Pull-ups are probably the best back exercise - period! Primary muscles used are the lats, with biceps, forearms shoulders and even a little bit of the chest involved as well.
There's this great debate on some forums as to whether the pull-up handles on the Powertec P-PR Power Rack are ergonomically correct:
You can see what I use the existing handles for.
After researching this, I'm finding that the bar and the angle of your grip are very important.
You should use a straight bar and not a bar that is angled at the ends. Just because the bar is bent on the ends does not mean you should grab it there. Too wide of a grip increases stress on the fragile shoulder joint and also limits range of motion of the lat muscles.
Your grip on the bar should be only 6 to 8 inches wider than your shoulders. The wider the grip the less overload the lat muscles will get.
After reading the above paragraphs, I'm now wondering if doing pull-ups and pull downs with a wide grip because of an angled bar was the reason for my strained rotator cuff injury and not the bench-press like I thought.
I thought, with a few modifications, I could make a straight bar homemade pullup bar out of pipe that would fit on my Powertec P-PR Power Rack.
Here's what I came up with:
Assembly is pretty straight forward, just follow the layout in this photo:
Tighten all connections as tight as you can, this assembly is supporting your weight.
You may have to adjust the angles of the 45 degree fittings so that the assembly is supported by the cross beam of the power rack.
Once you try this out you'll notice that the 45degree fittings cut into the plastic grips on the existing pull-up handles. You may want to add some padding so this won't happen:
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