This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
The Gravitron machine is excellent for pull-ups because it provides you with the support to do pull-ups while maintaining proper form, allowing you to max out your back muscles. For this variation on the neutral grip pull-ups, you'll focus on controlled speed as you lift up quickly and powerfully.
Stand on the platform of a Gravitron machine, holding the parallel pull-up handgrips in each hand, with your palm facing inward in a neutral position. Step off of the platform and onto the foot rests, allowing your body weight to bring you down until your arms are fully extended (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, quickly and powerfully pull yourself vertically upward while keeping your elbows close to your ribs, retracting your shoulder blades, and opening your chest. Try to keep your entire lower body (hips, knees, ankles) stable and still as you lift to ensure that you isolate your back muscles (see Photos 2 and 3).
- At the top of your motion, your head should be above your hands, your chin level with the bars, and your neck in line with your spine. Your shoulder blades should remain retracted (see Photo 4).
- Reverse motion and lower yourself with controlled speed back to the starting position while keeping the movement in the muscle; do not simply let go or allow your elbows to lock. Repeat the pull-up 12 times, exhaling on the flexion (the upward movement) and inhaling on the extension (the downward movement).