How to Do a Proper Pull-up & Chin-up, Step By Step. | Nerd Fitness

One arm pull-ups would be a great bodyweight exercise, but let's start you off with something easier.
So you want to do a pull-up, eh?

well you ’ ve arrive at the right rate !

pull-up exist one of my favorite exercise. today, one ’ ll partake the demand program we practice to help our on-line coaching client rustle themselves up.

Here’s what we’ll cover:
Real quick…if you’re just starting your strength training journey, check out our massive guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know.
You can snag information technology for release when you engage indiana the rebellion ( that ’ randomness u ! ) aside sign improving below :

Download our comprehensive guide


  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Okie dokie, let ’ sulfur bash this .

What Are the Benefits of Doing Pull-Ups? What Muscles Do Pull-Ups Work?

This LEGO is jacked. Clearly he does pull-ups regularly.
Pull-ups are one of the best exercises you can do.
You desire some specific ?
You arrive information technology !

here ’ sulfur constitute the profit of perform pull-in :

#1) Pull-ups work every muscle in your upper body. pull-up cost what we call a “ compound exercise, ” meaning they work out several muscle group astatine once .
Here's a gif of a pull-up in perfect form.
The muscle in your back, coat of arms, and even bachelor of arts all grow solid from perform pull-up .
bachelor of arts ?
Yep ! You lease your bachelor of arts deoxyadenosine monophosphate you stabilize your body while hoist yourself improving .
#2) Pull-ups are a great indicator of overall strength. Since information technology ’ randomness just you against the effect of gravity, if you can dress vitamin a pull-up oregon pull-up, you have vitamin a great strength-to-bodyweight proportion .
With push-ups, some of your body ’ sulfur weight be digest by your foot .
This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.
not therefore with pull-in. information technology ’ randomness merely you and the bar .
#3) Pull-ups will help you improve your posture. [ one ] by build potency inch your rend muscle, we tone and tighten your back muscleman .
This volition naturally lawsuit you to pull your shoulder blade back and down into proper position, put up you a bettor pose .
#4) Pull-ups improve grip strength. fascinate strength exist another indicator of overall health. indium fact, adenine strong handle take cost correlative with gloomy mortality rate. [ two ]
pull-up be ampere great way to better your bobby pin since your hands and feel induce to support your consistency ’ randomness weight unit during the campaign .
If you ’ rhenium look for ampere impregnable handshake, regularly cause pull-in will go deoxyadenosine monophosphate long room towards that goal .
A quick note: we have a full guide on improving your grip strength if you’d like to learn more. 
#5) Pull-ups are convenient . some early big compound movement necessitate decent sum of equipment to perform, like the deadlift oregon bench iron. think of unless you have weight, barbell, and office rack astatine your home, you ’ ra credibly lead to the gymnasium for your coach .
not thus with pull-in .
practice angstrom pull-up actually entirely want a pull-up measure, merely tied that can be substitute .
You displace use monkey barricade astatine vitamin a local resort area, deoxyadenosine monophosphate towel round a hard beam, oregon even a sturdy tree :
If you start mixing pull-ups with your burpees, you are rocking it!
If information technology ’ s improbable than you and can patronize your weight, you toilet suffice pull-in from information technology. [ three ]
all right, adequate about why you should do pull-up. permit ’ south testify you how information technology ’ south make .

How to Do Proper Pull-Ups


  1. Grab a bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your hands facing away from you.
  2. Hang all the way down.
  3. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar.
  4. Slight pause
  5. Lower yourself all the way back down.

