Three of the Most Common Pull-up and Chin-up Training Mistakes to Avoid
- Not locking the elbows in the bottom, dead hang position.
The real issue here is that most people do not perform pull-ups and chin-ups through a full range of motion, and this is especially true when it comes to locking out the elbows in the dead hang position. This is one of the most common pull-up training mistakes, and it’s a risky one, too. Not only will you be getting sub-optimal results, but if you make this a habit, you’ll also be risking an elbow or shoulder injury down the road. Plus, you’ll only strengthen what you train. And if you don’t train that last bit of range of motion, then obviously, you’ll be weak in not only that ROM, but in the corresponding musculature, too.
- Straining your head and neck to get the chin over the bar.
This comes in many different shapes and forms, but oftentimes it involves tilting the head back and jutting the chin forward to reach the chin higher and get it over the bar at the top of the repetition. This might be acceptable for an infrequent pull-up test, but it’s not a good idea when training. The pull-up is not a neck exercise, and no amount of straining at the neck is going to help you get any higher. It’s really just a compensation for being weak in the top position, and we fool ourselves by thinking it actually helps us get even higher. On the contrary, it does not contribute to your strength in the exercise, and it might lead to an injury down the road.
- Not maintaining shoulder pack throughout the full range of motion.
Many people are totally unaware of what to do with their shoulders during the pull-up exercise. And oftentimes, they allow their shoulders to shrug upwards – becoming unpacked, and thus, destabilized – especially in the bottom; dead hang position of the exercise. To make matters worse, some pull-up instructional resources even teach this as the proper technique. But most strength and conditioning experts would agree that the shoulders should remain stabilized throughout the full range of motion, including in the dead hang position. When stabilized, not only will your shoulders be in a safer position, but you’ll be able to apply more of your body’s strength to perform more reps.