HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Pull-Ups

How To: Pull-Ups


Pull-ups are a functional exercise and in my opinion are the best back exercise for upper back mass.
If you can’t perform weighted pull-ups perform bodyweight pull-ups, if you can’t perform body-weight pull-ups perform assisted pull-ups or simply jump up and grab the bar while focusing on the negative portion of each repetition.

The only way to get better at pull-ups is to do them! Don’t skip pull-ups simply because you find them a struggle (I recall repping out sets of weighted dips with a 45lb plate before I could even perform 1 proper form wide grip pull-up, so don’t get discouraged!).

Movement: Compound

Targets: Back & Biceps

Required: Pull-Up Bar

Optional: Weight Belt

Pull-Ups Form:

With Arms fully extended and slightly wider than shoulder-width grasp your pull-up bar and assume a dead hang position.

Tilt your head to look slightly upward and maintain a small arch in your back, this will create the slight angle you'll maintain in your torso for the duration of the set.

Drive your arms down and back, pulling through your lats until your chin clears the bar.

Slowly lower yourself back down to the dead hang starting position.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions with this full range of motion.

See also
How To: Foam Roll Calves

Pull-Up Variations

Towel Pull-Ups

Instead of gripping directly onto your pull-up bar opt to hold onto either end of a towel, draping it over your pull-up bar.
The towel pull-up is harder than it looks and is fantastic for developing both grip and core strength as well as smashing the lats.


Form wise the chin-up is the same as the pull-up however you'll be utilizing an underhand, closer grip - placing greater emphasis on the biceps.

Neutral Grip Chin-Ups

Form wise the chin-up is the same as the pull-up however you'll be utilizing a neutral hammer style grip (palms facing inward).
Additional emphasis is placed on the biceps and forearms.

Weighted Pull-Ups

Easily hitting sets of 10 or above with your regular pull-ups? Time to increase the resistance! Use either a dip belt with a weight plate or lock a dumbbell between your legs.

Common Pull-Up Mistakes

In order to add size and increase back strength we need to be using our back when we’re performing pull-ups.

By default most guys attempt to pull through their arms (especially when lifting heavy) as opposed to their lats… this results in a bicep pump and a half assed back workout.

Using correct form and ensuring you’re activating the right muscles requires conscious effort without a doubt.

See also
How To: Flat Barbell Bench Press

At the beginner of each set I ensure I lean back and have a slight arch in my back to ensure I’ll be driving through my lats to pull myself up to the bar.
Sitting completely upright or hunching forward is a sure-fire way to set yourself up to struggle the weight through your arms.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Lat Pulldown
  • Chin-Ups
  • Bent Over Rows

Any Questions Regarding The Pull-Up? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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