The pull-up is one of the best exercises you can do for strength and muscle building. This is a compound exercise that works every muscle on you upper body. It primarily targets the lats and biceps, and it also works the rhomboids, traps, chest, shoulders, triceps and forearms.
Since pull-ups work so many muscles at once, they will help you build much more muscle than by doing many smaller movements combined, this is especially great for people who don't have a lot of time to exercise. The pull-ups will build muscle mass in your back and make it wider, so if you want that V-shape, you need to do pull-ups. It will also improve your posture, making you look much better. This is especially important if you have a desk job. Just a few pull-ups a day can help you correct back problems caused by sitting slouched for extended time.
Pull-ups are a great test of strength and fitness. But they are also very hard to perform, you need to lift your whole body weight. This is where the machine assisted pull ups might help you. The machine uses a weight to counter balance your bodyweight, making the pull up easier by requiring you to lift less.
The assisted pull up machine has some downsides. It does not work your body in exactly the same way as body weight pull up, since your body is fixed on the platform and doesn't move as you pull. Yet it will still allow you to strengthen those muscles and progress towards band assisted pull ups, and bodyweight pull ups.
The higher the weight you set the machine, the easier the exercise becomes. Unlike other weight machines, the more weight you add to an assisted pull-up machine, the easier the exercise will be for you. The machine counterbalances your weight with the weight you add to the machine.
Keep the shoulders down and back. Shrugging the shoulders at the upper part of the movement will place unnecessary stress on your rotator cuff, traps and other surrounding muscles while minimizing the stress on the lats, this is not what you want. Focus on pulling your shoulders down, and keeping them there for the entire movement.
Focus on pulling your elbows, not your hands. As with any pulling exercise that you perform for your back, you should always focus on pulling the resistance using your elbows. This simple trick will help you keep the pressure where you want it, on your lats, while minimizing the stress on your arms. Imagine your hands and forearms are merely hooks that attach you to the bar. Instead of thinking about pulling your body upwards towards the bar, focus on driving your elbows down toward the floor instead.
Don't place the hands too wide. The hands should be positioned shoulder width apart or just a little more. Having a wider grip will not result in wider lats, but might cause shoulder damage.
Use the full range of motion. It is important to remember that the pull-ups are a back exercise. Doing partial reps doesn't allow your lats to work properly which encourages the arms to do most of the work. Finish the reps with arms almost straight but not locked at the bottom, and your chin over the bar at the top.
Lower yourself down slowly. Make sure your muscles work on the way down, rather than either relying on the assistance from the machine or allowing your body to drop by force of gravity. Try to take around two to four seconds to lower the body all the way to the starting position.