The ability to pull your body to the bar (repeatedly) proves that you’re a man who can truly pull his own weight — not someone who just dabbles in fitness. Let elite fitness trainer John Romaniello explain what you should be doing on the way up.

1. Squeeze your shoulder blades together

Most guys ignore their shoulders when they perform pull-ups. “That’s a mistake,” says Romaniello. “If you don’t pull your shoulder blades back and down, you won’t engage your stabiliser muscles, and that increases your risk of injury.” Squeezing your shoulder blades together also better engages your lats, which are the primary targets of the exercise.

2. Tighten up

While you’re on the way up, flex and tighten up your glutes and hamstrings. The two muscle groups are the most important players in the powerful “posterior chain” of muscles which run along the back side of your body. “If your core and posterior chain are stable, you’ll sway less, preventing energy leaks and boosting your pulling power,” says Romaniello.

3. Lift yourself higher

True, you won’t want to expend too much energy trying to lift yourself higher during the IPPT. Still, aim to let your chest touch the bar during your training sessions. Doing this increases the range of motion of the exercise, engaging more of the muscles that surround your shoulder blade, says Romaniello. (Which means you’re that much closer to building that V-shaped torso.) Hit the mark more often by imagining you’re pulling the bar to your chest instead of your chest to the bar.

4. Return to dead hang

“People use momentum from the last rep to propel themselves back up,” says Romaniello. While the PTI on duty may let you off the hook, you’d want to build up your IPPT gold-potential during your workout sessions. So, lower yourself until your arms are completely straight, and hang like that for 2secs before starting your next rep. This increases the difficulty of the move – and its muscle-building potential.