Use the Smith machine to do a modified pull-up, where you keep one foot on the floor to “spot” you. This not only makes the pull-up a little easier, it also allows you to focus on form (since you don’t have to wriggle your way into the air) and isolates the exercise in your upper back.
Back (lats, rhomboids)
Stand under a Smith machine bar facing the bar, with your feet hip distance apart and your hands grasping the bar at about shoulder distance apart, with palms facing away from you. Bend one knee and lift that foot off the ground, so that you only have one foot on the floor (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, keep your shoulders down and back as you bend your elbows and pull yourself up toward the bar in a classic pull-up. As you do so, use the foot on the floor to help you to balance, and to push off with as needed (see Photo 2).
- Lift until your chin clears the bar, pulling with the pinkie side of your hands to distribute the pressure and pressing your elbows slightly forward as you lift (see Photo 3).
- From the top of your motion, slowly lower back to the starting position, resisting the downward motion through your shoulders and upper back, and keeping a constant pressure on the foot on the floor (see Photos 4 and 5).