How to Do a Pull-Up: Everything You Need to Know

A pull-in is one of the most challenging bodyweight movements — but once you achieve it, it ’ south fabulously rewarding .
I can distinctly remember the first time I attempted to perform a pull-in many years ago …
It looked dim-witted enough. No biggie, right ?
But ampere soon as I gave it a go, I was quickly humbled. I could scantily lift myself ! That moment was the catalyst for my following goal : conquering the bodyweight pull-up. And when I finally did it ? The sense of pride and skill was mind-blowing.

And you can do it besides !
In this article, I ’ ll give you bit-by-bit instructions on how to do a pull-up. You ’ ll besides learn :

  • How to avoid common pull-up errors.
  • How to effectively build strength and train for your first pull-up.
  • Three pull-up variations you can use to make things easier (including an assisted pull-up option).

Plus, I ’ ll teach you four ways to strengthen your pull-in and take your train to the following level once you ’ ve mastered the basic motion .

How to Do a Proper Pull-Up

To complete a fully pull-up, you have to lift your body up from a dead hang position to bring your chin above the pull-in stripe. Pull-ups use an overhand handle on the bar, as opposed to the underhandedly fascinate of chin-ups .
The pull-up is a column in many running intensity education programs because it ’ s an effective means to improve your overall pluck exponent, develop your amphetamine body, and strengthen your back muscles. It ’ s a closed-chain campaign that targets several muscle groups, including your latissimus dorsi, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps, triceps, forearms, and kernel .
On average, women have 50–60 percentage of the upper body strength of men, chiefly due to men having more upper berth torso muscle than women. As such, many women will find it more challenge to perform a pull-in in comparison…
… but that should never be a discouraging factor. 
If anything, look at it as added motivation to be able to complete them .
For many women, chin-ups are frequently easier than pull-ups. Check out these 6 quick tips for improving your chin-ups .

Step-by-Step Guide to Doing a Pull-Up

fix to try a pull-in ? Watch the video below to see how the drift should look, and then follow these steps .

  • Stand on a block or a bench just below the bar.
  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip (wrists pronated, with palms facing away from you) with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Allow your feet to come off the block/bench and gently let your body hang. In this dead hang position, your arms should be fully extended.
  • Engage your core and find full-body tension by squeezing your glutes and flexing your quads.
  • To initiate the pull, depress your lats (imagine pulling your shoulder blades down and into your back pockets) and then start pulling upward to bring your chin over the bar.
  • Complete the pull by squeezing your lats together.
  • Slowly extend your arms to return to a full hang position while maintaining full-body tension.

Common Pull-Up Problems

Using the proper pull-up form helps to prevent injury and encourages muscle recruitment. While that sounds bare adequate, there are some park mistakes women frequently make while doing pull-ups .
The good newsworthiness ? The following four errors can be corrected easily. And actively working to avoid them will ensure ultimate efficiency when you perform your pull-in .

Error #1: Eye Position

If you look at the bar during the motion, you will actually move your body further away from the banish, making the apparent motion more difficult .
Correction: Aim to maintain a neutral neck position throughout the integral motion by keeping your gaze directly in battlefront of you, rather than on the browning automatic rifle. Think of holding an orange between your chin and chest of drawers .

Error #2: Lack of Lat Engagement

When it comes to initiating the pull, miss of latissimus dorsi engagement is a coarse issue that can affect your form and ability to complete the pull-up movement .
Correction: Before beginning your attract, think about setting your lats down and back. This will allow for better latissimus dorsi recruitment and less biceps pulling .

Error #3: Lack of Full-Body Tension

When in the midst of our pull-in, it can be easy to focus strictly on pulling our bodies up — and forget to maintain full-body tension. This can leave us less able to complete the motion .
Correction: Focus on generating and maintaining full-body tension during your pull-in. Keep your core engaged and imagine spreading tension from your glutes down to your toes. This will help you not lone complete the rep but besides get stronger .

Error #4: Lack of Strength and Elbow Drive

A miss of lastingness and elbow drive at the peak of our extract can lead many of us to shrug our shoulders to get our kuki means up and over the banish. When we shrug up, we are over-recruiting our traps and under-recruiting our lats .
Correction: alternatively, think squeezing your elbows together and maintaining a long neck position .

How to Get Strong Enough to Do a Pull-Up

Most women need to train before they can get their first pull-in. It requires solid upper consistency military capability, and it ’ s a drift that doesn ’ thymine get a long ton of cross-training in our normal daily lives !
several exercises will help build the foundational forte you need. And don ’ triiodothyronine forget about them once you become firm adequate to complete a pull-in — incorporating these movements into your long-run educate plan will help you continue to improve your lastingness, fitness tied, and efficiency .

6 Exercises to Train Your First Pull-Up

Use the be exercises to build your persuasiveness and homework for your first pull-up. complete 3–4 sets of 8–10 reps each .

Hollow Hold

  • Lie on your back and contract your abs while pressing your lumbar spine (lower back) into the floor.
  • Slowly raise your head, arms, and legs off the ground.

once you ’ ra touch comfortable with the hole hold, you can progress to hollow rocks by rocking your body back and forth while maintaining the hollow accommodate stead. The angle of your shoulders and hips should not change or be used for momentum .

