If someone asks me to choose my favorite movement to strengthen the upper body, my answer will be “Pull-ups” without a second thought.
Pull-ups have always been one of the most effective bodyweight movements for upper body strength, but the problem is, a large chunk of the population can not perform even a single pull-up.
Pull-Ups has got incredible benefits to offer but how can you reap the benefits if you don’t have enough strength to pull your body up against gravity?
Through this article, we are going to cover everything about assisted pull-ups and how to effectively perform them.
What is assisted pull-ups?
The only drawback of a bodyweight workout against a machine workout is you can not decrease or increase the weight as per convenience. That’s the reason most people at the gym prefer lat-pull-down against pullups.
What is assisted pullup? As the name suggests, the assisted pull-up is just a pull-up with added assistance to help you complete the movement with perfection.
Now assisted pull-ups are getting increasingly popular. An assisted pull-ups will help you gain the required strength to progress towards non-assisted bodyweight pull-ups or weighted pull-ups.
Are assisted pull-ups Cheating?
No, doing assisted pull-ups is not cheating, lifters use assisted pull-ups to perform additional reps when their muscles are too tired to complete the lift on their own.
Assisted pull-ups are just like a mechanical spotter which helps the lifter to complete extra reps.
Assisted pull-ups are as effective as conventional bodyweight pullups, Assisted pull-ups were designed to let you build strength and perfect your movement and body positioning.
Strength building works on the concept of progressive overload, so once you get comfortable with a certain amount of assistance then you can always reduce the assistance to help yourself work your way up to perfect pull up.
What band should I use for assisted pull-ups?
Today, a wide range of bands are available in the market which makes the selection process more difficult than ever before.
Before we learn “what band is best for pullups” its important to know the common types of resistance bands available in market
Types of Resistance Bands
1- Tube bands with handles
These are the most common types of resistance bands that have been available in the market. These are the tube-like structures attached with handles to facilitate multiple movements like bicep curls, shoulder lateral raise, chest press, shoulder press, etc.
These bands have been used by fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders to get the blood flowing and muscle pump.
2- Pull up bands or Power bands
If you are buying a band for pull-ups then you should ask for the power band or Pull-up bands.
There are long loop bands that are designed to offer strong resistance. These pullup bands can be used for a variety of other exercises too like squats or bench presses.
3- Mini loop band or Booty band
Mini loop bands are commonly used to target glutes from different angles.
4- Therapy bands
Therapy bands are very long (up to 7 feet) and thin, light ‘free bands’, meaning they do not loop.
Therapy bands are widely used by physiotherapists and pilates instructors for rehabilitation and muscle strengthening.
5- Figure 8 bands
I still can’t figure out the use of these bands but these are widely available at online stores.
What size of pull-up band for your assisted pull-up?
Now we know that you need to buy a pull-up band for the assisted pullup and you should not be wasting your hard-earned money on any other types of resistance bands.
But pull-up bands are coming in different sizes and it’s important to know the perfect size for you.
Pullup bands are usually available in 5 varieties:
|Extra Light Resistance Band:||5-15 lbs||Offers very light resistance, Not suitable for pull upsGood for warmup and muscle pump|
|Light Resistance Band:||20-35 lbs||Not suitable for pull upIdeal for warmups, for light-weight workouts|
|Medium Resistance Band:||40-55 lbs||Suitable for assisted pull upsIdeal for rowing, pullovers, chest press, and squatsOptimal for squats at home|
|Heavy Resistance Band:||70-90 lbs||Offers strong resistance, ideal for people who need greater assistance while pullup, Mimics heavy squats|
|Extra Heavy Resistance Band||100-120 lbs||Offer super-strong resistance, good for lifter trying muscle-up, optimal for an obese trainee who is trying their first pullup|
Selection of pullup band according to your body type:
Endomorph male: The majority of males are quite strong already and do not require super-strong assistance. A medium resistance pullup band should be enough for the majority of men.
Ectomorph female: Although ectomorph females are quite lightweight, they usually don’t have enough strength to perform pull-ups on their own. You can train your lat muscle with a pull-up band that offers 50-70lbs of resistance.
Endomorph female: Overweight women usually struggle with pullups and we usually recommend training with machines until they gain sufficient strength to practice pull-ups. An endomorph female should choose an extra-heavy resistance band.
Can do 1-3 pull-ups: Someone who can do 1-3 perfect pull-ups will require a pull-up band that offers medium resistance of 40-50 lbs.
Can do 3-5 pullups: Doing 3-5 perfect pullups is a commendable job, if you need assistance after the first few sets then you can try medium or light resistance bands.
Can do 5-10 pullups: Someone who can do 5-10 perfect pullups should not be investing in pullup bands, instead, you should be investing in a weighted vest or dip belt to progressively increase resistance.
Note** The following suggestions are given according to my personal experiences with a wide range of clients.
Assisted pull-up Machine Vs Band
If you have thought about choosing between assisted pull-up machine vs band then your query is going to get sorted here.
Machines and bands work on very different principles, while the resistance on machines stays constant throughout the movement, the resistance of a band will change at different points.
In simple words, the band’s resistance increases as you stretch the band further.
While doing pull-ups, we are stronger at the top lockout position but we are usually weak at the bottom position.
The resistance band will offer great assistance at your weak point and will reduce the resistance as you pull yourself up.
On the other hand, assisted pullup machines offer uniform assistance throughout the movement.
I prefer bands over machines for the assisted pull-ups. Bands offer a better choice.
Additionally, you get to develop better balance and core strength while practicing pull-ups with bands. Assisted pull-up machine provides a lot of stability which is not good for core strength development.
What Muscles Do Assisted Pull-ups Work?
The number of muscles worked while assisted pull-ups can be divided into two categories: Primary and Secondary.
Primary muscle includes: Trapezius, Posterior deltoid, Latissimus Dorsi, Levator Scapulae, Teres Major, and Teres Minor.
Secondary muscles includes: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Pectoralis major, and Core.