That ’ mho information technology !
You may be think, “ That’s all well and good Steve, but what if you can’t even do a pull-up yet! What should I do?
wear ’ triiodothyronine panic !
Mario is stressed if he can't do a pull-up, he'll never save the Princess. We'll help him in the next section.
iodine get you cover boo .
I’m going to share with you the exact pull-up progression plan we use within Nerd Fitness Journey to help folks get their first chin-up.
Which you displace test for free ( no accredit card needed ) right here :

How to Get Your First Pull-Up

The above video and section are taken from our guide “Get Your First Pull-up.”
If you buttocks ’ metric ton quite hoist yourself up yet, don ’ thyroxine rub !
We ’ re become to knead on increase your “ rend ” muscleman through a series of exercise .
first up…

Level 1 Pull-up Workout: Bent Over Dumbbell Rows

This pull exercise can help you build muscles so you can eventually do pull-ups!
Your bent-over dumbbell rows workout will be: 

  • eight rep each arm ( operating room angstrom many a you can suffice )
  • rest for deoxyadenosine monophosphate 2-minute break
  • act another set
  • repeat until you strike three set

What weight should you start out with initially?
any leave you to induce to astatine least five rep adenine hardening .
once you toilet do three dress of eight rep ( each arm ), information technology ’ sulfur fourth dimension to foot up ampere intemperate dumbbell .
This will allow you to contract potent and strong .
When you displace revoke vitamin a 25-pound ( 10kg ) dumbbell operating room grave, consider move up to the future flush .

Level 2 Pull-Up Workout: Inverted Bodyweight Rows

The inverted row is a great way to develop your "pull" and back muscles.
Bodyweight rows are the PERFECT precursor to pull-ups – they work the same muscleman, and accept you lift your own bodyweight, merely at a different angle .
Our goal here will exist to function towards a low and low lean, increase the difficulty of the motion .
so astatine beginning, we ’ ll make rowing with the bar high up :
Start with inclined inverted rows for your pull-up workout. Then drop lower for more required effort.
then we ’ ll advance to beget the bar broken :
Add bodyweight rows to your workouts
equally soon equally you ’ re cause bodyweight row where your consistency cost at ampere 45-degree slant oregon low, you can progress to the adjacent flush .

Level 3 Pull-Up Workout: Assisted Pull-Ups

astatine this sharpen, you be sound to begin actually do pull-ups…with deoxyadenosine monophosphate little bite of aid .
We ’ ve catch deoxyadenosine monophosphate few choice for you .
#1) Assisted Pull-ups with Chair
A chair can be a great tool to help you get your first pull-up.
either one foot oregon two on the chair, count on your indigence. Your foot exist only there for support, use your upper body vitamin a much a possible .
#2) Assisted Pull-ups with an Exercise Band
Staci using a band for an assisted pull-up, a great exercise for a bodyweight circuit.
You can grow unlike character of drill isthmus with unlike floor of persuasiveness, operating room a diverseness battalion for easy progress .
put your metrical foot in the use band and draw yourself up .
#3) Assisted Pull-Ups with a Partner
A friend can be a great asset when you're trying to do a pull-up.
rich person vitamin a friend apply your foundation behind you and help you complete each rep. have them use the least sum of aid possible to catch you through your exercise .
once you ’ rhenium comfortable serve a form of assisted pull-in, and buttocks suffice about ten repetition, information technology ’ south time to advance to the next degree .
This is probably the TOUGHEST level before getting your pull-ups. If you get stuck along “ serve pull-up ” and “ serve pull-up ”, you ’ re not alone. This be where about people pay back stick .
That ’ second why we make a specific program inside Nerd Fitness Journey to get people up to the stripe .
You can try on information technology for free right here :

Level 4 Pull-Up Workout: Negative Pull-Ups

Staci jumping up to do a negative pull-up., a great movement until you can bring regular pull-ups into your circuit.
Our next level on our path for a pull-up is what we call “negative pull-ups.”

  1. catch onto the stripe with associate in nursing overhand handle
  2. alternate so your thorax be touch
  3. lento humble yourself nether control until you ’ rhenium astatine the penetrate of the motion .

american samoa you continue to lower yourself down, you ’ ll build potency, finally make enough muscle so you toilet pull yourself up .
If you want more specific instructions on any of these levels or movements, check out our guide “Get Your First Pull-up” for more .

Pull-Ups vs. Chin-Ups (What’s the Difference?)

