In terms of bodyweight training exercises, pull-ups can be very demanding and require serious strength in your arms and back muscle in order to do proper sets. For those who may feel it’s too soon for them or are simply struggling to keep it together when doing pull-ups, there’s the option to do assisted pull-ups through various ways. An assisted pull-up is a pull-up done with the assistance of equipment such as a weight/pull-up machine and pull-up band for example. The general idea is to improve your form and pull-up workouts by receiving some minor assistance when doing pull-ups, which ultimately helps to improve your pull-up workouts. Incorporating assisted pull-ups in your workouts should gradually allow you to do regular pull-ups without any need for assistance as your body would have gotten more used to the physical demand.
With this in mind, let us look at the 5 ways how you can apply assisted pull-ups.
#1 Assisted pull-ups with bands
Doing assisted pull-ups by making use of pull-up bands is one of the easiest methods to start off with. The idea here is to make use of the resistance factor of the band in order to help you perform your set of pull-ups. The first step when applying this method is to find the right resistance band for yourself. Take into consideration the length and quality of the band for example. Follow by fitting the band on the pull-up bar you are using for doing pull-ups and make sure it is secured. Note that you can either step in the band with your knees or with your feet. This choice has implications for how you are setting the band up on the bar so make sure to take this into consideration.
To do an assisted (band) pull-up, simply get on the pull-up bar by using an overhand grip at shoulder-width, place either your knees or feet in the band and start the exercise. Alternatively, you can also opt to only use one knee or foot in the band. The key factor when doing band-assisted pull-ups is to keep a good form when doing the pull-ups. This means keeping your arms straight when dipping down and keeping your knee(s) bent at all times. When lowering back down after pulling up make sure you do so slowly in order to avoid getting injured.
#2 Advanced band assisted pull-ups
This is a variation of the assisted pull-up with bands. To perform one, follow the same steps as with a regular band assisted pull-up and step into the band using your feet. Then, once you reach the top of the bar, bend your knees and lower your body slowly back down to your starting position. This variation is somewhat more demanding but is great for improve your pull-ups workouts.
#3 Machine assisted pull-ups
Making use of a pull-up machine is another way you can apply assisted pull-ups to your workouts. For applying this method you will need access to a weight machine. The general idea is to add enough weight to a machine, which balances you off when doing pull-ups. The first step for doing machine-assisted pull-ups is to either stand or knee on the weight machine and grab the bar with an overhand grip on the handles (if available). Then pull your body up while being on the machine as you would when doing a regular pull-up.
Make sure you keep your shoulders down whilst keeping your upper-body and hips straight throughout the exercise. Once again, your posture on the bar is essential for making the assisted pull-up work for you. Furthermore, similar to the band assisted pull-ups, it is also best to lower yourself back down slowly to your base position on the bar. We suggest doing a minimum set of 15 reps when doing machine-assisted pull-ups. If you can do this with ease then you are well on your way to doing regular pull-ups without any assistance.
#4 Negative pull-ups
Negative pull-ups may sound a bit odd at first when you first hear it but the concept behind it relatively simple to grasp for anyone starting out with assisted pull-ups. A negative pull-up is an exercise where you jump onto the pull-up bar and lower your body back down slowly. To do a negative pull-up start by placing a small chair or something you can stand on. Then proceed by jumping onto the bar and grab this with an overhand grip. Many things could go wrong here so make sure you get the angle right and don’t injure yourself by slipping or hitting your head on the bar. Ideally you would jump to have your chin just above the bar before you lower yourself back down. To use this method you may need to improve your back muscles and/or improving your handgrip. We have covered this in previous articles so make sure you check them out if needed.
#5 An assistance partner
A very simple way to assist you in doing more pull-ups is to train together with a partner. This could help you balance your weight off by holding your legs (bended) when you feel you are reaching your limits on the pull-up bar. Not only are you improving your pull-ups but you would also be helping each other improve together which can be really great.
In closing, assisted pull-ups can be a great way to improve your workout sessions if you are looking to do more pull-ups to build muscle. There are several ways how you can do assisted pull-ups so we recommend choosing the method that’s most suitable for you. A combination of all these methods is also possible, but we recommend starting with one or two options before taking on more.
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