While the old adage might say “thou shalt never skip leg day,” it’s fair to say that a lot of guys still do, choosing instead to focus on their upper bodies. But those upper body workout routines often typically comprise bicep curls, bench presses and tricep pulldowns: classic, proven moves that will bring you the muscles you seek.
49-year old, father of 5 and former world ranked pro duathlete Paul Sklar has other ideas, however, and reminds us to never skip pull-up day, in his latest video posted to Instagram.
Pull-ups can be likened to leg workouts, in so much as nobody really wants to do them, yet they know how effective they can be. Being able to perform competent pull-ups is a sign of genuine upper body strength, making them a move you really should be adding to your workout routines as much as possible.
You don’t necessarily have to start off aiming for high numbers of reps, far from it. The pull-up, despite how simple it sounds, can actually be a tricky exercise to perform right – fortunately, Paul himself has previously provided a perfect explanation to getting the most from your pull-ups – so if you only manage to complete 4 or 5 reps on your first try, it gives you a great starting point from which to progress.
As for Paul, he’s clearly never skipped pull-up day judging by his performance in his Instagram video, completing a section of the Rugged Maniac obstacle course in Massachusetts, USA: a three-mile obstacle course with over 25 obstacles to get past. Finding himself hanging onto some floating poles, Paul finds himself having to hold himself up, rather than allowing his bodyweight to hang, to guide himself across the bars. Holding himself in this position will put tremendous strain on his shoulders and upper back, the main areas worked when performing pull-ups.
He explains in a separate video that, if you’re using a weights machine that includes a pull-up bar or handle attachments, you don’t always need to use the wide-grip, despite its numerous benefits. Instead, he adds, “Mix it up a bit and try something new so you don’t get stale.”