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Extending bottom range of motion on dead hang chins/pulls


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I find that I can execute at least one chin up, one pull up, and one neutral grip pull up from a standing position with slightly flexed arms. However, I can't figure out how to get my body to that position from a dead hang at this point.

 

I'm thinking maybe flexed hangs for time might help get me to the point where I can knock out a rep from a dead hang?

 

I'm curious what others have done to overcome this hurdle. Suggestions on movements/exercises to facilitate this?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Just to clarify on the starting position I mention above, here's a video in the event my description above was unclear. My feet are on the floor at the beginning of this rep.

Start weight: 223, Current weight: 170, Goal weight: 165

Dwarf Assassin, Battle log: theseus declares war on sloth and boredom

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(Noto bene:  I have yet to perform a single complete pullup myself.)

 

Scapular retractions?  While hanging from the bar with straight arms, pull your shoulder blades together and down.  Kind of like a reverse shrug.  You can get a similar feeling on a horizontal plane by holding your arms out straight in front of you then pulling just your shoulders back.

 

A good mobility drill (if necessary) are "scap pushups":  Set up in a pushup position, while keeping your arms straight the entire time lower your chest a couple of inches by letting it sink between your shoulders then push it back up.

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I find that I can execute at least one chin up, one pull up, and one neutral grip pull up from a standing position with slightly flexed arms. However, I can't figure out how to get my body to that position from a dead hang at this point.

The solution is actually very, very simple. Get stronger. Keep working on chinups. When you've built the strength to perform about 5-7 chinups through most of the range of motion, you'll find you're strong enough to get one from a dead hang. (Though deadhang chins/pullups aren't terribly useful as a strength exercise. Most of the benefits of chins/pullups happen at the top.)

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The solution is actually very, very simple. Get stronger. Keep working on chinups. When you've built the strength to perform about 5-7 chinups through most of the range of motion, you'll find you're strong enough to get one from a dead hang. (Though deadhang chins/pullups aren't terribly useful as a strength exercise. Most of the benefits of chins/pullups happen at the top.)

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+1 to this. Scap pulls and scap push-ups are not good strength exercises, and scap pulls in particular are the exact movement you can't do, so trying to practice them will be frustrating and ineffective.

Just keep working chins and pull-ups, going as low as you can without losing your ability to get back up to the bar. Pretty soon you'll be able to pull from a dead hang with no issues.

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Cowardly Assassin
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Negatives. Doing them through the full range of motion will help you with this. I started where you're at and was up to 5-6 deadhang pull-ups within a few months.

Thanks, Disil! I esp. appreciate the advice seeing that you started from the same place (in this thread: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/48466-chin-ups-or-pull-up-negatives-to-get-to-pull-ups/)Amazing transformation, by the way!

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Start weight: 223, Current weight: 170, Goal weight: 165

Dwarf Assassin, Battle log: theseus declares war on sloth and boredom

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Thanks theseus. Guess I could've linked to that thread to begin with, good thing you found it yourself. I'm now up to about 10 reps per set, about 5 wide grip pull-ups per set and about 50-60 total during a workout if I really go all out.

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I have to cast doubt on some of the suggestions on here (although if you've tried them to good effect then fair enough) - in particular:

  • getting stronger for the top part of the pull-up won't help for the bottom part because they use different muscles
  • doing negatives of the deadhanging section risks damage to the shoulders unless you already have the strength to do the motion in a controlled manner

I'd suggest a combination of:

  • just trying it
  • rows

...until you "just try it" one day and find you can complete the full RoM pull-up. Of course for the rows, do it with the fullest RoM possible, otherwise you're not training the weak spot! Also, if you have access to an assisted pull-up machine, then find a weight where you can just about do the deadhang component and do lots of sets on that.

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How are you afraid dead hang pulls might hurt the shoulders? I've heard a few people say this, but never seen any studies or heard from anyone who's actually been injured in this way. I guess it might be conceivable if they were obese, but otherwise I'm having trouble seeing it.

Cowardly Assassin
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If done correctly, I see no problem :) I do all my pull-ups from a complete deadhang and it doesn't hurt my shoulders because I have the strength to control the motion and I do it slowly enough.

 

if you couldn't control the negative enough though - for example due to not yet having the strength - then the shoulder joint would be asked to sustain a force considerably greater than your bodyweight (just like your legs would if you jumped off a garage) and this could be more stress than it can safely bear.

 

Being obese would make it worse. Having naturally strong tendons etc. in the shoulder would make it better.

 

Also, this only applies to pull-ups where there's a markèd switch between muscle groups mid-motion... in chin-ups, the same muscles are under tension throughout the movement (I think?) so there's no danger of dropping through the bottom part to let your shoulder joints catch you.

Level 25 Cyborg Assassin

[ STR 36.75 | DEX 26.00 | STA 28.00 | CON 31.25 | WIS 29.25 | CHA 24.50 ]

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The down and back mantra can lead to impingement.

Shoulder packing for overhead movement is a little different to how it has been simplified.

 

A more natural motion is needed, not completely loose and definitely not shoulders pulled tightly down and back.

Allowing your shoulders to move naturally while keeping control at all times, is safer and much easier. People tend to have problems when they try to follow strict form rules and stop their shoulders from moving.

 

A few interesting articles.

 

http://bretcontreras.com/guest-blog-shoulder-packing-by-joe-sansalone/

 

http://bretcontreras.com/when-coaching-cues-attack-packing-the-shoulder/

 

http://www.markpieciak.com/2013/12/active-shoulders-vs-packed-shoulders/

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