Lifting or pulling the top block: which is better?

When a powerful and expressive back is at stake, there is not much width. We will compare 2 main exercises for the widest and help you make the best choice.

Author: Brad Borland

With the right development, the musculature of the back radiates a true, primordial force. Wide, cone-shaped latissimus muscles, dense and relief diamond-shaped and round muscles give the real warrior of the gym. To develop such a musculature is very simple – you must perform various kinds of traction or pull-ups that stretch and strengthen this anatomical area to absolutely fantastic results.

Eternal controversy, which exercise, thrust of the upper block or pull-up, is ideally suited for maximum development of the back, has been going on for a long time. With the advent of a progressive functional philosophy, which for several years has gained great popularity, the answer seems obvious. However, the conversation will not be complete without a detailed study of these widely known and very effective exercises of your arsenal for the development of a broad, strong back.

Which of them will win the battle? Let's go into the details.

The time-tested pull of the top block down was and remains a fundamental tool for working out the back in the arsenal of each athlete. Unfortunately, the correct technique for doing the exercise today is not encountered more often than a snowman. Use a straight upper grip around the shoulder width (or 15-25 cm wider for a wide grip), sit on the seat and keep your back upright.

In the initial position, the latissimus muscles should be completely relaxed and stretched out. Pull the neck down in the direction of the chest, and pull not so much the hands, as the elbows, trying to perform a kind of "backward shirts" due to the shoulder girdle. So you shift the emphasis from the biceps to the lats. Maximize the muscles at the bottom point, take a second break and go back to the starting position. As you move up, try to relax and lift your shoulders to maximally stretch the latissimus muscles. This will allow you to work through them all the way.

Pros: The pull of the top block is an excellent alternative to pull-ups, especially if you can not pull up enough times yet. In addition, the traction of the upper block gives you the opportunity to adjust the working weight and expands the prospects in terms of tension and stretching of the broadest muscles with numerous repetitions. In addition, it is easy to apply high-intensity training techniques to this exercise, for example, drop sets and multi-repeat approaches.

Cons: Suffice it to mention several shortcomings. First and foremost, this is the availability of equipment – in the gym all are much more willing to perform traction of the upper block than pull-ups. Technique is another key factor, and many refuse to critically evaluate their technique, which leads to a lack of results. Finally, even with prolonged use, the thrust of the upper block will not help you develop the most important auxiliary muscles, which provide the real strength and power of the upper body.

Relatively recently, few people remembered pulling up except in the army, but in the last decades this fundamental exercise managed to return to the big leagues. Pulling up is a real indicator of the strength of the upper body, which is often called "sit-ups" for the trunk, arms, and shoulder girdle. Many are trying to pull themselves up, but not everyone succeeds. In traditional pulls, the upper (straight) grip is used about 15 cm in excess of the width of the shoulders.

Due to the movement, which is very similar to the pull of the upper block, pull yourself up with elbows and perform "backward shags", pulling the shoulder blades and trying to reach the crossbar with the chest. When the chest touches the horizontal bar or comes close to it, start lowering in a slow, controlled key, without completely straightening the arms. Repeat as much as you can.

Pros: The advantages of traditional pull-ups can be listed for a long time. Increased requirements for control of the upper body, maximum inclusion in the muscles of the trunk, an increase in the strength of the upper body – these are just some of them. In addition, a guy who knows how to pull himself up really does make an impression. Pull-ups show real strength and provide tremendous stress to the widest muscles. Another great advantage of pulling up is that the bar is almost always free.

Cons: The correct technique for performing pull-ups is easy to describe, but difficult to master. Few have physical data that allow you to properly pull up, besides, the banal lack of diligence can be the cause of errors. Many all life are pulled up incorrectly, stopping halfway to the crossbar, and perform only half the repetition. In a word, pull-ups are complex and require careful and constant work on improving the technique of execution.

So, who is winning? We answer the question on all the laws of the genre. While there is not enough force for pulling up, the execution of the thrust of the upper block was and remains a justified strategy. However, by integrating both exercises into your training program, multiplying them with high-intensity training, various repetition schemes, and using different grips and angles, you will gain a huge advantage in terms of building powerful and maximally wide back muscles. Narrow grip, wide grip, reverse grip, parallel grip – these are just a few options available at your disposal.

While pull-ups exploit the power of the upper body in the full program, the thrust of the upper block is more suitable in cases where you want to perform drop-sets or are going to continue to burn muscles after pull-ups. Using exercises in turn or within the same workout will force your body to constantly adapt and strive for even larger, maximally wide back muscles.

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