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My last post gave tips for getting started on pull-ups — a great functional exercise that supplements your yoga practice. Using functional exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups rapidly strengthens major muscle groups, giving a boost to your practice.


Photo by bady qb on Unsplash

Once you’ve built up your strength with straight-arm hangs and can comfortably lift your weight with your shoulder blades you’re ready to move on to a new challenge: negative pull-ups. This means you start with your chin over the bar and lower your body weight, working all the essential pull-up muscles in reverse.

The key benefiting from negative pull-ups is control. If you drop like a stone you’re not building any muscle and you might even injure yourself. Start very slowly. It will be easiest to control your descent at the top, with your arms bent. It gets harder as your arms extend so if you get to a point where you can’t control the speed of your descent, simply let go. That’s where you are right now.

Continue practicing negative pull-ups, one at a time, or half a one at a time, until you build up to doing full, controlled descents.

Once you can comfortably do several negative pull-ups it’s time to try the real thing. To begin, stand on something so you can begin with a half-pull up. Once you master that, gradually challenge yourself by starting with your arms more extended.

Whatever you do, don’t rush, and don’t give up. How long it takes to achieve a pull-up will depend on your weight and level of strength when you begin. Just view it as part of your practice and do a little every day.

Questions about functional strength moves? Ask in the comments!