Monday, September 23, 2013

How to do Pull Ups

The mighty Pull  Up!! Everyone has at least once tried to do one pull up, even if it is jumping, kipping, and with horrible form! But not everybody knows how to do a correct pull up, and most of the time it is just because they started doing pull ups before having the strength and preparation to do it.

What I am going to suggest you is a progression towards your first proper pull up, so you can then focus on adding reps or progress to a harder variation, because there is no way you can do a one arm pull up if you can't do one proper pull up.

How fun are Pull Ups, and they make you a Beast!!


First, a few technique keys, that I want to quote from Mark of Mark's Daily Apple:

How to Do the Basic Pullup/Chinup

  1. Begin from a dead hang: arms fully extended, hands about shoulder width apart (palms facing out for pullups, facing you for chinups), elbows straight, chest up, shoulders back and tight, eyes trained on the bar above.
  2. Pull yourself up toward the bar, leading with the chest and keeping your eyes focused on the bar. Drive your elbows toward the floor.
  3. Clear the bar with your chin.
  4. Lower yourself in a controlled fashion, then repeat the process.

Things to Remember

  1. Stay honest when you clear the bar. Don’t lift your chin and strain your neck just so you can say you cleared it. You run the risk of pinching a nerve and cutting off muscular power.
  2. Keep your body neutral. Don’t swing with your hips to generate momentum on a strict pullup or chinup.
  3. Keep those shoulder blades tight/retracted. Pulling with a loose shoulder girdle can lead to rotator cuff problems.
  4. Chinups work the biceps more and are slightly easier than pullups, which work the back more.

Read more:


Mark is here describing the technique on chin ups and pull ups, but remember you can do them with any grip you want, like a neutral grip (palms facing each other), on rings (where you can rotate your wrists freely) or hanging from towels.

I recommend you to them on rings, suspension trainers or anything that allows you to rotate your arms freely, as this avoids the stress that straight bars put on your wrists, elbows and shoulders, which can lead to an injury over the long term, specially if you do them frequently.

If you don't have any of these (not even handles hanging from chains), my next advise if to do them from towels, which will strengthen your grip more than anything, or with a neutral grip.


Start with the first step, and once you can do the exercise, for the required amount of reps, with good technique and you get the hang of the movement, progress to the next step. (PU = Pull Up)
  1. Australian Pull Ups x 20 reps
  2. Top PU Hold x 30 seconds
  3. Negative PU 5 seconds x 5 reps
  4. Negative PU with pause at the Top, Middle and Bottom x 5 reps
  5. Negative PU with pause at the Top, 3/4, Middle, 1/4 and Bottom x 5 reps
  6. Top Quarter PU x 5 reps
  7. Top Half PU x 5 reps
  8. 3/4 PU x 5 reps
  9. Full Pull Ups x 10 reps
Here's the video:

Beyond Pull Ups

Once doing 10 Pull Ups in a row is easy for you, and you can feel the movement and the muscles, try other Pull Ups Variations. Some of them are:
  • Weighted Pull Ups
  • Baseball Grip Pull Ups
  • One Hand Pull Ups
  • Pull Ups going towards one hand
  • Archer Pull Ups
  • Muscle Ups
  • One Arm Pull Ups
Or you can use your imagination and be creative.

I hope this article was useful to you. You can ask me anything on the comments, or on my Facebook page.

Go Pull yourself Up!!


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