Want to get a strong and injury-proof upper body? Perform bodyweight vertical pulling exercises, which include Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups and their variations.
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I'm a particular fan of the Lean Away Chin-Up, which I've found to be a demanding exercise that challenges your major back muscles while requiring torso and shoulder stability.
The exercise is simple. Perform a Chin-Up, then lean away from the bar and slowly lower yourself, almost in a reverse pressing motion. You can see this demonstrated in the video above.
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To get the most out of this movement, it's essential for your muscles to work in synergy, not in isolation. If you crank on your shoulders to perform an exercise, your shoulders will be cranky. If you use your entire body to support smooth shoulder movement, then your shoulders should be A-OK.
All pulling exercises require a healthy range of shoulder motion and engaging muscles such the lats and teres major (the lat's little brother). This is in addition to other key muscles that come into the play in a coordinated and specific fashion to create a smooth movement. When you use the chin-up hand position, your biceps are in a position to contribute to the movement.
The following video is an example of a weighted version. Once you've mastered the movement using your own body weight, then and only then would I suggest loading the movement.
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If you load the movement too soon, you will compromise form and build strength in a way that does not support short-term muscle and/or long-term joint health. In other words, your muscles and joints will be stressed out. Create a slow and solid foundation that you can build speed and strength upon.
Until next time, move more, talk less and be curious! And have a little fun!
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