Refreshers never hurt anyone, right? For anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm a huge-BEYOND HUGE- fan of pull-ups. Since I'm also a fan of BW progressions beyond simplistic increases in repetitions, I don't regularly grab a normal pull-up bar. There's always a twist to make the pull-up harder.
Most often, that twist is a towel.
Regular readers also know that I use towels when doing pull-ups a lot too. In a way, using towels with pull-ups put my blog on a lot of people's radar. In the past 18 months, I've picked up a lot of new readers so I figured it wouldn't hurt to go over what to do with towels when executing pull-ups.
For most of the towel pull-up crew, the standard method of doing them looks something like what Ross Enemait's doing here:
Always a great way to get things started. I had a slightly different approach. Instead, I decided to use one towel and go with a close grip. I can't imagine why nobody ever thought to add a supination of the wrist into towel pull-ups but I had never heard of anyone doing it before me:
Three years fly by! I did this video around the time the Perfect Pull-up hit the market. By this point, I had been doing this pull-up regularly for a year and while I knew that the PP was a good idea, I thought it was madness to pay that much money to get that extra movement. A towel does the job well enough. These also lend themselves very well to added weight too!
The towel-pull-up relationship doesn't end there...
A while back, I started playing with what I ended up dubbing ladder pull ups. I saw the idea from Ross Enemait's book, "Never Gymless". It's presented as a progression towards the one arm pull up and it's bad-ass as hell!
Of course, you need to work both sides. A year ago, I used to do a ton of these, supersetting with one-arm push-ups. It's a brutal combination!
The fun doesn't stop there. There is the most basic way to take the towel and make the pull-up way harder: just wrap it around the bar. Simple, just not easy. This is my favorite pull up lately and I typically like to thicken my bar up to 3-3.5 inches thick.
Oh, if you're also looking at a way to make chin-ups harder than pull-ups, doing them on a 3+ inch-thick bar is actually harder than doing a pull-up!
That's the beauty of the pull-up: progressing with it is literally as simple as a modification of the grip. Just something that simple completely changes the level of difficulty, often times dropping the total reps by half! There are all kinds of ornate pull-up bars out there in McFitness centers, doing nothing more than pulling towel-hanger duty. Little does anyone realize that a whole other dimension of pulling and chinning up to a bar is waiting for them to try out. Don't make the same mistake.