Pulls ups are challenging, and doing incorrect pull ups make them even more challenging. Today, we will help you to master your form and help you achieve your goals of performing multiple pull ups.
Let's jump right in.
A strong core is needed to help with the swaying of your body that often accompanies pull ups. Keeping your core tight helps to stay in a straight path up and down from the bar so there are no wasted movements. Another body part to help with the stability of the body when performing pull ups are your scapula (shoulder blades). These help to keep the upper body, specifically the shoulders in a strong position, which will help with the body swaying. When we are hanging on the bar ready to perform our pull ups, scapula retraction will in turn, bring our shoulders and chest up. Once your upper body is set in this position, and your core is tight, you are in position to start pulling yourself to the bar.
Let's take a step back.
Placing our hands slightly wider than our shoulders helps to engage our latissimus dorsi muscles in our back, which is a huge player of performing pull ups. We already talked about keeping our core tight and engaged throughout the movement, but it doesn’t end at our hips. We need to keep our legs straight, and tight starting at our calves, flexing our toes down to the ground, flexing our quads to keep our legs straight and flexing our glutes to help keep our legs in unison with what our upper body is doing. So to break it down, keeping our entire body straight and tightened will translate over to a more efficient pull.
By thinking of pulling the bar down to the floor, we will stay strong throughout the entire movement, ensuring that our posture stays straight through the full range of motion. As we are pulling the bar down to the floor, we want to also be thinking of squeezing our hands (which are gripped on the bar and stationary) together. By actively trying to squeeze our hands in together, our chest will begin to activate as we try to bring our chest up to the bar, not to mention, it will help keep our wrists, forearms, elbows and upper arm tracked in line with one another.
One last thing with the pull up, like I mentioned above…
Meaning, we need to open up our chest as we are pulling ourselves up to the bar. By engaging our latissimus dorsi muscles, keeping our scapula retracted, and actively trying to pull our hands together at just beyond shoulder width apart, our chest should naturally open up, and achieve thoracic (or chest cavity) extension, making our pull ups even easier to accomplish.
Hopefully this guideline to becoming an expert in pull ups helped, and next time you do a pull up, think about these as you are setting yourself up to perform the lift!
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association
Training & Experience:
Erik has been around sports and training his entire life. He was a collegiate quarterback and then followed his playing career by becoming a college football coach. Erik has a decade and a half of Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback coaching experience at the college level. In addition to his football coaching duties, Erik also served as a Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.
Erik’s training focus works from the middle out. Everything starts with the core and the mind. This focus is realized through a whole-part-whole approach where the entirety of an exercise is explained, then broken into parts to be learned, and then culminating with the execution of the entire exercise.
Education: BS in Comprehensive Biology; University of Nebraska – Kearney, MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Strength and Conditioning; University of East London
Training & Experience: Tara made the journey from Lincoln, Nebraska to join Team Speed. She has spent her life involved in sports such as volleyball, basketball, soccer and track and field. After being named one of the Athletes of the Year in Nebraska in high school, she took her competitive spirit and skills as a volleyball player to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She earned top conference honors all 4 years and All-American status twice through hard work, leadership and pure love of the sport. A career in volleyball continued across the pond in London where she pursued a master’s degree. Her professional volleyball career was cut short due to injury and she is now motivated to help fellow athletes achieve their sports performance goals.
Focus: Tara is driven to use her experience to help athletes in all sports to reach maximum potential and stand out against competition. She is devoted to challenging individuals to make physical and mental improvements that will positively impact life beyond sports. Let’s get to work!
Education: BS in Business Administration and Marketing; American International College
Certifications: NASM (PES)
Training & Experience: Born and raised right here in Colorado. I went to Arapahoe High School where I played Football, Lacrosse, Wrestling, and Rugby. I received a scholarship to play Division 1 Rugby out on the East Coast at American International College. All four years of school, I was all conference, and as a team we finished Top 10 in the nation consistently. After I graduated, I moved to New Zealand to take my game to the next level. Played Division 1 club Rugby until I got an opportunity to play professionally back here in the States. I earned a contract with the MLR (Major League Rugby) team, Rugby ATL, in Atlanta before COVID-19 shut things down.
