You can really get ripped by doing pull-ups.
Pull-ups are a great way to build strength in your upper body and tone your muscles. The key is to do variations on the traditional pull-up. You can change your grip or add weights to your waist or ankles. If you're just looking to build muscles in your arms, back and shoulders, then you can use a pull-up bar to get all kinds of ripped. Although the best way to maximize the effects of pull-ups is to incorporate them into a more comprehensive upper body routine.
The Traditonal Pull-up
The traditional pull-up is one of the best ways to use your own body's weight as resistance. Pull-ups adopt an overhand grip on the bar whereas chin-ups have an underhand grip. The standard pull-up works first the muscles of the back, the latissimus dorsi, and then the shoulder deltoid muscles, followed by the core muscles of the abdomen and chest. Start by gripping a high bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Next, hang from the bar allowing all of your bodyweight to form the resistance. Then you lift your body until your chin is over the bar. Avoid jerking your body up to the bar, even though some gyms such as Crossfit prefer this method. Without proper guidance, you can cause an injury by jerking toward the bar. Once you clear the bar, slowly extend your arms and lower your body back down to the hanging position.
One Arm Pull-ups
The one arm pull-up is a challenging exercise for novice and expert weightlifters alike. You are maximizing the resistance of your own bodyweight by using just one side of your body to raise your chin above the bar. If you don't take this exercise slowly, you might encounter elbow tendinitis, or swelling of the tendons near the elbow. Grip a low bar with an overhand grip and slowly lower your body down into full extension. Then, try to lift your body up using just one hand, keeping your arm as close to the body as possible. If it's too difficult, then grip your lifting forearm with your opposite hand to add stability and strength. You might not be able to start with one arm pull-ups, but progressing steadily toward the goal of performing one will certainly get the muscles of your arms, shoulders and back ripped.
Close the Grip and Get Ripped
Close grip pull-ups are a great way to add variation to your workout routine. If you're burned out on doing biceps curls but still want to get great form and tone on your upper arms, then try close grip pull-ups instead. Start by adopting an overhand grip on the pull-up bar that is roughly 6 inches apart, near the center of your body. Start with your arms fully extended with your full bodyweight under the bar. Then, lift your body up toward the bar by flexing the latissimus muscles in your back and rear deltoids of the shoulder. Transfer the weight to your arms by bending at the elbow until your chin clears the bar. This simulates the same action on the biceps muscle as a hammer curl, working the outer part of the biceps and the outer muscle fibers of the forearm.
Add Resistance with Weighted Pull-ups
Pull-ups are a great bodyweight exercise but the toning benefits of this exercise don't just stop there. You can add a weighted vest or belt to the routine for added resistance. Some people even use a dumbbell or Smith plate held between their ankles, but holding the weight might take away some of your focus and concentration. To prevent peaking with your pull-up exercises, just opt for the weighted belt. Add more weights as you progress, so that the exercise is never too easy. You can start your routine with a single set of weighted pull-ups or increase the overall amount of resistance by scaling the weight from high to low throughout your entire pull-up routine.