Most people nowadays visit gyms and fitness centers to improve their looks rather than improve their health.  With advancement in our lifestyle, we tend to overcomplicate things and detract from our goals.  One does not really need to perform complex moves to get benefits. The same holds true for exercise routines, as well. Easy moves like pull-ups have proven to be equally beneficial for muscle building if performed correctly with proper guidance.

Gym instructors often tend to provide complicated workout schedules and routines that might discourage you. Pull-ups are easy to follow and yet provide an intense workout. Most of the time, you can do pull-ups at home with very basic equipment, for example, pull-up bars.

Pull-ups target the upper portion of the body, especially the posterior muscle groups. You can strengthen your back muscles by performing pull-up bar routines. For advanced training, however, you may need to visit the gym or contact a fitness trainer.

Correct Pull-Up Form

For beginners, pull-ups might seem challenging. Most people cannot even imagine performing a couple of pull-ups in a row. Although, with proper starting position, grip and technique, pull-ups can be performed, easily.


The proper form of performing pull-ups starts with accurate starting position. Place both the palms on the bar a little wider than your shoulder-width with fully stretched arms. Try pulling up your whole body until your chin reaches the top of the bar. If necessary, you can cross your legs (one on top of the other) to maintain stability. Then begin lowering your body until your arms are straight again. Now you may do a set of 3-5 pull-ups, in a row.

Benefits of Pull-ups

The number of fitness benefits pull-ups bring is worth the physical exhaustion. Firstly, they develop endurance. As you know, body stamina is built up over time, and pull-ups surely boost this process. To get maximum benefit and improve your stamina rapidly, you can latch weights onto your feet or waist.

Pull-up is also one of the easiest ways to shape up your upper body, whether you want to lose weight or just get into shape. As it burns off fat from the upper part of your body, this exercise is worth giving a regular trial. It builds up muscles by reducing excess fat from your back, shoulders, and abs, which makes it an essential part of any workout, especially if you wish to acquire a six-pack ab. It is also a useful move to build an ideal “Rear V-Taper“.

Merely building muscles are ineffective, without any muscle-toning workout. Pull up bar alone, assists you in building muscles and toning them as well. Again, it is very important for you to have a strong grip, especially, if you are an athlete, professional bodybuilder, or a sportsperson.

If you are looking for a suitable exercise to strengthen your grip, then pull-ups are the way to go. Pull-ups primarily target your shoulders, and other large muscles of your upper body. Pull-ups have also proven to be extremely beneficial for your back.

Types of Pull-Ups

Pull-up is a versatile movement in any exercise routine. It has several variations that target different muscle groups.

  • Basic/Standard Pull-Up
  • Chin-ups
  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups
  • Close-Grip Pull-Ups
  • Neutral Grip & Commando Pull-Ups
  • Australian Pull-Ups
  • Behind the Neck Pull-Ups
  • Dead Hang Pull-Ups
  • Kipping Pull-Ups
  • Plyo Pull-Ups
  • Archer Pull-Ups
  • The One Arm Pull-Ups, Etc.

You can choose the width of your grips on the pull-up bar while performing pull-ups, depending on your target and ease.

In a Traditional Pull-Up, both your hands are positioned in such a way that the grips are marginally extended than the width of the shoulder. This overhand wider grip positioning primarily uses the strength of your back muscles compared to narrow grip pull-ups.


Chin up is actually a variation of the traditional pull-up movement. This term is specifically used when an individual has to perform a pull-up to such a height that his/her chin would be placed above the bar. A chin up works the biceps brachii, the triceps, the latissimus dorsi, Lower trapezius, Pectoralis major, Infraspinatus, etc. This results in an extended muscle formation on both the front and rear shoulder area.

Chin-up vs. Traditional Pull-Up

Chin-Ups are easier to perform compared to pull-ups, mostly due to the underhand vs. overhand aspect. They are performed using a closer grip, which puts the entire emphasis on biceps and shoulders.

  • Close-Grip Pull-Ups are easier, as smaller the width of your grip, the easier the pull-ups become.
  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups are relatively harder to perform as it takes away the strength of the biceps and arms. If you were emphasizing on building latissimus muscles, wide-grip pull-ups would be more appropriate.
  • Neutral Grip pull-up involves two pull-up bars. The exercise involves both grips placed parallel to one another.
  • You can turn the neutral grip move into a Commando Pull-Up by standing and holding the single bar perpendicular to your position. You pull yourself alternatively on each side of the bar.
  • The One-Arm Pull-Up is predominantly expressed as the BOSS of all pull-ups. It involves only one hand instead of two. This move is strictly forbidden for rookies as it can damage the shoulder and ligaments of arm muscles, when performed with poor technique. It requires regular practice to master the skill for performing one-arm pull-up without any flaw.

How to Get Better At Pull-Ups

Pull-up in general is a hard move for beginners. While other weightlifting moves allow you to start from any comfortable weight, pull-up compels you to carry and lift your entire body weight. Though it may seem impossible at first, however, with proper guidance and right technique, improving your pull-up skills is within your grasp.

Pull-up bands may be used for offsetting your partial body weight during the initial phase of pull-ups. Using bands helps in improving the level of strength and endurance. Gradually, you will obtain the optimum strength to perform pull-ups without any assistance. Maintaining proper grip and width is important. A proper breathing rhythm is also vital to improve your pull-ups. Take a deep breath at the starting position and hold your breath after you pull yourself. Slowly exhale once you come back to the initial position. Remember to maintain the same breathing sequence each time you do pull-ups.

Pull-up Bar Exercise Routines

There are several movements that need nothing but a pull-up bar and slight modification of basic pull-ups. Some of the very common moves which you can do with pull-up bars are standard pull-ups and chin-ups, Climber pull-ups, Gironda sternum chin-ups, Negative pull-ups, Band-assisted chin-ups, Windscreen wipers, Bat-wing chin-ups, Hanging leg raises, Reverse shoulder shrugs, etc.

If you are new in the practical field of exercise, you may begin with a band-assisted or negative chin-ups and pull-ups. You will also require regular practice with proper technique. With a gradual increase in the number of sets, eventually you will be performing pull-ups as easily as you carry out squats or push-ups.

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