Pull Pattern Posted on November 05, 2013, 0 Comments

Another one of the seven primal patterns, pulling movements are often neglected or underdeveloped compared to their sister pattern, pushing movements. This is often because people don’t have vision for what they can’t see. When you “see” a tree, you don’t really see the whole tree. You don’t see its roots. You don’t see the other side of the trunk or the top of the canopy. Yet the tree could never be fully developed without them. So just because you can’t see the muscles of your posterior chain does not mean you should ignore them. You are more than just your mirror muscles. In fact, it is the predominance of anterior chain movements in triathlon which make pulling proficiency so important for triathletes to maintain postural balance along with orthopedic health.

NOTE: Anytime you do unilateral (i.e. single arm) Pull or Push Patterns, you are creating a rotational force and, thus, mobilizing the spine. This not only helps nourish the spine by pumping the spinal discs with the fluids essential for health, it’s also specific to the movement patterns involved in triathlon.

First Descent—Braced
Second Descent—Seated or lying
Third Descent—Seated or lying on fixed-axis machine

EXAMPLE EXERCISES

Low Row
1. Standing with Good Posture and holding a bar with a supinated grip, shoulder width apart, pull hands toward body so sides of wrists finish at rib cage as the bar touches the torso near the level of the sternum.
2. Return to start position and repeat.

Unilateral Row
1. Standing with Good Posture and holding a handle with a pronated grip, pull hand toward body, supinating the hand so the wrist finishes at the side of the rib cage at approximately the level of the sternum.
2. Return to start position and repeat.

High Row
1. Standing with Good Posture and holding two handles (or a bar if necessary) with a pronated grip, a bit wider than shoulder width apart, pull hands toward body while keeping the elbows high and the forearms in the same plane as the angle of pull. Wrists should remain neutral (i.e. not flexed) and finish movement at approximately shoulder level.
2. Return to start position and repeat.

High Row with Rotation
1. Stand with Good Posture, holding two handles with a supinated grip, shoulder width apart. Initiate movement by rotating torso to the non-dominant side. Simultaneously pull handle held by non-dominant hand toward body while keeping the elbow high and the forearm in the same plane as the angle of pull. Wrists should remain neutral and finish the movement at approximately shoulder level.
2. Return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Suspended Row
1. Maintain Good Posture while leaning back at the appropriate angle (difficulty increases as angle steepens) and holding the handles of a suspension system with a pronated grip, shoulder width apart.
2. Pull body toward handles while maintaining high elbows and forearms in the same plane as the angle of pull which should perpendicular to the body. Wrists should remain neutral and finish at approximately shoulder level.
3. Return to start position and repeat.

Pull Ups/Chin Ups
1. Stand with Good Posture while grasping a Pull Up Bar above the head. Grip should be swim width apart and pronated for a Pull UP or shoulder width apart and supinated for a Chin Up.
2. Pull body towards hands until chin passes over the bar. Legs should not swing forward at any time during the movement.
3. Return to start position and repeat.

Overhand Pull Down
1. Kneeling or seated with Good Posture holding two handles or a bar with a pronated grip, swim-width apart, pull hands toward body until handles go below chin level but not below the clavicle.
2. Return to start position and repeat.

Cable Pulls
1. Stand in a counter stance with Good Posture while holding a handle with the non-dominant hand and a pronated grip. The other arm should be pulled back so the wrist is at approximately shoulder level with the elbow high and the forearm parallel to the angle of the other arm.
2. Pull hand toward body while simultaneously rotating along the axis of the spine to the non-dominant side. Hands should switch places so that the non-dominant side is now at shoulder level with a high elbow and the other arm is outstretched in front of the body with the palm facing down.
3. Return to start position and continue for the designated number of reps before repeating on the opposite side.