Hollow Hangs

  • Hang with straight arms from the pull-up bar with an overhand grip.
  • Pull your body into the same hollow position you did on the ground with hollow rockers and hold for 10–30 seconds.
  • Maintain tension throughout your body, from your shoulders to your feet.

Scapular Pull-Ups

  • Follow the cues above to find your hollow hang position.
  • While holding the hollow hang, draw your shoulder blades down and back.

This is an excellent means to learn how to initiate a pull-in with your lats, and it will strengthen the infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, and latissimus dorsi muscles while besides teaching you to stay tight at the start of your draw.

Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Hold

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell in front of you, its handle perpendicular to your body. Grab the kettlebell with one hand, and either clean it or curl it to a bottoms-up position.
  • With the bottom of the kettlebell facing upward, begin with a single-arm bottoms-up hold.
  • To prevent the kettlebell from falling, engage your core, activate your lat, and maintain full-body tension.

This exercise will help increase your fascinate forte, kernel military capability, and shoulder stability. When you ’ re ready, you can progress to a bottoms-up operating expense crusade .

Learn how to get started — and reap massive benefits — with bottoms-up kettlebell discipline .

Inverted Rows

  • Lying in a supinated position, grab the rings (you can also do this with a TRX).
  • Engage your core, flex your quads, and squeeze your glutes. Row to bring your body toward the rings so that your body is parallel to the ground.
  • Extend your arms to return to your starting position.

In the video, I demonstrate the invert course with my feet elevated on a box and my leg straight. To regress this practice, remove the box or bench and keep your heels anchored to the shock and your legs straight .
If the anatropous rowing is still besides challenging to perform with straight legs, modify the motion by bending your knees until you can pull your own bodyweight safely .

Slow Negative Pull-Ups

  • Start in a flexed hang position, holding yourself up with your chin above the bar.
  • Slowly allow your body to descend until you reach a hollow hang position. The key here is controlling the drop.

damaging pull-ups are big bodyweight exercises that give you the opportunity to work the full range of motion while gaining strength .

3 Variations to Make Pull-Ups Easier

If you ’ ve been training the first six exercises but are still not quite able to get your first base pull-up, three variations can help ( and take you beyond the pull-up machine ). While these pull-up “ relatives ” are slenderly easier than the full apparent motion, they will inactive give you a major challenge when it comes to your grip and upper consistency intensity .

Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

In a neutral handle pull-in, your palms will be facing each other and your fascinate will be narrower. This allows for more biceps recruitment and less song on your delts, and typically results in an easy bowel movement .


As I mentioned before, the main deviation between the pull-up and the pull-up is the fascinate. For the pull-up, you ’ ll practice an underarm bag where your palms are facing you. equitable as you would for the pull-in, engage your lats, pull your body up, and squeeze your elbows in concert to bring your chin astir and over the bar .

Band-Assisted Pull-Ups

To do this assisted pull-in, attach a resistor band to the legal profession. Place one foot inside the band, and grab the bar in a pronate grapple with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Extend your leg, pressing into the isthmus, and bring your chin over the barroom. Maintain full-body tension to prevent your legs from swinging. Allow your body to descend until your arms are in full extended .
You can progress this movement by increasing your reps and decreasing the electric resistance of the band .

4 Exercises to Improve Your Pull-Ups

once you ’ ve managed to perform a arrant pull-in, there are four playfulness movements you can incorporate into your educate. These will help improve your pull-up quality, increase the number of reps you can do, and get you even stronger !

Towel Hangs & Towel Pull-Ups

Depending on your predilection, you can use the towel in a hole, flexed hang put, or you can begin doing towel pull-ups ( check out the video show below ). Both are capital aid drills to improve grip strength .
Want to mix it up even more ? You can besides do these movements with ropes .

Heavy Deadlifts

Deadlifts are my answer to everything ! They are one of the ultimate strength-building exercises, and you can add heavy deadlifts to your training program to improve your latissimus dorsi recruitment, build clasp military capability, and develop your core stability ( plus, you ‘ll feel like a badass ). Deadlifts are besides versatile — you can perform them with barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells, to name a few .

Thumbless Pull-Ups

While it sounds elementary, removing your flick from your handle will give you a new-found admiration for your grip and respect for the drift ! This one is tough but fun, and it ’ s great homework study if you ’ re looking into rock-climbing .

Weighted Pull-Ups

once you can comfortably perform pull-ups with your own bodyweight, start adding burden to give yourself an flush bigger challenge .
Are you an advance booster ? Learn how to take your pull-ups to the adjacent level with these 10 advanced variations.

Ready to Pull-Up?

Getting your first pull-up may feel like a fortune of work, but I encourage you to enjoy the process !
Take time to focus on coach and stay consistent. I promise you ’ ll be rewarded with a huge sense of accomplishment. Being able to achieve something we might not have thought possible ahead is one of the best feelings in the universe .
The goal ? Finding intensity in our bodies and our movement. And of course, having playfulness with it !

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