Whether you can crank out a dozen strict pullups in a row or are working to get over the bar for the first time, you can do this pullup variation from celebrity trainer Don Saladino, NASM, and it will make you stronger.
Called a “negative” or “eccentric” pullup, you’re focusing on the downward part of the exercise—the part that you probably don’t think of when you envision a pullup. You’ll get your chest up to the bar, and then ever-so-slowly lower yourself down, maintaining control and total-body tension as you do. Just like regular pullups, you’ll work your lats, core, and arms. But instead of focusing on pulling with those muscles, making them shorten, negatives hammer them as they lengthen under tension.
After all, your muscles are strongest as they move eccentrically, which makes negatives great for guys of all experience levels. You’ll also be able to handle more reps than would be possible with traditional pullups, allowing you to rack up volume for greater hypertrophic benefits.
Still, negatives can be challenging and will make your muscles quake. You’ll spend an exceptional amount of time with your muscles under tension. The more slowly you lower with each rep, the greater the challenge. You may also notice extra post-exercise soreness with this variation, since eccentric contractions are a main driver behind DOMS.
Try them out:
- Set up by standing under a pullup bar and on top of a sturdy box. When you grab the bar (with an overhand, shoulder-width grip), you want your upper arms to be parallel with the floor.
- Brace your core, tuck your tailbone, and squeeze your glutes to assume a strong standing plank position.
- Bring your chest up to the bar—jump, use a step, whatever works for you. At the top, your elbows should be down by your sides.
- Pause at the top.
- Still owning that position, slowly straighten your arms to lower yourself down to return to start.
Want to try out more exercises and workouts from Saladino? Check out his Men’s Health Superhero Shred program, which is designed with the same principles he uses to get his star clients in shape. You can also find Saladino’s program, alongside a ton of other fitness content, on our new All Out Studio streaming app.