If you’re as old as me, you can probably remember the annual physical test in PE, which included the obligatory stop underneath the pull-up bar. There are multiple reasons that schools used to incorporate this exercise and that it’s still a staple for the military and in CrossFit. The pull-up tests movement competence in the arms overhead position illuminates any deficiencies in shoulder and thoracic spine mobility and requires you to stabilize your spine as you move several large muscle groups through a full range of motion. It’s also a great way to build upper body and grip strength.
If you’re doing it right, that is. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t. The movement errors people make in the pull up might seem innocuous on the surface but if left uncorrected they can lead to injury, chronic stiffness and the grooving of a faulty motor pattern. Here are three common mistakes and how to fix them: