Pull-Up exercises



The basic pull up is a very simple exercise with many variations. You begin by gripping a horizontal bar above head height with both hands, let yourself hang suspended with your arms at full extension, pull yourself up vertically so your chin is level with the bar and then lower yourself so your elbows are straight without touching the floor with your feet. You can let your legs hang down or bend your knees and cross your lower legs behind your body.


Correct breathing is very important during pull-ups: inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.


In general, you should move through the entire movement in a somewhat slow and controlled motion and avoid swinging or relaxing your muscles too much during the hanging position.


1. Basic Pull-Up Variations

2. Pull-Ups for Beginners

3. Advanced Pull-Up Variations





Grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body (overhand grip), spaced slightly wider than shoulder width apart. When ready, pull yourself up using strength from your arms and your back until your chin clears the bar. Pause for a second at the top. Slowly and with controlled motion, lower yourself back down until your arms are straight.


Grip the bar with your palms facing towards you (underhand grip) and pull yourself up. This grip places more stress on the biceps, helping build bigger, stronger arms.



The wide grip pull-up is just a different variation of the basic pull up. Grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body, spaced as wide out as you can get them and pull yourself up. Placing your hands wider on the bar puts more emphasis on your upper back, paying special attention to your lats.



In this variation your hands should be as close as possible to one another on the bar. It is a variation for both pull-ups and chin-ups. If you do your chin-ups like that it will focus more on your biceps and if you do your pull-ups like that it will focus more on your forearms.

PULL-UPS for beginners

If you are not strong enough to do one full pull up yet, there are several ways that can be used to build the strength necessary to execute the movement.

A. Progression exercises

There are four main progression exercises that can help you build up the required strength.

1.Dead hang

Hang from the bar with arms extended. Simply, grip the bar and lift your feet off of the ground by bending your knees. It is a good way to start developing the strength required for your first pull up.

2. Flex Hang

Hold yourself at the ‘finish’ position of a pull-up with your chin over the bar. Use a box or adjust the pull-up bar height to get in position and then simply try to stay up.

3. Negative Pull-Ups

Perform only the lowering phase of a pull-up. Again, use a box or adjust the pull-up bar height to get your chin over the bar and then slowly lower yourself all the way down.

4. Half Pull-Ups

Stand on a box or adjust the pull-up bar height allowing your elbows to bend as you grip the bar and then pull yourself up.Starting the exercise from this position requires less strength than starting with fully extended elbows. As you build strength you can straighten your elbows for a more difficult pull up.

B. Assisted Pull-Ups

In addition to the progression exercises you may find very useful the assisted pull-up exercises.

1. Band assisted Pull-Ups

Hook a band around the pull-up bar, and then loop the opposite end of the band under your shoes or your knees. Pull yourself up.

2. Human Assistance

Similar to the band method mentioned above, you could just have a friend supply the “assistance” by putting his hands under your feet or knees.



Adding external weight to pull-ups is an obvious way of increasing the intensity of the exercise.


There are two primary ways to add external weight to a pull-up:


a. Use a weight belt and hook weight plates to it, or


b. Use a weighted vest.


Think about adding weight to your pull-ups once you are you are able to do sets of more than 15 repetitions.



Perform rear pull-ups in the same basic manner as you do a standard pull-up, but dip your head under the bar so it touches the back of your neck instead of your chin. The main purpose of the rear pull-up is variety, as it doesn't specifically target different muscles than the front pull-up. Performing the rear pull-up may cause shoulder injury, neck pain or shoulder impingement.



Stand under the bar facing down the length of the bar, grasp it and pull yourself up so that the bar and your hands are next to your head. Then lower down and pull up on the other side.


4. ONE ARM (assisted) PULL-UP

Grasp the bar with only one hand and pull yourself up. An easier variation is the Assisted one Arm Pull-Up: during the exercise, you hold the wrist of the lifting arm with the other arm.



Hang from the bar and raise your legs up to 90 degrees so they are parallel to the ground and your body forms an L. Hold your legs in this position and perform a full chin-up/pull-up.



Wrap two towels over a Pull-Up Bar, spaced about shoulder-width apart, and grab both ends of each towel with one hand. Raise yourself slowly as performing a typical Pull-Up.





*   Always talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.