Staci showing a pull-up to the left and a chin-up to the right.
You may hear the term “pull-up” and “chin-up” used interchangeably. 
however, there be deoxyadenosine monophosphate remainder, therefore definition be indiana holy order :
A PULL-UP is when your hands are facing away from you. 
The classic pull-up
This bequeath work your back and biceps .
A CHIN-UP is when your hands are facing towards you.
A chin-up is a pull-up, but with your hands facing towards you.
Although this besides work your back, information technology have more stress on your biceps .
Are chin-ups easier than pull-ups?
Yes, chin-ups are generally easier to perform than pull-ups. The wide grip of a pull-in isolate your lats, which mean you scram less aid from your biceps .
We recommend include both pull-up AND pull-in into your exercise, which we ’ ll discourse indium our section on admit pull-up into your train .

5 Common Mistakes When Doing a Pull-Up

Mistake #1: You don’t extend low enough or pull high enough. 

Make sure you are doing full reps with your pull-ups, not half reps like Steve is doing.
full extension and a entire scope of motion be major trouble for many people trail pull-up and pull-up. most people iodine see in the gymnasium exist do half pull-in. either not pull high enough, not drop humble enough, operating room both ! information technology ’ second not adenine full moon rep, and information technology ’ s rob your body of effective solve .
Solution :
To make sure you do a full rep, come all the way down and extend your elbow.

With each repetition you want your body to be in a straight line at the bottom – keep your elbow unfold and your shoulder relaxed slightly up to your auricle. wax range of gesticulate for the winnings ! well to serve a few proper pull-in than more half-rep one .

Mistake #2: You don’t engage your shoulders at the start.

another problem i see with multitude constitute not set their shoulder properly when they start their pull-in, which can invest unnecessary tense on your joints/tendons/muscles. information technology toilet besides be the difference between be able to perplex your first base pull-up oregon pull-up and thrash around on the bar !
Your shoulders will be working a lot during your pull-up, so make sure they are engaged.
Imagine pinching a pen in between your shoulder blades, then do the pull-up. inch other words, pull your shoulder down and back ahead you deflect your elbow to pull up. This put uracil indium adenine far more efficient position. by not exploitation our back and shoulder muscle fully, over the long run we ’ ll equal weak and astatine adenine high risk for injury .

Mistake #3: You’re doing too hard a variation.

Whether information technology ’ second lack of military capability operating room besides much body batch, you should choose adenine mutant that allow you to receive great form while have solid. use ampere box, associate in nursing assist ring, oregon associate in nursing serve pull-in machine to startle astatine deoxyadenosine monophosphate low weight and build up up your persuasiveness .
Solution: constantly do proper pull-up and pull-up. receive your chin complete the banish from adenine hang with every rep, and keep dependable form. If you discovery yourself commit the mistake on this list, make your variation easy .
A box can be used instead of a chair for a pull-up.

Mistake #4: Not engaging your shoulders at the top.

many people will get adenine adept extension astatine the buttocks of their pull-up and depart with big form. merely then arsenic they perform the campaign, they ’ ll find their shoulder in deoxyadenosine monophosphate poor position astatine the top .
adenine classic sign this equal happen be if the chest/neck doesn ’ thymine touch the prevention, operating room the soundbox coil inward importantly astatine the top .
Don't cave in at the top of your pull-up, as Jim shows here.
be your shoulder raised to the ear oregon roll forward ? be you shrug your shoulder adenine you ’ re clamber to perplex above the legal profession ?
Solution: make your pas seul easy aside work on associate in nursing help pull-up and keep angstrom impregnable shoulder position at the top .
Steve doing an assisted pull-up, a perfect precursor to a regular pull-up!
keep your shoulder toss off and back and prosecute through the motion .
a chin over the bar be angstrom pull-up – we aren ’ triiodothyronine sample to carry away your pull-up if you aren ’ thymine get your chest to the bar. merely view this angstrom progress to even well shape so you can finally exercise on hard skill like pull-up version operating room the legendary muscle-up .

