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Pull-Ups vs. Chin-Ups and the Importance of Push-Ups by Ruben Belliard

Commemorate Veterans Day With Chin-Ups and Push-Ups

Today is Veterans Day and to commemorate the day I thought we should cover where the fitness world and the military collide and that's the ever-popular boot camp. I talked recently with vet Ruben Belliard, co owner of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp in NYC. A former Marine (but I think Ruben would say once a Marine always a Marine), Ruben met his business partner Alex Fell at basic training, and now these two train for triathlons together. Both have seen action overseas but now spend their days helping us civies get our sweat on.

When I think military workout, I think pull-ups. Ruben clarified for me something you might already know: the difference between a chin-up and pull-up is not how high you go, but the grip. With a pull-up, your palms face away from you and this grip means you're relying on your back muscles to pull you up to the bar. The palms-facing-in grip of the chin-up means the biceps and the pecs can assist you in your upward motion. According to Ruben regardless of your grip, if you want to pull your head up toward a bar you need to strengthen your muscles by doing assisted pull-ups first. He suggests using the assisted pull-up machines (our fave way to tackle this move at the gym), superbands (a big rubber band that helps you up), or a friend to push your legs from below while you pull with all your might.

To learn why push-ups are important, keep on reading.
Push-ups are a staple of most workout programs, and I wanted to know why we should learn to love this basic calisthenics move. Ruben laid it out straight: push-ups are a full body exercise and they will make you stronger. He especially likes that this move uses your own body weight for strength training so you can do them anywhere. When I asked how does this dreaded move help me in my everyday life? Ruben says that push-ups help you stop a fall. "You're going to be strong enough to catch your body weight." If you're heading to the mountain to learn snowboarding, start doing push-ups now. Snowboarding is a lot about falling the first couple of days and strong arms will help get you up and out of the snow should you happen to face plant.

Image Source: Getty
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toughcookienyc toughcookienyc 5 years
It's one of my goals to be able to do a full pull-up! I have an old shoulder injury, which complicates things somewhat, but it feels good each time I knock a little weight off the assisted pull-up machine. Push-ups are a big part of my routine, but as a martial artist who loves winter sports, I would offer one word of advice-- don't go to the push-up position in a fall. It can be really hard on your wrists, even with wrist guards. If you fall forward, try to get to plank position (forearms) and turn your head to the side to keep from face-planting!
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