Exercise Equipment — 03 May 2012
Home Gym Equipment

Welcome to the home gym equipment section of fitness facts. We aim to offer you impartial and accurate advice, based on the experiences of professionals and long term gym attendees. This section offers advice and tips on what to buy and how to use your home gym equipment effectively and correctly.

When you are choosing your potential home gym equipment, do be sure to take into account all of the dimensions of the apparatus to ensure you do not cramp your home. All too often deceiving pictures illustrating the “convenient space” of the equipment can later be met with the realisation that it is not convenient at all.

If you are struggling to decide on what home gym equipment to buy, then we can help by breaking it down for you by the following (listed in the order you should work the muscle groups together):

Biceps & Back: Pull up bars, adjustable dumbbells or a barbell (more flexibility with dumbbells)
Chest and Triceps: adjustable dumbbells and a barbell (pushing  and fly type exercises)
Exercise bike, rowing machine, adjustable dumbbells and a barbell
Abs: Exercise bike, rowing machine, pull up bar

Pull Up Bars

So you’ve though about doing chin ups with a pull up bar? Have you considered how to execute the perfect pull up? If you’re already thinking “hey, I know my bicep and lat compound or isolation exercises,” then click here (link coming soon) if you’d like us to stop boring you and you can purchase one of the many pull up bars on the market today. Be sure to ensure you measure your door frame if you are buying the hanging type of pull up bars which interlock with you door frame.

When choosing a pull up bar, it’s always wise to consider the variation of chin up that you’d like to execute. If you are buying the internal to the door frame type, you will only be able to use this for close grip pull ups (in order to work your back and your biceps). This is referring to the apparatus that fits and stretches to only within the doorframe. There are other products available which still fit within the doorframe, however they also have handles that fit outside of the door frame in order for you to widen your grip to work the latimus dorsi when doing a pull up.

Perfect Pull Ups

What is the perfect pull up? Now you’re asking the right question before you buy your pull up bar. Just what is and how do you execute a perfect chin up? There are many ways to commence this exercise and it wholly depends on what your goals are.

So, what is the perfect pull up? This depends entirely on your goal. If you are looking to build muscle mass and strength with your pull up bar, the slower and fuller (i.e. maximum arm extension) with a low rep range is the technique for you. If you wish to build upper body strength and stamina, more speed within your rep and a high rep range is the answer. Remember, your rests between sets are crucial. The longer you rest with the slower and fuller low rep ranges helps, perhaps approximately 30 seconds. If you’re looking for stamina, the higher rep ranges should have around 15 – 20 seconds repetition rest to maintain intensity of your workout. This also applies to weight loss goals.

Muscles that Pull Ups Work

What muscles do pull ups work? Most folk think it’s solely a bicep workout, which it is certainly not. An accurately executed chin up will work the following muscle groups:

  • Latimus Dorsi (“lats”)
  • Biceps
  • Upper Back
  • Forearms

The Latimus Dorsi muscles are primarily worked at their most effective when your palms are facing away from you when executing a pull up. By widening your grip, you are in fact concentrating on this muscle group more than the biceps. Your biceps are effectively worked via a chin up when your palms are facing towards you, around shoulder width apart. This is more effective for muscle growth of the bicep. Do bear in mind that a fuller looking bicep cannot be achieved via this workout alone. To ensure you biceps are worked effectively additional to a pull up, why not try to “super set” your chin ups with another bicep routine?

Super Set Pull Ups

A super set is where you combine two workouts into one set of reps. For instance you would execute one set of chin ups, one set of bicep curls and then commit to a rest before your next set. As mentioned, a chin up alone will not fully develop your bicep effectively. Perhaps look to incorporate your pull up with some hammer curls, or seated preacher curls. This is the most effective way to both burn calories (replace with supplements for building or utilise in conjunction with weight loss) and develop lean mass.

Ab Exercises with a Pull Up Bar

Believe it or not, this is a great way to work your lower abdominal muscles. In order to do this efficiently, you need to hang on the pull up bar with your legs dangling. With your legs straightened and taught, raise your legs to around 45 degrees from being parallel to your waist. Simply pull your legs up towards your chest and you will feel the effort required by your lower abdominal muscles to achieve this workout. It is good to superset this with a declined bench crunch for maximum results.

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