I have been coaching an elite rugby academy based out of Colorado that competes with the top teams in North America since 2016. I also joined the coaching staff at Regis High School and recently won a state championship. I started as an intern here at Sterling's Team Speed and worked to become a full time performance coach.
Focus: To bring my personal experience and knowledge to take any athlete to the next level. I really enjoy seeing athletes be confident and change their beliefs about what they're capable of.
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Sterling’s Team Speed is committed to offering state-of-the-art training learned by continuing education while always keeping the heart of our training based upon tried and true best practices.
Education: Southeastern Louisiana University
Certifications: AAAI/ISMA Personal Training, Continuing education with NASM, ACE, AFAA, ISSA, NSCA, and ACSM, Voted Highlands Ranch 2009 Best Trainer, Continuing Education Training hours: over 100+ a year.
Training & Experience: Recognized as the South Metro Area foremost authority in Sport Performance and Youth Athletic Development, Sterling Joseph provides an innovative approach to sport-specific training that has elevated performance in many of the South Metro Area's finest athletes, including those that have gone on to participate in the Olympics, compete in college, win state titles and achieve personal bests.
Training all ages and levels, Sterling gains results for those individuals serious about their personal fitness while helping them achieve their goals. Sterling is known for being truly invested in his clients. He works with kids to not only better their performance but also their lives. Sterling builds confidence in his clients and their ability to compete!
Sterling has vast experience in assisting with athletic rehab in conjunction with the athlete’s doctor and physical therapist. He is particularly experienced in helping return to play following ACL surgery.
Focus: Emphasizing functional training, using multi-joint movements, innovative exercises, and exercise related to sport or lifestyle is important in improving performance. I like being innovative in selecting and varying exercises in order to keep things challenging and exciting for my clients. Sterling’s favorite quote: It’s training time!
Education: BS in Fitness & Exercise Science; Metropolitan State College of Denver, MS in Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine; Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Training & Experience: Kira is a true Colorado trainer! Kira took her experience as a personal trainer since 2009 to become the Wellness Coordinator for Vail Resorts, sitting on the committee that developed their Fit to Ride program. Additionally, Kira’s previous experience a licensed acupuncturist specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries gives her greater insight into the body to help you achieve your own training goals more effectively.
Focus: Kira primarily focuses on training adults to help them function to their own best potential. Utilizing Functional Movement analysis, Kira is able to help identify “weak links” in the body and improve performance, while decreasing the risk of future injury. Kira’s warm spirit helps her clients know that she is truly there to be a partner in their training and help them meet their goals.
Education: BS in Sports Administration; University of Cincinnati
Training & Experience: Born and raised in the Highlands Ranch area, Matt joins Sterling’s Team Speed staff as a highly energized, committed, and results-oriented personal trainer/coach. Matt has trained under Sterling’s direction since he was 13 years old. Over these 10+ years with Sterling, Matt has been exposed to and benefited from a wide variety of techniques, tools and knowledge that he incorporates in his trainings today. As a youngster, Matt grew up playing many sports; but, excelled at the highest level in club baseball and soccer. His ultimate passion is soccer which resulted in a powerful and successful soccer career, and ultimately expertise in soccer training. Matt played his youth soccer with an elite local club and continued his NCAA Division I soccer as a ‘Bearcat’ at the University of Cincinnati.
Focus: As a high caliber soccer player and overall strong, conditioned athlete, Matt focuses not only on developing an athlete physically, but mentally as well. Matt also believes in making an impact in the athlete’s life inside and outside the gym in their everyday lives. He recognizes that fitness is the key to a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle. Matt refers to one specific quote spoken by the great N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano that drives him through life and makes him the successful person, trainer and coach that he is today: “Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.” – Jimmy V.
Education: BS in Human Performance and Exercise Science; Youngstown State University
Training & Experience: Joe came to us all the way from Youngstown Ohio, with a lot of experience in sports performance training for athletes of different ages and abilities. Joe previously worked as a strength and speed coach in Columbus, OH training young athletes as well as collegiate athletes with backgrounds in various sports.He grew up participating in wrestling, baseball, football, and basketball. Eventually, Joe chose to direct all of his focus and dedication toward wrestling.
