15 Pulling Exercises to Fire Up the Entire Backside of Your Body

The result? Better functioning in everyday life. “Pull exercises often mimic the activities of daily living,” Reiner explains, “so when you develop that pulling strength, you can basically meet your daily challenges with ease.” Things like hauling a bag of groceries, picking up heavy objects from the floor, walking down stairs, or sitting in a chair all become easier when you fortify your pulling strength.

Improved posture is another key perk. A lot of people have poor posture—they hunch and slump forward—because their frontside muscles are tight and their backside muscles are weak, Williams explains. Pulling exercises help strengthen your back muscles, ultimately creating better balance between your front and back sides and allowing you to hold a tall, upright position. Basically, pulling exercises literally pull you back into a good, better posture since they ignite your posterior muscles and counterbalance the anterior ones, Williams explains.

Additionally, lower-body pull exercises like hamstring curls can help improve your “braking power,” or ability to decelerate, Reiner explains. When you halt movement to stop yourself from falling or quickly change directions, your hamstrings are typically the muscles that jump in to slow you down. “With better braking power, you can stop and change directions more efficiently, which is really a key component for athletic ability,” she says. It can also cut your injury risk in scenarios where you unexpectedly have to move away from an object that suddenly appears in your path (like dodging a kid on a bike as you cross a busy street, for example).

So what’s the best way to add pulling exercises to your workout program?

By thinking about your workouts in terms of “push” and “pull” exercises, you can ensure you work both sides of your body evenly instead of overemphasizing certain muscles.

One way to do this is to divide your sessions into pull workouts and push workouts, and alternate between the two, Williams says. One day, you might do a full-body pull workout (think: pull-ups, rows, deadlifts, and biceps curls) and then for your next session, pivot to solely push moves (say, presses, squats, and push-ups). With this approach, you’d really tax your posterior muscles to the max during the pull-specific workouts, making it a great choice if you’re looking to reap big strength and muscle-building benefits.

Another option is to mash together push and pull exercises so that you do one workout of upper-body push and lower-body pull moves, and then next time, a session of upper-body pull and lower-body push exercises. Within these workouts, you’d superset the push and pull moves together—for example, you’d do a chest press followed by a deadlift, or a bent-over row followed by a squat—as a way to save time and maximize recovery, since one side of your body works while the other rests.

Or you can create a circuit-style workout that cycles through an upper-body push, an upper-body pull, a leg-focused move (either push or pull), and a core exercise, Reiner says. You’d do those four exercises back to back, and then rest before repeating the circuit two or three times. This approach allows you to hit all your major muscle groups in a relatively short amount of time, which can be helpful for the busy exerciser. Just make sure to program the more challenging moves (those that work bigger muscle groups, like bent-over rows or pull-ups) at the beginning of the workout before moving into smaller muscle groups (like ones that zero in on your biceps), Reiner advises. That way, you’ll feel fresh enough and have the strength you need to nail the bigger exercises.

On that note, feel free to use the circuit-style format, but take a breather in between exercises instead of doing them back to back, Reiner says. “Especially if you’re using heavier weights, that’s when you would want that added rest,” she says.

One final way to slice this: If you’re an advanced exerciser who likes to lift super heavy, it’s extra important to give yourself a lot of downtime before working the same muscles again, in which case you might choose to schedule your weekly workouts like this: one day of upper-body pull moves, one day of upper-body push moves, and one day of leg exercises (covering both push and pull), followed by one day of rest. This way, you’re giving your muscle groups up to three days of rest before working them again, Reiner explains.

Here’s some pulling exercises you’ll want to try.

Ready to get your pull on? Here are some awesome upper- and lower-body exercises you can do today for a stronger, more stable backside. Some require just your bodyweight; others use tools like dumbbells, parallel bars, and pull-up bars to deliver an extra challenge to your muscles.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button