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Move of the Week with Jana McDermid: The Assisted Pull-Up


It’s that time again… time for your favourite personal trainer and diva of demonstration Jana McDermid to teach you another Move of the Week! Each week, Jana teaches you the proper form for an important exercise. To book a session with Jana or any of our other personal trainers, call our Pickering location or fill out our online form.

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises to help you develop some serious back muscles. This exercise will lead to impressive biceps as well!

Unlike with other machines at the gym, using a higher weight will actually make this one easier. If this assisted weight was set exactly at your body weight it wouldn’t take any effort, and if it was set to zero you would be doing an unassisted pull-up. Begin by choosing a weight that is close to your body weight, but a little less. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, put the pin on 135 pounds for your first set.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Stand on the side platforms, and hold onto the handles. Lift one knee, and place it on the padded knee rest. Hold tightly onto the handles as you place your other knee onto the knee rest and be prepared to hold yourself up (with the assistance of the counterweight).
  • Keep your abs engaged, spine neutral, and shoulders pressed down and back.
  • Pull yourself up as far as possible, making sure to keep your abs engaged and your shoulders pressed down and back. Slowly release down until your arms are almost straight.
  • Repeat 10-15 times. When getting off of the machine, be sure to pull yourself all the way to the top first. Keeping your arms engaged, slowly lift one knee and lower it to the side platform, then the other.

Always avoid locking your elbows and allowing your shoulders to pop up. Extending your arms completely creates a dead weight that is difficult to pull yourself up and out of.

If you’d like to work with Jana, or any of our other expert personal trainers or kinesiologistscall your club or fill out our online form and we’ll get you set up asap!