Focus: Joe plans to use his knowledge and experience in sports performance to provide athletes with the tools necessary to reach their full athletic potential. According to Joe, the most satisfying thing, as a coach, is to see the development of each athlete and how progress leads to achieving goals.
Education: BS in Sport and Exercise Science
Certifications:AED/First aid/CPR certified, ASEP (American Sports Education Program), working on CPT
Training & Experience: I was born in Oklahoma city, OK, and moved to Longmont, CO when I was 3. I am 22 years old, and I graduated from UNC in Greeley, CO with a BS in Sports and Exercise Science. Throughout my life I have played many sports, the two I played the most were soccer and baseball. Other sports I played were basketball, football, fencing, swimming, and rugby. In college, I participated in dodgeball, flag football, and softball intramurals, I enjoy staying active and also having a chill day at home watching shows. I'm very passionate about fitness and will always willingly talk about how to increase strength and muscle mass.
Focus: Strength, Power, Hypertrophy and Speed
Education: Kellogg Community College, Olivet College
Certification: NASM CPT, PES
Training & Experience: Although being a Michigan native, Mike has found a new home at Team Speed. He has extensive knowledge in a plethora of physical activities, his favorites are Volleyball, Soccer, and Baseball.
Mike was a standout outfielder as well as center-back defenseman for his High School soccer team. Both baseball and soccer teams were represented multiple times at the Regional tournament level. Football, and strength and conditioning are also areas Mike is well versed in. In college Mike was able to play Men’s Soccer for Kellogg Community College as well as Men’s Volleyball for Olivet College. He still plays volleyball, actively pursues PR’s, and dabbles in Jiu-Jitsu.
Focus: Mike is passionate about making you better at whatever your craft is. He brings high energy and unique training methods to each session.
Education: BS in Kinesiology and Exercise Science; Michigan State University
Training & Experience: Jake was born in Mission Viejo, California and moved to the Detroit, Michigan area where he lived most of his life and began his career in the Sports Performance industry. Jake worked in sports performance in Michigan from 2016 to 2020 when he moved to Colorado and found a new home here at Sterling’s Team Speed. Jake is a detailed and results oriented coach who has worked with athletes of all sports and all ages in high school and youth athletics. He has also trained AAA up to professional hockey players as well as AAU, college, and professional basketball players. As an athlete, Jake grew up playing basketball, baseball, and was on a state championship level football team in high school. After suffering an injury that ended his playing career, Jake found his passion for sports performance and injury prevention.
Focus: Jake loves working with all athletes and loves seeing the improvements and developments made with consistent training and hard work. Jake’s favorite sport to work with (and play) is basketball. Jake’s focus in training is speed/agility technique, power, strength, balance. Jake has also worked with many post-rehab athletes to get them ready to return to the sport they love and feel confident on the field/court even after injury.
My name is Bentley and I am the mascot at Sterling's Team Speed. My Dad is Sterling and we are co-owners of Sterling's Team Speed. I regularly train at Sterling's Team Speed by walking the floor and playing ball. I am extremely proficient with soccer balls, as I am the goalie of Sterling's Team Speed's team. In addition to playing ball I do strength training to keep myself fit. I welcome everyone into the Sterling's Team Speed facility and appreciate being acknowledged and pet. I do take naps on the treadmill or in my Dad's office, as he trains me hard and I need to get my rest. I'm proud to say that I've been nominated several times for Athlete of the Month. I look forward to meeting you at Sterling's Team Speed!
Education: B.S. in Exercise Science
Certifications: First Aid/CPR/AED, CFSC Level 1
Training & Experience: Jerry was born and raised in Rochester, New York where, from a very young age, he grew to love exercise and movement. Jerry and his grandfather spent a lot of time together watching soccer and boxing, so naturally, he played soccer, boxed, and also ran track. In high school, Jerry began weight training. He experienced a rotator cuff injury in 2014 that inspired him to study exercise science and help him fully understand how the body works and how to prevent injury. After receiving his B.S. from UB, Jerry entered the sports performance industry where he worked with athletes of all ages and skill levels, ranging from grades 1-12 as well as collegiate and professional athletes. Jerry also has experience with general fitness members, ages 20-65+. One thing that never changes is his dedication to preventing injury and helping people perform at their optimal level in all areas of fitness and life.