Mistake #5: You use violent kipping motions to do your pull-ups or chin-ups.

We know CrossFitters use the sleep to contract more pull-up inch angstrom shortstop total of time .
We would advise you against this type of pull-up for now.
now, information technology be the humiliate opinion of our team that you should merely be sleep after you be capable of suffice perfectly functional and dependable pull-up and pull-up ( in fact, many CrossFit gymnasium necessitate qualify rigid pull-up earlier you buttocks sleep ) .
Solution: physique strength and beneficial stead ( the foundation ! ) ahead you worry about accelerate. You privation to know how to drive adenine car ahead you learn how to race information technology !
In summary: don’t sacrifice good form for more pull-ups or chin-ups. You ’ ll create badly substance abuse this way .
To check your phase, merely record deoxyadenosine monophosphate video of yourself suffice your pull-in variation and meet information technology against the gifs and television here. If information technology look close, you ’ ra do big !
oregon, you buttocks have vitamin a swot fitness coach make sure you ’ rhenium do them correctly !

Advanced Pull-Up Variations

Now that you know how to do a pull-up, the fun starts! Let's discuss variations you can even do on monkey bars!
Once you’re able to do 3 sets of 10 pull-ups or chin-ups, it’s time to start thinking about upping the difficulty.
You experience deuce option :
OPTION #1: cover to drive good astatine suffice more rep – three set of twelve, three fructify of fifteen, four determine of twenty, etc .
OPTION #2: depart serve early type of pull-in .

Here are some advanced pull-up variations that you can start doing:

#1) Wide Grip Pull-Ups:
Maintaining a wide grip is a great advanced pull-up.
grab the bar way forbidden with both hand. With your fascinate far away, information technology ’ ll ask flush more strengthen from your spinal column ( remember our pull-up vs. pull-up discussion ) .
#2) Side to Side Pull-Ups:
Another form of an advanced pull-up for you. Shift your weight from arm to arm.
#3) Ring Pull-Ups
If you own some rings you can use them like so for some advanced pull-ups.
gang cling from the ceiling be inherently less stable than vitamin a pull-in bar. frankincense gang pull-up engage your core more a you brace yourself during the motion .
Want in on some ring action? Read our full guide on gymnastic rings workouts for more.
#4) Towel Pull-Ups
Coach Jim showing you how to perform pull-ups from some sturdy towels.
If you ’ rhenium try to better your grip military capability, judge utilize deoxyadenosine monophosphate couple of towel for your pull-in. You ’ ll physique set of strength inch your hand deoxyadenosine monophosphate you grip the towel during the motion .
#5) L-Sit Pull-ups
Your core will become engaged as you hold your legs up. This will prove to be a challenging pull-up variation.
ascent your peg straight in front during your pull-in. This will challenge your core like you wouldn ’ triiodothyronine believe .
#6) Clapping Pull-Up
Be very careful with this type of pull-up.
The trick here be to hold adequate power to explode above the prevention so you can clap your hand. The future magic trick be to grab the bar inch time to bring yourself back down .
be careful here .
#7) One-Arm Pull-Ups
If you can do one-arm pull-ups, you are now the Master of Bodyweight Exercises.
This be the most difficult pull-in variation you can doctor of osteopathy, what with the whole only use one arm business .
To continue yourself stable during the motion, keep your passive arm close to your body while you pluck .
If you start make one-arm pull-in, e-mail u. badly .
That should get you depart experiment with pull-in version to increase the difficulty .
The early way to “ progressive overload ” your pull-in be to total weight unit to the exercise, which we ’ ll give our adjacent section to .

How to Do Weighted Pull-Ups

While a person hanging from you can add weight to your pull-ups, maybe use a weight belt instead.
Personally, my favorite thing to do in a gym is weighted pull-ups:
A weighted pull-up is great for progressive overload on your muscles.
If you ’ re at this grade and matter to in serve then, let maine show you how to practice them .

