Paleo Fitness: The Benefits of Primal Pulls

By Kellyann Petrucci, Melissa Joulwan, Patrick Flynn, Adriana Harlan

The Paleo lifestyle is all about health and balance, A push without a pull is as wrong as eggs without bacon. But because most people are after the “mirror muscles” — the pecs, the biceps, and the shoulders — they do way too much pushing and almost forget about pulling. In fact, most people are so unbalanced, they would benefit from performing twice, or even three times, as many pulls as they do pushes!

Balancing out with pulls

Overemphasizing pushing and neglecting pulling eventually lead to some unwelcome imbalances, not to mention a weak back and poor posture. After you dive into the primal fitness programs, you’ll see that almost every push is balanced out with some sort of pull — either immediately or not too long after.

Sure, it’d be impossible to ever get the body perfectly balanced. But you should use exercise to correct imbalances, never to exaggerate them.

The easiest way to pair your pushes and pulls is to match the horizontal pushes with the horizontal pulls and the vertical pushes with the vertical pulls. For example, you can pair sets of push-ups with rows and sets of military presses with pull-ups. Get into the habit of practicing pulls with all your pushes!

Recognizing the many benefits of pulling

Although nothing on it classifies it as a “mirror muscle,” a strong, muscular back is sure to grab the gaze of onlookers at the beach. A muscly posterior makes for a very aesthetically pleasing physique and a functional one, too!

Strengthening the musculature of the back — particularly the musculature that surrounds and supports the spine — improves your posture and invariably wards off back problems later in life. Pulling naturally balances out the shoulders as well and helps to protect them from injuries brought on from imbalances.

And, yes, pulling makes you strong, too — very strong. Everyone (both male and female) should be able to pull his or her own body weight up to a bar for multiple repetitions.