"...What a disgrace it is for a person to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which their body is capable." -Socrates
Focus: Jerry prides himself on providing results in a safe and effective manner, all while preventing injury and building meaningful relationships with his clients.
Education:BS in Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism, Colorado State University
Certifications: RYT 200, CE 26 Poses of Hot Yoga, Reiki Level 1 & 2, CPR/First Aid, Child Abuse
After being raised and living in Fort Collins, Colorado, Sam made the move to Denver in 2018. Sam first joined us in 2018 to assist with client services before returning to us in 2020 to manage our marketing and design. Growing up, Sam spent a lot of time exploring different sports. She started out in gymnastics and moved on to become a competitive cheerleader for 8 years. Once she started school at Colorado State University, she discovered yoga and got her 200 RYT certification through Yoga Alliance in 2015. Not only is Sam our yoga expert, but she is also well-traveled having been to 25 countries on 5 continents. Some of her favorites include Morocco, Peru, Japan, the Bahamas, and British Columbia.
Education: BS in Community Health-Strength and Conditioning from Louisiana State University of Shreveport
Training and Experience: Micah spent most of his life in Northwest Louisiana, where he received his degree in Community Health-Strength and Conditioning from Louisiana State University of Shreveport
Focus: Micah enjoys challenging and educating athletes so they can achieve their goals and become better people.
Education: BS in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Iowa State University.
Training and Experience: Scott has been around sports and coaching his whole life, playing college baseball as a center fielder for Aurora University before transferring to Iowa State.
Focus: He has a coaching background that he gained when going to school in Ames, IA where he was a speed and agility/strength coach for youth through high school aged athletes. He has a passion for developing young athletes in attaining their dreams of becoming an accomplished athlete.
Education: BS in Exercise Science (In Progress)
Born and raised outside in a farm town outside of Chicago, Dave made his way to Colorado just over 5 years ago. Dave has been involved in physical activities his whole life, mainly soccer before moving out West. Once he settled into Colorado life, quickly picked Mountain Biking, Paddleboarding, and Triathlon sports to name a few.
Dave was a standout goalie through college before injuries caught up to him. Now Dave plays indoor soccer whenever he hears the call and dabbles in Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu.
Focus: His main focus now is building strength for youth athletes, helping them gain a competitive advantage both mentally and physically.
Education: BS in Exercise Physiology
Experience: A Colorado native, Berlyn brings to Team Speed 9 years of coaching experience with 8-18 year olds. She grew up playing softball as a first and third baseman, as well as hockey as a goalie and defensive player through her college years. Berlyn has also previously worked with the USA Head Olympic Physician to assist with rehabbing injured athletes.
Focus: To work with athletes on improving the mental part of the game as well as physical. With great attention to detail, Berlyn believes that the things you learn in the gym will pertain to everyday life. Discipline and focus are key points in improving one’s athletic ability.
Education: BS in Physical Education from Waldorf University
Experience: I am originally from Olympia, Washington. During my time in college, I pitched for Waldorf University Baseball (Iowa) and earned my degree in Physical Education. Afterward, my studies took me into the field of strength and conditioning, where I earned my NSCA CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist). My experience also includes teaching large classes and involvement in applying high-level training programs to enhance on-field performance.
Focus: My training focus is not only to make sure athletes are fully prepared for game day but to educate athletes on the importance of off-the-field activities regarding recovery as well as mental fortitude.
Education: BS in Exercise Science, MS in Sports Performance
Experience: A Maryland native, Daquan has participated in many sports, his favorites being football, basketball, baseball, and Track & Field.
Daquan was a captain and MVP for his high school football team. In college Daquan was able to play football at Salisbury University. Upon graduating with a B.S. in exercise science, Daquan completed several internships where he worked with college, NFL, and MLB athletes.
Focus: Daquan’s training focus is to implement well thought out training programs driven by evidence-based principles and practices designed to develop player talents and reduce injury rates. Daquan is passionate about optimizing the performance of all athletes in every sport.