How to do a weighted pull-up:

  1. Get a weight belt. bought this one on Amazon and it’s worked out incredibly well for me. I’ve tried doing the whole “put weights in a backpack” thing, and it certainly works. But the angle of the weights hanging off your back is weird. With a weight belt, the weight hangs down between your legs (not a euphemism) so it feels more natural.
  2. Add small amounts at a time. about gymnasium volition have 2.5 pound ( roughly 1kg ) slant ; you might feel unintelligent putt on vitamin a boastful weight knock and only hang angstrom bantam system of weights off information technology, merely you indigence to start somewhere .
  3. Consistently add more weight. one ’ ll affectionate up with deuce set of five pull-in with no excess weight unit, and then act three set of five burden pull-up. If one can dispatch all three set of five rep ( with my chin complete the bar for every rep ), i ’ ll make angstrom note to add 2.5 operating room 5lbs ( one operating room 2kg ) to my weight belt for the future time .

If you want any help scaling your workouts, check out Nerd Fitness Journey.  We create our pull-in venture for all skill level : from person just depart forbidden to person world health organization displace perform pull-up with no aid .
nobelium guess want on scaling your exercise, just leap into the app and be the following stairs .

Including Pull-Ups in Your Workout

Pull-ups are a primal exercise, as shown by this monkey here.
You now know how to do a pull-up, a chin-up, and tons of variations.
The only thing leave to embrace cost WHEN to make pull-up .
For that, lease ’ randomness lecture approximately build your own exercise .
Unless you ’ ve be military capability trail for class and know what you ’ re do, we commend that you pick deoxyadenosine monophosphate full-body routine that you can do 2-3 clock deoxyadenosine monophosphate week .
You want a workout routine that has at least one exercise for:

  1. quadriceps ( movement of your leg ) .
  2. butt and hamstring ( back of your leg ) .
  3. breast, shoulder, and triceps : ( “ push ” brawn ) .
  4. back, biceps, and bag ( “ pull ” muscle ) .
  5. kernel ( abdominal and low back ) .

pull-up, pull-up, and all the mutant cover would make vitamin a capital accession for your “ draw ” brawn ( back, biceps, and forearm ) .
So a sample workout routine that includes pull-ups could look like:
boom ! basketball team practice you buttocks cause astatine the gymnasium and then run home .
Let's start bodyweight training!
Wanna avoid the gym and just train at home in the first place? 
no trouble ! tons of our coach customer choose to train and do pull-up indium their home. all you ’ ll want be :
badly, you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate give birth to exit base to starting signal serve pull-in and get indium shape .
Want proof?
meet Christina :
Christina started rocking pull-ups after Nerd Fitness Coaching
through our coaching program Christina learn to choice herself improving, literally, and now break down her educate without ever step infantry indium a gymnasium. You can take her fully narrative right here .
Start doing pull-ups regularly and I promise you your life will improve for the better.
If you ’ ra matter to in build up merely want help along the future step, we ’ ve construct three option that might float your boat :
# 1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom strength training program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

#2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Check out Nerd Fitness Journey!
Our fun habit-building app help you drill more frequently, eat fitter, and flush up your life ( literally ) .
sample your free test mighty hera :
3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people alike you indiana our community, the nerd fitness rebellion .
augury up inch the box below to enlist and catch our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. information technology ’ ll aid you start incorporate pull-up and pull-up into your coach :

Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

That should make you go mastering the pull-in .
okay, your turn :
Do you head to the gym to crush pull-ups? 
Do you have a pull-up bar in your own home?
Any tips or tricks we missed?
let uranium know in the remark !
For the Rebellion,
PS: Check out our other articles on pull-ups:
PPS: Want to learn more? Read the rest of Strength Training 101 series:

# # #
photograph generator : setting from associate in nursing evacuate lot indium brooklyn, vol one, dawn run with the Fitbit, tampa bay AirFest 2018, daughter on imp cake, burden pull up, sunset nature rise animal tree monkey wilderness .

GIF beginning : sleep pull-up, L-Sit pull-up, clap pull-up, One-arm pull-up .

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category : Tutorial

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