the mid-air “step-ups” as an excuse to fling your legs up to try to cheat the rep. The steps are to be performed with excellent control and precision and are a way to make the exercise more challenging, not less.
- Add reps. When you’re starting off, just performing 2-3 reps can be a serious challenge. Continue to build up the number over time as your Pull-Ups improve.
- Once you start being capable of 6 or more consecutive reps with perfect form, you can experiment with adding a weighted vest, chains around your neck, or fat grips on the bar if necessary.