As we get older and busier in our lives, exercise becomes more of a chore rather than an enjoyable activity. Some are fortunate enough to have gotten the runners high, and therefore, are easily motivated to exercise and may continue to do so as they age. However, with time constraints and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, exercise often becomes a "have to" rather than a "want to."
Pull-ups are one of the most straightforward exercises — pull your body up to a bar and then lower yourself back down. If you've ever tried to do one, however, you know that their straightforwardness is exceeded by their intensity. It takes strength, both physical and mental, to perform pull-ups. In addition, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment or even leave your home.
Some have even called them the "toughest exercise ever." Although they're tough, and may still evoke a feeling of dread if you were among those forced to do them in gym class, there's good reason to include pull-ups in your weekly exercise routine. Your hard work will reap bountiful rewards.
Pull-ups are famous for building and strengthening your upper body, but this is only one of their claims to fame. Jacque Crockford, an American Council on Exercise (ACE)-certified personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist noted, "Because performing the pull-up involves moving the entirety of your own bodyweight up against gravity, it takes incredible upper-body strength and trunk stability." Your back muscles are also involved, and pull-ups are an excellent tool for strengthening and elongating those muscles. If you do pull-ups regularly, you may find that your posture begins to improve. As a multi-joint, dynamic and compound movement, pull-ups work many muscles all at once. This includes the muscles of your back, shoulders, chest and arms. In addition, the pull-up is an exercise that builds the muscle mass of your latissimus dorsi, which is the broad back muscle that runs from the back of your shoulder to your lower back (the primary muscle responsible for that coveted V-shaped look).
Pull-ups are a classic body weight exercise, which means your own body provides the resistance. Such exercises are ideal because they don't require excessive equipment (although a pull-up bar is necessary for pull-ups) and can be customized to your current skill and fitness level.
Meanwhile, pull-ups will help build your core strength and are an ideal form of functional movement, which can help reduce your risk of injuries and falls while helping you to maintain independence as you get older. In addition, pull-ups build grip strength because your fingers, hands and forearms are all used.