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Pull Up

May 16, 2023 | Joel Runyon

The Pull Up is an intense, compound, full-bodyweight exercise that utilizes the arms, shoulders, and back muscles. Depending on your arm strength or bodyweight, you may find Pull Ups to be too challenging to perform for many reps.

How to do a Pull Up

Start by standing directly under a pull up bar or handles. Feel free to use a small stool if you need to reach the bar comfortably.

Reach or lightly jump up and firmly grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body and more than shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be lifted off the floor at this point.

Tighten your core by inhaling and then using your shoulders and arms, pull your entire body up until your chin is higher than the bar. Let your legs hang down or keep them bent behind you at a 90-degree angle if preferred. Pause at the top and exhale as you do so.

In a controlled movement, lower yourself back down to your starting position where your arms are extended beneath the bar but your elbows are still a little bent. This counts as one rep.

Tips for Pull Ups

Avoid swinging or jerking your body to try and gain upwards momentum. The key is to leave your lower body motionless while your arm, shoulder, and back muscles do all the lifting.

Don’t worry if you still can’t perform many bodyweight Pull Ups. Use resistance band Modified Pull ups first until you can gain the requisite upper body strength.

Pullup Video Demonstration

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Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® and MoveWell. In addition to free fitness resources on Impossible Fitness - you can buy performance apparel and supplements on