The pull up is one of the fundamental street workout/calisthenic movements and once mastered will allow you to build great upper body strength and muscle while also opening doors to a wide range of other exercises.

Muscles used: Pull ups primarily work the muscles in the back and the biceps however they also help to build a strong core, as these muscles are used for stability with each repetition.

Pull Ups

How to perform a pull up:

There are so many variations of pull ups but the most common form is as follows:

  • Standing underneath an overhead bar, reach up with your hands just over shoulder width apart and grab hold of the bar with your palms facing away from you.
  • Hang from the bar, removing your feet from the ground and engage the muscles in your core slightly to stabilise the hang and stop yourself from swinging.
  • Tightening the muscles in your back, pull with your arms until your chins reaches over the bar. Hold this position for a moment.
  • Steadily lower yourself down to a hanging position again.
  • Repeat the movement to perform a set.

Quick tips for getting and improving your pull ups:

  • If you cannot yet perform a pull up then you can start with performing negative repetitions. This involves either jumping or climbing up into the position where you are already holding your body weight with chin above the bar and then slowly lowering yourself down. Repeating this will allow you to gradually build the required muscles in your back and biceps.
  • Use resistance bands for assistance to get your first pull ups with good technique.
  • Keep your core tight throughout the movement so that you do not swing back and forth and DO NOT use momentum or ‘kip up’. Using momentum will harm your progress towards achieving the strength to properly perform pull ups. It will help in the short term but harm you in the long term.