Pull-ups for health, physical function and survivalSaturday 28 April 2018
As a chiropractor in Jersey I receive health and fitness articles from many sources. This month the article that particularly caught my attention was sent by a highly skilled Aikido and System instructor, Matt Hill. Matt Hill uses principles from martial arts to promote health and wellbeing; physical and mental. In his article and YouTube video, Matt explains the importance for health, physical function and survival skills of being able to hang and pull your body weight up by the arms in a vertical pull. In other words, a pull-up.
Rather than paraphrase Matt Hill's article, I have reproduced it below with the link to the YouTube video. I would especially urge anyone with chronic shoulder or thoracic problems to read the article and follow the video.
"You can think of it as the fifth pillar of Systema. In my experience it is the one that most people struggle with.
In the video I cover the key reasons why being able to hang and then lift your body weight by the arms in a vertical pull is important for your health, physical function and survival skills. I then break it into 3 simple steps for those who struggle with it.
An overlooked component of the pull up is the passive or dead hang. Health wise the ability to do this is a crucial for the health of your shoulders and back.
So many people suffer with back and shoulder problems. In many cases they don't have to. With a gentle and progressive programme to reset and strengthen the area chronic shoulder problems can be fixed naturally.
The passive hang strengthens the ligaments and tendons by hanging the bodyweight with minimal muscle engagement. This alleviates the compression problems caused by bad posture and resets the structure of the whole area.
Many shoulder problems can be fixed by regular passive hangs. If you have shoulder injuries, you should of course always use your judgement, go gradually and slowly and breathe out as you load the shoulders. Load the shoulders gradually as per the video. Don't just jump or drop into a hang. If in doubt, check with your Doctor first.
For your physical function it is all about balance. Balance of strength, mobility and range. The four pillars of Systema check your ability to move your body smoothly and in control through its range of motion. Are you injured, too stiff or do you lack the strength and control to be able to do it?
The vertical pull is one of the key ranges. I have read that 9 out of 10 adults in the western world cannot lift their body weight. My experience bears this out.
This is not as Bear Grylls as it sounds. Imagine being in a burning building and you have to jump and pull yourself out of a window. Or falling into a river and you have to pull yourself out of a shear sided bank.
The ability to pull yourself to safety is a natural survival skill and there is no reason why it shouldn't be available to you right to the end.
In the video I go through three simple steps to developing the ability to do a pull-up:
1. Passive hang
2. Passive to active hang
3. Assisted to full Pull up.
I hope that you find it useful and if you have any questions please feel free to post on the video or email me.
Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our chiropractors Cardin or Charles, at Orchard Chiropractic Centre, Jersey.