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Yoga develops total body strength and stamina, making it a great stepping stone to functional moves like press-ups and pull-ups. In flow yoga we do a lot of press-ups in the form of chaturanga. But we don’t really do moves that focus on pulling.

Adding pull-ups to your training repertoire is a fantastic way to benefit everything from your grip strength to your large back muscles. However, they will probably take a while to master. Like any challenging move, they require practice and persistence. When you put in the effort, though, you will be rewarded with increased strength and confidence.

pull up

Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

If you’re a beginner you need to get your body accustomed to the movement. Two ways to do this are the straight-arm hang and the shoulder-pull.

The first element, as the name suggests, is simply suspending and holding your body weight. This can be surprisingly challenging! To do this, find a comfortable grip where your hands are more than shoulder width apart. Ease your feet off the ground until your whole weight is on your arms — try to not jerk as that could strain your shoulders. Start with five or 10 seconds, whatever is comfortable. Keep breathing evenly in and out through your nose. Gradually increase the time you hold on.

Once you’ve built up a strong grip and can hang for 30-40 seconds, move on to lifting your weight with your shoulder blades. To do this, hang in the same position, letting your shoulders rise naturally. Then pull your scapula downwards and gently release back into a relaxed position. This works the larger muscles in your back and prepares your body for the next stage of the pull-up.

Stay tuned for more pull-up tips!