Pull Ups: Workouts & Variations

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Pull Ups are an essential and fundamental element of any strength program.

A pull-up is a compound exercise for the upper body. A classic pull-up is dependent upon strength of the upper body with strict form ie. no swinging of the legs.


A classic pull-up starts by hanging from a bar keeping the grip shoulder width apart and your arms straight. You then engage your upper body to pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. To end the exercise, you lower yourself down till your arms are straightened and you are back in the starting position.


Muscles Engaged

Pull-ups mostly engage the muscles of the arms and upper back. The upper back or Lats are used to pull yourself up while pulling your upper arms downward. Biceps are engaged to bend the elbows helping to pull the body upward. Triceps are also used to push the elbows towards the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are engaged to prevent the body from arching and maintaining a straight line between the shoulders and the knees.


  • If you’re just beginning and you’re not able to successfully execute a pull up you can start with the Australian Pull Up using every possible grip i.e. Supinated, Pronated, Medium, Wide, Inverted, Switch.



● L-Sit Pull Ups. (legs at 90 degrees while you pull up) in order to engage all your core.



● Waist Pull-ups. Once you are able to perform 10 pull ups with strict form(touching your chest to the bar) you shall start with the waist pull ups. If you are able to excavate 10 reps out of the normal pull ups and 10-L Sit pull ups, consider you already  made it.



Tips for Success

  • Make sure you are holding the bar slightly wider than your shoulders. Your hands will be facing away from you.
  • Now pull yourself up using just your back muscles and biceps.
  • Isolation with a mind and muscle connection is very important while doing a pull up or you will only feel the pump in your arms.
  • Once you are up, pause for a beat (1/2 to 1 second).
  • Let yourself descend in a controlled manner.


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