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  1. #1
    Sweet Prince of Peace BigAndJuicy's Avatar
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    Do pull ups suck for bodybuilding?

    I never see videos of bodybuilders doing them. Just rows, lat pull downs, and other exercises. Are they trash?
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  2. #2
    Registered User rsid97's Avatar
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    As with most movements, they have their place, doesn't make them trash. I built most of my lats from weighted pull ups and my back is still one of my most well developed body parts to date.

    It depends on who you're watching as well. If you're looking at 300lb bodybuilders, a weighted pull up may not be the most feasible option, especially if we're taking into consideration the ability to get a good contraction at the peak position. On the other hand, if you're watching the lighter mens physique guys or the calistenics guys, they won't shut up about pull ups.

    Personally, I've now come to prefer a form of hammer strength, plate loaded pull down in conjunction with a D-handled medium grip lat pull down (this is after I added 104lbs of bodyweight over the course of 6 years of training that is).

    Ultimately, I'd always want to have some form of a vertical pull in a training split, which exact movement it is, is going to be dependent on other factors.
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  3. #3
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    It’s easier to get a good contraction and squeeze at the bottom with a lat pull down then with a pull up.
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  4. #4
    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    No, I rate them highly. Better ROM than with rows. The only thing to note is that they are hardest near the top, so you shouldn't feel guilty if your last 1 or 2 you don't get your chin above the bar.

    You mainly see ligher guys doing them because they are good at them so there is an ego element to it.
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  5. #5
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    I used to hate pull ups, mainly because I couldn't do them. 18 months ago I couldn't do a single pull up, then I lost 50 pounds and after a lot of work I can now do 14 reps (I usually do them weighted and go for lower reps). But I think they are weight-to-strength ratio dependant, which is perhaps why people who weigh 250lbs+ can't or don't do them. Years ago I knew a guy at the gym who was skinny all over but for some reason had massive biceps, and he could do 20+ reps as though it was a normal thing.

    I do feel that lat pull downs focus more on the lats. But only in the same way that the leg press focuses more on the quads - that doesn't mean that squats are trash. I've heard the pull up being called the equivelant of an "upper body squat." If my abs are sore from earlier in the week then I find pull ups really tough, so they're definitely working more than just your lats.

    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    No, I rate them highly. Better ROM than with rows. The only thing to note is that they are hardest near the top, so you shouldn't feel guilty if your last 1 or 2 you don't get your chin above the bar.
    I'm glad you said that, because I always try and get my chin right over the bar. But always on the last 2 reps I only end up getting my eyes over the bar. If my eyes go over, then I count the rep.
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  6. #6
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    How about you treat this just like other big-muscle moves, what's the difference?

    Do some pullups using some form of sensible sets/reps/weight progression, concentrating on the movement
    Afterwards do some kind of isolation/machine/etc to work the muscles (lat pull, one of the hammer strength machines, cable work or whatever you prefer)

    When I very occasionally see someone walk up to the pullups bars with a 45lb plate swinging like a giant 3rd test-icicle and crank out 10 pullups fully owning them, then I *know* they're a Badass (with a capital "B"). Sure lat pulldown is a great muscle developer, but it doesn't score a high badass number - if that's important to you...
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  7. #7
    Registered User adamgentile's Avatar
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    Pullups are on top of the list for bodybuilding! A machine can never replicate the target and results of what pull-ups can do, it's a true back builder.
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    Registered User ExiledFromFit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BigAndJuicy View Post
    I never see videos of bodybuilders doing them. Just rows, lat pull downs, and other exercises. Are they trash?
    With latpulldowns you can warmup with a light weight, watch your form and then lift a heavier weight with the same form. For pullups (if you're bigger) you have to start with bodyweight directly and it's harder to avoid bad form.
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  9. #9
    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    Arnold loved doing them. He would do 5 sets of 10 wide grip behind the neck.
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  10. #10
    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    I still love this video of Jesse Marunde doing pull-ups. He's 316 pounds of man knocking them out like it's nothing. Being heavier means you just have to get stronger. I could do way more pull-ups when I was in the Marine Corps and a lot lighter, but now I'm doing weighted pull-ups with weights I would have never seen then.

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