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.
One-armed pull-ups are hard to do without jerking or dropping—in a word, safely. Here, you'll use a Gravitron machine to assist your lift, and to help you keep your motion consistent (and therefore safe).
Back (lats, rhomboids, traps)
Stand on the platform of a Gravitron machine, holding one of the pull-up handgrips in your left hand, with your palm facing inward in a neutral position. Grip the wrist of your left hand with your right hand, or, if you really need the balance assistance, rest your other hand lightly on one of the lower handgrips for balance as pictured (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, bend your left elbow and pull yourself upward in a one-armed pull-up. Your chest should stay lifted and square to the machine, and your shoulder blades should press together as you lift. At the top of your lift, your chin should be just above the level of your hand (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the top of the lift, lower yourself back to the starting position, using your right arm for balance only if necessary (see Photo 4).
- Repeat the pull-up for the recommended number of reps with one arm, and then switch arms and repeat for the recommended number of reps with the other arm.
If you have trouble stabilizing yourself during these pull-ups, sit at a seated back pull-down cable machine and perform single arm pull-downs, gripping the wrist of the pulling arm with your free hand.
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.