Want to build holistic upper body strength? Then you’ve got to incorporate pull-ups in your workout routine. Performing pull-ups requires a lot of strength, but as opposed to the common notion, anyone can master the pull-up exercise with the correct technique and regular practice.

What Is a Pull-Up?

A pull-up is an upper-body compound exercise that requires hanging from a pull-up rod with your hands facing away from your body, and lifting your entire body up using your arms and back muscles until your chest touches the rod.

Benefits of Pull-Ups:

The various benefits of mastering pull-ups are-

  1. Builds well-rounded upper body strength
  2. Improves mind-muscle coordination
  3. Provides a low-impact way of building strength
  4. Improves grip strength
  5. Boosts mental health and mood by making you feel stronger and fitter

Pull-Up Bar Exercises

Depending on your fitness level and upper body strength, you can perform the following exercises on the pull-up rod.


As a beginner, you might find pull-ups challenging as it requires hardcore upper body strength. But you can always build up to it with easier modifications and starter pull-up techniques like paying attention to your form rather than pushing yourself too hard.

  • Dead Hangs

First things first, you need to develop grip strength to be able to complete multiple sets of pull-ups eventually. So, start with grabbing the pull-up rod with an overhand grip, palms facing away – and see for how long you can hang. Try to raise yourself slightly to help build strength in your biceps.

  • Assisted Pull-ups

Start by looping a resistance band around the pull-up bar. Place your feet in the loop at the bottom. Try to perform the pull-up while the band supports you and helps you pull your body up easily.

Upgrade by using a thinner resistance band until you can perform pull-ups with no band at all.

  • Negative Pull-Ups

Place your hands in an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand on top of a box. Now jump to the top of the pull-up movement and then lower your body down slowly.

  • Australian Pull-Ups

These pull-ups are done down under the bar. Get underneath a rod, smith machine, or table, and grab the surface with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your feet (heels) should be on the ground and body posture straight. Now pull your body weight up such that your chest touches the bar and repeat.


If you’ve been working on pull-ups for a while and feel that you have better strength and endurance, you can move on to perform the following exercises:

  • Chin Ups

Grab the bar with your palms facing towards you. Pull yourself up using your biceps. This encourages more muscle growth in the biceps and back.

  • Narrow and Wide Pull-Ups

The wide grip is a more traditional pull-up method wherein your hands are placed a little wider than the shoulder width – palms facing forward.

In the closed grip mode, your hands must grip the pull-up rod exactly at shoulder level. This makes your chest and biceps work more.

  • One-Arm Australian Pull-Ups

An easier version of the one-arm pull-up, one-arm Australian pull-up is performed just like the Australian pull-up but with only one hand on the bar.

  • Burpee Pull-Ups

This move works your glute max, hamstrings, and quads along with the upper body.

Stand below a pull-up bar and drop down into a burpee. Now come back to the squat position and jump up to grab the bar and do a pull-up.


After giving your best performance in the beginner and intermediate pull-up exercises, you can go for these difficult ones:

  • Weighted Pull-Ups

Add weight plates to your body using a weight band or hold a dumbbell between your feet. Once you are done, simply start doing your pull-ups.

Adding weights makes your body heavier which requires your muscles to work more to pull the weight up.

  • Muscle Pull-Ups

Once you are in the pulled-up position, pull yourself some more with force and get into a dip position on top with your hands stretched out. Try to perform this move in one swift motion to avoid any injuries.

  • One-Arm Pull-Ups

Grip the pull-up rod with one hand, then bend your arm and try to pull yourself up. As a rough guide, think of pushing your other shoulder up to the bar. If you find it too challenging, you can try it with a pull-up band for support.

  • Archer Or Side-to-side Pull-Ups

Using the overhand grip, pull your body up on one side of the bar such that the hand on your other side is almost extended horizontally over the bar. Lower down and repeat. You can do a set on each side or alternate between left and right.

Pull-ups are not easy to master. They take time, discipline, and dedication. So, keep at it while you gradually build your upper body strength. All you need is a pull-up rod and this handbook to get the chiselled back of your dreams.

Author Bio: Sancket Kamdar, a certified weightlifting coach, and a successful entrepreneur founded SF HealthTech with a single goal in mind  to bring high quality, international standard exercise equipment to help fitness enthusiasts and athletes reach the next level of fitness. When he’s not working on new equipment ideas and designs, he loves to create educational content about health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He also writes to help budding entrepreneurs on running and growing a business, based on his experience.

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