Pullups in Depth
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How to Pullup #31 – Common Faults 1

The next two episodes will cover a load of common mistakes that happen a lot that we should correct.

This first episode shows you the first three problems that you should keep an eye out for with yourself or your students.

Common Fault 1 is Unique Anatomy

One 'gotcha' that can trip coaches up is that they don't realise that people are built differently. This happens a lot with squat coaches and leg angles & hip positions.

There are a lot of variations of bone lengths, joint positions and orientations, etc... which means that you an I will do things slightly differently. Factoring in previous injuries and imbalances too, you can find that a student may be doing the correct mechanics, but it just looks wrong.

So, always ensure that the mechanics are correct (the right muscles being used in the right way and in the right position), but what it looks like can change.

As a quick reference, look at the images below from Paul Grilley that compares the anatomy of different skeletons. Notice the joint orientations especially.

Film Yourself

With the advent of mobile-phone cameras, filming yourself has become very, very easy. It allows you to have first-hand feedback on what you are doing and how your body is working.

Also, it serves as a good history of your progress too. Nothing beats seeing side-by-side what you were doing six months ago, compared to today.

Having a mirror works well too, but actually takes your focus away from the exercise itself. Use a mirror if you don't have access to a camera, but filming is a much better tool.

Common Fault 2 is Full Range Of Motion

This is super, super, super important.

Believe me, if you train without doing a full range of motion, not only will you have weaknesses but when you get to the point that your training is plateauing and you realise that you've shot yourself in the foot by not doing it.

You now have to de-program all of your training and basically start from scratch and spend longer getting out of your existing habits before you can build strength again.

Common Fault 3 is Using the wrong muscle groups

The third fault is a fairly simple one to spot and correct by filming yourself or watching your students. Think about the biggest muscles in the chain doing the most work.

Whenever you do an exercise, make sure the correct muscles are being used in the correct way, in the correct order. Sometimes it can be hard to correct, but it just takes time and effort.

This also means that if you are cheating the exercise by trying to utilise other forces like kipping, momentum and swinging or kicking with the legs and jerking up or jumping into the pull-up. All of these methods help you up, yes. But it won't make you stronger. Don't cheat.

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