Primarily, the muscle groups involved while pull-up are:
- Shoulder Adduction: Lats, Rhomboids, Teres Major muscle
- Elbow flexion: Brachialis, Biceps, Brachioradialis
- Scapular depression: Lower traps
- Core stability: Rectus Abdominis
Adding weight to the pullups is an ultimate way to supercharge your upper body strength but many people are trying to start weighted pullups too soon.
I have seen guys trying to do the pullups with 45lbs weighted vest when then can’t even do five strict bodyweight pullups.
Fact is, weighted pullup with shi*ty form is good for nothing, you are just taxing your body for no real benefits. Before you add weight to your pullup make sure you have a strong foundation to support it.
Are weighted pull-ups safe
If done incorrectly, any exercise can lead to injury and weighted pullups are no different. You really wanna master the perfect technique before you upgrade yourself to weighted pullups.
From my point of view, weighted pull-ups are quite safe unless you are adding too much weight too fast.
Whether weighted pullups are safe for you or not depends on the number of factors like your strength levels, pre-existing injuries, and your workout form. Proper warmup routine and post-workout recovery routine also plays a very important role in it.
Tips to safely do weighted pullups:
- Pay emphasis to the warmup routine, weighted pull-ups will put extra load on the body which requires extensive warmup.
- Few muscle activation drills by a resistance band will make you more resilient to injuries.
- The bar should ideally be high enough to allow you to hang from it without touching your feet to the ground.
- Avoid jumping to grab the bar, use a stepper or bench to allows a balanced grip before you attempt the pullups.
- Do not attempt for the super-wide grip in your initial weighted pullup days. Get yourself comfortable with the added weight before you try different grips.
- Start with the weight as light at 8-10 lbs. Trying to go too heavy too soon is a definite road to injury.
When to start weighted pullup
So when to start the weighted pullups? One thing we need to acknowledge here, weighted pullups are not for beginner level or beginner-intermediate level lifters, it’s for the lifters who have got too comfortable with the bodyweight pullups and now looking for new ways to challenge their body.
For many people, bodyweight alone is enough to see strength gains and size development.
When its time to add weight to pullups:
- Can do 10 strict pullups without kipping?
- Are you able to complete those pull-ups with the full range of motion?
If you can fulfill the criteria above then you are ready to start weighted pullups.
How to do weighted pull-ups
Weighted pullups can be performed in many ways, you can do the weighted pull-ups by the following ways:
- Weighted vest: most convenient way to add resistance to the workout, the only drawback is limited resistance.
- Dip belts: these belts are an incredible tool to add weight to your pullups and dips. Dip belts allow you to load more weight than a human physical capacity, some dip belts are built to withstand 500 pounds.
- Chains: Chains are getting more common at gym workout, chains are robust solutions to add resistance to the bodyweight workout.
- Dumbbell: Holding a dumbbell between feet is a great way to add resistance to the pullups and chin-ups. The best part is you don’t need to buy any additional equipment for it.
- Resistance bands: I personally love the resistance bands to add resistance to the workout. Band resisted pull-ups might be tricky to perform in beginning but you will start to enjoy it. The best part of band training is their resistance changes at a different range of motion, the more you stretch the band, the more resistance you experience.
Here is a video of Dr. Joel Seedman demonstrating band resisted pull-ups and chin-ups:
Weighted pull-ups vs more reps of regular pullup
Let me ask you a question: what is your best choice for growth and strength- 25-30 reps of lightweight or 5-8 reps of heavyweight? When we follow the principle of progressive overload while bench press, deadlift, squats, then why not pullups.
Just like any other exercise you need to increase the resistance as you get comfortable with the pullup, you can do that by adding weight or by performing difficult variations of the pullup. We are not asking beginners to start with added resistance but if you have already got comfortable with the pullups then its time to introduce yourself to the added resistance.
I have seen lifters who were soo light weighted that the could easily do 20 pullups but could not bench press 150 pounds.
Weighted pullups are for anyone who has adapted to bodyweight pullup and required additional resistance to challenge their body.
Hey guys thanks for reading, let us know your thoughts on the article. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always.