Foundational Movement Series: PULL

Posted by Jane Diack on

This week we explore the second foundational movement in the series, the Pull.

People perform numerous pulling activities during the day whether it be opening doors, getting objects off shelves or moving objects throughout the day.

The primary muscles involved in pulling motion are the Lats, Trapezius, Biceps, Forearms in the Upper Body and the Abdominals, Obliques and Hamstrings.

When looking at the comparison of pushing versus pulling daily activities, people tend to  push much more frequently during the day than they pull.This tends to create muscle imbalance and postural issues.

When performing upper body pulling motions with your client it is important they have good stabilization of the core musculature. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

Watch for the head to push forward during movement due to poor upper body posture and rounded shoulders. You should be able to draw a straight line from the ear down to the shoulder and then down to the hip.

Watch for one or both shoulders to move too far forward as they pull their elbows back. This is commonly due to tight pectoral muscles, weak mid-back muscles and/or the posterior shoulder capsule having restrictions which causes the shoulder mechanics to be altered.

Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to stabilize appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take 1-2 sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Split Stance Straight Arm Pull Down:



In split stance position, push bells up and down. Repeat sequence.


Keep a Good Upright Posture/Don’t Rock Body Shoulder Blades Squeezed/Chest Up

Keep Core/Buttocks Tight

Pull Bells Straight Past Hips with Elbows Straight

Possible Compensations:

Crouched Posture

Decreased Stabilization

Shoulder Elevation

Increased Elbow Flexion



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