Hanging Pull-Ups is a rare example of an exercise that’s not as difficult as it looks. Many students ooh and aaah when they see someone else do it and are super proud when they can do it themselves.
Perhaps it's when we get caught up in the fun of the exercise that proper shoulder alignment is sometimes lost. The telltale sign being shoulders that are up by the ears.
Try these tips and ideas to help organize the shoulder during Hanging Pull-Ups:
- Keep the collar bones wide and slide the shoulders into your back pockets.
- Straighten your arms on the way down from the pull up slowly to maximize eccentric strength of the upper extremities.
- Keep the movement simpler. Perhaps at first, just hang with straight arms while focusing on keeping your shoulders away from your ears, neither pinching your shoulder blades nor letting them widen on your back; once you feel that you can control and hold this alignment, add the pull up by bending your arms. Pay extra attention to reach the elbows waaay down to your feet, otherwise, your shoulders will creep up. It'll feel like super exaggerated.
- For teachers: Use guided touch to help your student find the underarm muscles during the pull-up, by brushing down the length of their upper backs starting at or just below their scapulae.
Are you going to practice or teach Hanging Pull-Ups this week? What are your favorite tips for this exercise?
In the Pilates Encyclopedia, we look at every detail of Hanging Pull-Ups, from head to toe, to help you get the maximum benefit from this exercise.