Your Guide to Doing the Perfect Pull-up

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Your Guide to Doing the Perfect Pull-up

The perfect pull-up uses more than the back muscles and biceps. Muscles in the core and the glutes keep the hips steady below the shoulders, so exercisers can avoid the embarrassing frog-kicking that comes when people attempt exercises beyond their strength. The best strategy is to practise different pull-ups, from easy to hard, to build the muscles that make the perfect pull-up possible.


Building Strength for Perfect Pull-Ups

If your last pull-up is a distant memory from your school days, you are not alone. Rebuilding strength in the necessary muscle groups is the first step to reconquering the perfect pull-up. Useful strengthening exercises include bicep curls, dumbbell rows, and assisted pull-ups, which require a low bar such as a pull-up dip bar to build upper body strength. Sit under the bar and hold the palms in a forward grip. Straighten the back and hips with the knees remaining slightly bent and the feet on the floor. Pull up so the chest touches the bar.


From Easy Pull-Ups to Challenging Pull-Ups

Start with the pull-up that is perfect for your current level of strength, continuously execute that pull-up perfectly, and then gradually advance to more difficult pull-ups as you grow stronger. Starting easy is especially important for beginners.




'Negative' Pull-Up

Grab the bar

Step from a small step stool or platform so chin is above the bar

Slowly lower until the arms are straight and feet are off the ground

Hold 5 seconds


Arms flexed

Hands shoulder width facing toward you

Pull up without momentum until chin goes over the chin-up bar


Arms flexed

Hands facing away

Pull up without momentum until chin goes over the bar

Dead-Hang Pull-Up

Arms straight and relaxed holding the bar

Flex elbows and pull up until chin goes over the bar

Right to Left Pull-Up

At top of dead hang, move chin across to right hand

Move chin to left hand

Move chin to centre for controlled descent

Time Under Tension Pull-Up

Start in dead hang

Pull up for 3 to 5 seconds

Release for 3 to 5 seconds

Maintain straight body line

Explosive Pull-Up

Start in dead hang

Pull up as fast as possible and release


Pull-ups are complete when the chin is above the bar. Tipping the chin on the edge of the bar and holding it there risks injury to the neck.


Equipment for Perfect Pull-Ups

A wall-mounted pull-up chinning bar installs easily in homes, but flat dwellers may have to opt for door pull-up bars that use tension springs instead. It is important for the width to precisely fit the doorway and for the bar to have the appropriate maximum supported weight. A wall pull-up bar usually supports up to 272 kg, but door-mounted bars may only support around 100 kg. A free-standing pull-up station is a component in many home gyms.

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