If you want to develop your upper body, build muscles and are willing to work with your own weight, there is something on the plate for you. The basic and most effective bodyweight exercises for this purpose are various pull-ups and push-ups. It’s enough to transform yourself by just performing them changing the number of repetitions, sets and variations. You won’t need any equipment except a pull-up bar and can train at home.
Wide grip pull-ups
This is the greatest exercise to develop your back. Vary your grip width and torso angle to effectively stimulate all areas of your back muscles.
Push-ups can focus either on your chest or on your triceps more depending on the grip – how wide it is. The wider the grip the more intensively your pecs (chest muscles) work. Vice versa, if you want to hit your triceps – make the grip narrower.
- Keep your torso tilted forward throughout the entire approach to engage the pectoral muscles more.
- Descend to the point where you feel a slight stretch in your chest before returning to the upper position.
- To keep more tension on your pecs, don’t pause at the lower point.
Narrow grip pull-up
Position your hands slightly less than shoulder width apart. Raise your body to the point where you feel your biceps fully contracted, while focusing on achieving activation of your broadest muscles to a minimum. Lower to a point where your elbows remain slightly bent to maintain tension in your biceps.
You can use the following variations:
- pronated grip (using a regular bar)
- neutral grip (as on the picture, palms face each other)
- supinated grip (palms face you), sometimes called as a reverse grip
Tricep dips on bars
To get pectoral muscle activation to a minimum and increase triceps activation, make sure your torso stays upright throughout the entire approach. Lower yourself to a point where your shoulders are parallel to the floor.