Boost Your Strength Gains With These Advanced Pull-Up Variations

Pull-ups are not the easiest exercise to do, but they pay off in a big way. A pull-up needs you to use your upper body strength to lift your own body weight until your chin or chest is at the level of the bar. The exercise does the body a lot of good.

Pull-ups work the muscles of the chest, abdomen, and upper back. They also make the joints in the wrists, shoulders, and elbows stronger. If you are looking for an exercise that will work out your entire torso and whip those muscles into shape, read on.

You can learn about some variations of the pull-up that will make your workout more interesting and also more effective.


Types Of Grips And What They Are Used For

How you grip the bar affects how easily you do a pull-up. There are three ways that you can grip the bar as you do your pull-ups.

Let us start with the overhand grip, where you simply grip the bar with your palms facing away from you. This grip effectively targets the lower trapezius and latissimus dorsi.

The underhand grip is one where you grip the bar with your palms facing you. It is easier to do pull-ups (also known as chin-ups when using an underhand grip) with the underhand grip. The underhand grip activates your biceps more. With the neutral grip, your palms face each other. The neutral grip is kind of in between the overhand and underhand grip in terms of muscles that are activated.

You should choose the grip that effectively targets the specific areas that more most important to you.


The Perfect Classic Pull-Up In A Few Steps

Exercise is more effective when you do it in the correct form or posture. Here is how to do a pull-up that will work all the muscles of your upper body.

  1. Stand under the bar and grip it with your palms facing away from you. Your hands should be directly above each shoulder.
  2. While gripping the bar, fold your legs so that you are hanging from the bar. Keep your body from swinging and stay still.
  3. Pull yourself up until your chin or chest reaches the bar. Remember to keep your body still and straight with each pull-up.
  4. Slowly lower yourself back down, while keeping your body still and straight. Repeat the exercise until you complete your set.


Variations Of The Classic Pull-Up

1) The wide grip and narrow grip pull-ups

With the classic pull-up, the distance between the hands is shoulder-width apart. To do a wide grip pull-up, grip the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and then pull yourself up. A wide grip pull-up targets the lat muscles in your back.

To do a narrow grip pull-up, pull yourself up with your hands close together. This exercise will target the chest, arms, and shoulders.


2) The dead hang pull-up

Pull yourself up just like you would with a classic pull-up. Lower yourself slowly until your arms are fully extended, and hang there for a while, like a bat. Now pull yourself up again until your chin or chest reaches the bar.

Dead hang pull-ups force you to lift dead weight with each rep, which makes your muscles work even harder than they would with a classic pull-up. One thing about the dead hang pull-up though is that it releases the tension in your muscles where a regular pull-up aims to maintain tension all throughout the set.


3) The commando pull-up

To do this exercise, you need to turn and face in the same direction as the bar. Grip the bar with one hand in front of the other and the palms facing each other. Next, pull yourself up and move your head to one side of the bar. Slowly let yourself back down.

With each rep, pull yourself to a different side of the bar, and remember to keep the body straight and completely still.


4) The Australian pull-up

For this exercise, you need to have a bar that is waist high. Lie on the ground with the bar right above your chest. Your legs should be extended before you and your feet should have a little distance between them.

As you grip the bar, your arms should be fully extended. So make the necessary height adjustments to said bar. Lift your torso until your chest reaches the bar. Your feet should remain on the ground and your body should be completely straight.

Australian pull-ups work on the muscles of your back, chest, and core.


5) The muscle-up pull-up

This type of pull-up needs a burst of force to help your chest clear the bar. To pull off this pull-up, grip the bar with your palms facing away from you. Each of your hands should be directly above each shoulder, but you can use a wide grip once you master the pull-up.

Fold your legs to get them off the ground. Now, kick your legs back with just a little bit of force and use explosive force to pull your torso all the way past the bar. Once you clear the bar, your arms should be completely straight, which means that your waist should be level with the bar.

Drop down using gravity and momentum and start the second rep by kicking your legs back. Do as many reps as you are comfortable doing.

This type of pull-up needs you to propel yourself past the bar with the use of your lats, shoulder muscles, and the muscles in the upper abdomen and lower back. It also doubles as an intensive anaerobic cardio workout. This is an advanced pull-up that will take time to build up to.


6) The L-sit pull-up

This exercise works the hamstrings and the muscles of the hips and lower back. To do this exercise, you also need excellent core strength, and your abs will have to work harder than you ever thought they could.

Hang from the bar like you are about to do a classic pull-up. You can use an overhand grip or an underhand grip. Lift your legs in front of you so that they are parallel to the floor. Your torso and legs should form an L shape. Feeling the burn yet?

Pull yourself up until your neck clears the bar. Remember to have your body in an L shape the whole time. Lower yourself back down and repeat as many times as it takes to complete a set.


Pull-ups put all the muscles in your torso to work, especially when you add some variations to your routine. Different types of pull-ups target different muscle groups, so add them to your workout to avoid overusing one set of muscles.

Go ahead and try a few variations to enjoy a more intense and fulfilling workout.

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