Pulling Exercises Often Neglected and Significantly Important

Unfortunately I learned this lesson the hard way. For years I had been the queen of finishing off my cardio workouts with some bicep curls, tricep extensions and lots and lots of push-ups. My husband even tried to warn me, “You really should incorporate some pulling exercises into your training.” The only thing is, it is harder to engage in pulling exercises without the aid of some type of bar or barbell rack with accompanying bar, or some other type of device (like a TRX) than can facilitate pulling. I didn’t have that at home, so I did the easiest thing, forget about it. As the years passed by and I spent more time hunched over the computer and more time hunched over the food I was preparing for my family, my back got weaker and weaker and weaker.pulling_exercises

Then something crazy happened. I got a wild hair and decided I was going to incorporate pull-ups into my fitness routine. My husband had a professional grade bar out in the backyard and so Iheaded outside and went for it. I knew I wasn’t in great pulling shape and that it would take something special to accomplish even one. So with all the gusto I could muster I pulled and pulled with all my might kicking and wiggling in every direction to help me accomplish the exercise. Eventually the inevitable happened- a shoulder injury. It didn’t happen on the first day, but after a couple of weeks of attempting pull-ups with the weakest back in town and no real way to modify them to my fitness level, I was stuck with a debilitating shoulder injury that is still bothering me almost a year later.

Benefits of Pulling Exercises

  1. Stronger Back: Having a strong back is essential in almost everything we do. Between the upper and lower back, a bridge is created facilitating all strength movements generated from the arms and the legs.
  2. Fewer Injuries: Having a strong upper back also prevents many shoulder injuries. Injuries like mine due to imbalances in strength and even flexibility.
  3. Improves Posture: In today’s day and age, I know I am not the only one hunched over a computer or sitting at a desk all day. This hunched over position creates weakened back muscles that remain in a stretched out position all day long as well as tight chest muscles that lack flexibility over time, and of course a decline in posture. Pulling exercises offset these imbalances and help to maintain good posture, which becomes even more important with age.
  4. Tone, Sculpted Back: Who wouldn’t want a back that is strong, sculpted, and in great shape. Most will agree that one of the benefits of strength training is not only to feel better andimprove health but to look like a million bucks.

Experts suggest that a pulling exercise should be done for every pushing exercise and maybe even more pulling exercises if imbalances are significant. Examples of pulling exercises that can be done are lat pull-downs, modified pull-ups (bar lower to the ground, feet out in front, easier than a regular pull-up), rows, inverted rows (similar to modified pull-up but feet are up on a chair, pull bar to chest), and regular pull-ups. Be sure to start at your current fitness level and build up to more difficult exercises. Trust me, you don’t want to learn this the hard way!

You may also want to check out www.impulse-fitness.com for more information on fitness equipment that can help in your pursuit of a well-rounded, balanced, fitness program.


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