Not Your Grandfather's Pull-Up
Yes, you should work out your back as often as you work out your chest. "The back goes hand in hand with the chest, as they are antagonistic muscle groups," according to NYC trainer Steve Lischin.
"Perpendicular pull-ups are simple in their concept, but effective," he said. "My clients dread this exercise because there's no rest phase. It's hard work. I don't consider this a very advanced exercise. It all comes down to how many repetitions someone can do."
Lischin practices what he preaches. "When I'm doing my own back exercises, I do these," he said. "They are really effective."
- Using a smith machine, put your feet on a bench (so you are doing an inverted pushup on the bar).
- Hang from the bar and pull yourself up.
- On the last repetition, hold the position for 10 seconds in an isometric hold.
To make this exercise more difficult, use a rope or gymnastic rings to pull yourself up. Imagine that your body is a plank of wood. Hold your core tight. Don't let your hips sag. This protects your lower back and makes the exercise that much more efficient.
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ABOUT STEVEN LISCHIN, MS CPT
Steve Lischin has over 20 years experience as a private personal fitness instructor and nutrition counselor. A former bodybuilding champion with a master's degree in nutrition and certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Lischin's clientele includes professional athletes and teams, as well as actors and celebrities gearing up for major motion pictures and events. In addition to providing expert personal training services to his clients, Lischin has created and managed several in-house personal training departments in major health clubs in New York and New Jersey, including World Gyms of NYC. He can be reached on the Web through JoeTraining.com.