Max-OT Exercises: Which Ones and Why

Upper Back – Lats

Pull-ups

Pull-ups are the king of all lat exercises and fit nicely into the Max-OT training protocol. Primary muscles involved are the lats. Secondary muscles used are the biceps, forearms, shoulders, and a little bit of chest.

Pull-ups are a body weight exercise meaning the overload used is the weight of your body. For beginners starting out this sometimes too heavy. For advanced weight trainers this can be way too light.

Execution

Pull-ups are straight forward, but even so many people miss out on the total effect by not using the correct form for maximum overload.

The bar and your grip are two of the most important areas and also the main aspect people perform incorrectly. You should use a straight bar and not a bar that is angled at the ends. Your grip on the bar should be about 6 to 8 inches wider than your shoulders. A perfect way to tell if you are using the correct grip width is as follows: When you are at the top of the movement and your chin is over the bar your forearms should be perpendicular (straight up and down) to the ground. If your forearms are at an angle at the top of the movement then your grip is either too wide or too narrow.

Most people use a grip that is too wide. In fact, most pull-up bars encourage a grip that is too wide by angling and knurling the ends to designate grip location. Do not grip a pull-up bar on the angled portion. This angle can invite serious shoulder joint injury. Even a minor shoulder injury can all but shut down your training completely.

Max-OT Tip:
If you are unable to do more than a couple of pull-ups here is a way to complete six reps with a bit of assistance that you can control. Have your training partner stand behind you with his hands cupped together like he is giving you a boost onto a ledge or over a fence. As you are in the pull-up position bend your legs and put the tip of your feet into his cupped hands. When you get to where you can’t complete a full rep on your own use your legs to press against your partners cupped hands to provide only the assistance you need to complete the reps. Your partner should not help. He is only there to provide a base for you to assist yourself. This is one of the few situations were Max-OT will use forced reps. Chances are you will not need this assistance very long.

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