T Nation

Assisted Pull-up Machines


today i began to impliment Tim Henriques " Programs for the Pull Up Deficent," dated 10/26/10 and i was glad to see I only sort of sucked i could do 2 actual pull- ups. Anyway i have a theory about excersise in general. I believe that any excersise that takes your spine out of its natural alignment sucks and is dangerous.

I thought of this as i watched some poor sap use the pull up assist apparatus- his spine resemble a question mark, and his chest would become concave at the apex of his lift. I wanted to scream " dude do some jump pull ups with me," but heh gyms across the land have these machines so people think they are good.

Am i right about the spine - it is dangerous to not have it in its natural aligment during excersise?
thank you


Do you really think it's dangerous to have your spine in a weird position during an exercise like assisted pullups, where the load on the spine is less than when you're sitting in a chair?


I dunno.


Good point, Kakno.

I can only imaging a lateral twisting may be an issue where traction is applied. Then again, perhaps not since the spine is bearing a minus load.


assisted pull-ups are great tool to help you building your pullups numbers and developing your back.

hit it without fear.


No, stop over thinking things. More effort, less worrying.


This. But not overboard. If you feel that something is wrong with your form, often the spine can play a role. However, like Arnold's situation(and possibly this gentleman's), if you just "know" that everything is working properly, spine management can become a bit of a distraction.


I disagree with your thesis. The spine has joints that are designed to move just like your other ones. In fact, bending the back helps stabilize the spine in some situations.

That said, the assisted pullup machine sucks. Use pulldowns or negative chins instead.


This, too. Negative chins are really goo, just focus on fixing the hips, pulling with the elbows, and pulling the chest up/out


"I believe that any excersise that takes your spine out of its natural alignment sucks and is dangerous."

On what grounds? flabbergasted

Meaning that bending forward and taking it like a man is dangerous.


Well, all I have to go on is experience, sooo.....
I couldn't do that many pull ups without help,
I used the assisted pull-up machine for about a month, twice a week.
My workout told me to do 50 total, I would do 25 open and 25 close grip

At first I couldn't do 25, I had to take it in 10 or 5 at a time. After a month I was doing 25 at a time
and lowering the counterweight to 70 lbs.

I decided to try them without help and surprisingly did all 25 in a row by my self. I took a short break and then did the other 25.

So from personal experience, I may not ever use it again, but it definitely did its job and now I can do pull-ups on my own and my spine hasn't ever had any problem and I never felt like it was out of it's normal position...

Is it dislocated when you do pull-ups naturally?

If not, I would see no harm in using the machine which would be practically identical to someone holding your legs.


or band assisted pullups if you have them. they are dead sexy


you beat me. I love ending my pullups with band assisted pullups. Although lately i've been doing lat rows. I'm gonna get back to the bands


I'm leaving this picture here.
I do not care who doesn't like it.


Rack pull-ups FTW.


Emergency rooms are filled wit people who " threw," their spine out while picking up a pen from the floor. Anyways bad spinal alignement disrupts breathing, not to mention nerve impulse from brain to weight bar ( or in this case pull up bar)


I was thinking more along the lines of biomechanics, too. One is supposed to pull their chest to the bar, while retracting your scapula- i prefer the jump pull ( jump up, complete pull up, lower down,then back up)


Right on brother. I refuse to use the assited pull up machine, though i prefer the jump pull. I am trying to for one set of 25 by halloween, working to 4 sets of 25 around New Years. Currently i can so one set of 25 in four or five sets in under 4 minutes.


these people also have weak musculature in their back due to either atrophy or previous injury.