This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
These military pull-ups push your back muscles to their limit; modifications mean you can work up to the hardest level in stages.
Place the squat bar on the squat rack at shoulder height. Stand perpendicular to the squat rack and grasp the center of the bar with your hands facing in opposite directions, then squat down until your legs are bent and your arms almost fully extended above you (see Photo 1).
- From the squat position, and keeping your toes on the floor, slowly pull yourself directly upward, bringing your head to one side of the bar. Use your feet to “spot” yourself, but try to put as little weight on them as possible. At the top of your lift, your chin should be just above the level of your hands, with your neck straight—do not crane your neck (see Photo 2).
- Lower yourself back to the squat position, with your feet light on the floor, and then repeat for a full set of 12 pull-ups, bringing your head up on alternate sides of the bar for each repetition (see Photos 3 and 4).
Once you have mastered the basic version of these pull-ups, you can add difficulty by keeping only one foot on the floor throughout the pull-up (see Photo 5). In the most difficult version, use one foot on the floor only as you pull up, and lower yourself back down without using your feet at all.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.