Pull-ups, exercises that work the upper body muscles. Pull-ups require a certain amount of grip strength and upper body strength, which must be able to overcome one's own body weight to complete one session. Pull-ups play an important role in the development of upper limb suspension strength, shoulder girdle strength and grip strength. It is calculated by the number of times completed according to the action specifications, and the more you do, the better the performance. Therefore, it is a strength endurance event and an effective training action for the back muscles.

Everything you need to know about pull-ups is here

Action essentials

Static pull-ups

Starting position: Grip the horizontal bar with a wide grip (palms forward) with both hands, slightly wider than shoulders, feet off the ground, and arms hanging naturally straight. 

Action process: Use the contraction force of the latissimus dorsi to pull up the body, pause for a while when the chin is over the horizontal bar, and stand still for one second to completely contract the latissimus dorsi. Then gradually relax the latissimus dorsi, allowing the body to slowly descend until it returns to full sag, and repeat. You can bend your knees, cross your calves back, and lean back slightly to better exercise your back muscles. 

Breathing method: inhale when the body is pulled up, exhale when the body is down, do not hold your breath for a long time. 

Points to note: When pulling up, focus on the latissimus dorsi, pull the body as high as possible, and don't let the body swing. Feet cannot touch the ground when sagging. Hook a barbell around the waist for weighting.


The starting position and breathing method of the powered pull-up are similar to the static pull-up.

Movement process: Grip the bar with both hands, hang the body in the air, swing the body, use the force of the swinging body to make an emergency stop, pull the bar up with both hands, raise the chin above the surface of the bar, bend the arms slowly when going down the bar, and slowly restore the body to Start the state, then bend your knees and use your strength to complete the next action.

Motion analysis

Action analysis

Forehand pull-ups

When the forehand pull-up is hanging, the arms are straight up, the hands are slightly wider than the shoulders, the palms are forward, the feet are off the ground, and the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal and external oblique muscles, erector spinae and other skeletal muscles do Isometric contraction to keep the spine in a neutral position. When the trunk moves upward, the biceps brachii and brachialis do distal fixed concentric contraction to flex the elbow; the latissimus dorsi and the posterior deltoid do near fixed concentric contraction to make the upper arm adduction at the shoulder joint. The contraction of the latissimus dorsi provides the main driving force for the pull-up movement, and the middle and lower beams of the trapezius and the rhomboid muscle perform a near-fixed concentric contraction to rotate the scapula downward. During the downward movement of the trunk, the joint movement pattern is closely related to the trunk. The upward movement process is reversed, and all skeletal muscles involved in the movement contract eccentrically to control the rate of the body's descent.

Backhand pull-ups

The backhand pull-up is based on the forehand pull-up. The arm is internally rotated to make the palm of the hand backward. Because the short head of the biceps is nearly fixed, the concentric contraction has the function of making the arm internally rotated. Compared with the forehand pull-up The contraction angle of the biceps, the entire biceps can be fully contracted during the backhand pull-up. Therefore, in the process of doing the backhand pull-up, the main driving force of the movement is the latissimus dorsi and the biceps. supply.

Physiological analysis

The exercise intensity of the pull-up is relatively large, and it belongs to the anaerobic exercise. When performing the pull-up exercise, it mainly provides energy through the anaerobic metabolic pathway of the human body to exercise. The anaerobic metabolic function of the human body is mainly divided into two parts: one is the ATP-CP decomposition function (non-lactic acid energy); the second is the anaerobic glycolysis function (lactic acid energy). The ability of ATP-CP decomposition function mainly depends on the content of ATP and CP. The content of ATP and CP in each kilogram of muscle in the human body is between 15 and 25 mg. In extreme intensity exercise, the ATP and CP in muscle are within 10s. It is almost exhausted; the content of glycogen and the activity of glycolytic enzymes are the basis of the anaerobic glycolysis capacity of sugar. The process of energy, the main capacity of which depends on the content of glycogen in muscle tissue and the activity of its lytic enzymes. In the pull-up exercise, the speed of the exercise is not fast, the exercise time is long, and the exercise intensity is large. The main energy supply method is the anaerobic glycolysis of sugar. Useful for pull-up exercises.

Exercise utility

1. The pull-up focuses on exercising the latissimus dorsi and biceps, and also has a certain training effect on many small muscle groups around the scapula and forearm muscles. Conscientious practice of this action can correct poor body posture and improve mental outlook, so that practitioners have an inverted triangle body shape and perform better in leisure sports such as rock climbing and rowing.

2. Pull-ups work the back and increase the width of the back. It can effectively relieve back fatigue and help young people solve and prevent a series of problems such as fatigue and soreness of the waist, back and shoulders to a large extent. At the same time, it can stretch the spine, make the spine stretch as much as possible, and promote the proliferation of spinal bones.

3. The positive grip pull-ups with different grip distances can develop the teres major, teres minor, infraspinatus, trapezius, biceps, and latissimus dorsi, but with different emphasis. The wide-grip pull-up focuses on the middle and upper latissimus dorsi muscles; the middle-grip pull-up focuses on the trapezius muscle; the narrow-grip pull-up focuses on the upper part of the latissimus dorsi and the teres major.

4. The positive grip back neck pull-up focuses on stimulating the middle and upper latissimus dorsi, teres major, teres minor, rhomboids, and deep back muscles.

5. The enhancement of upper limb strength and back strength can also play a protective role in daily life. The enhancement of upper limb and back skeletal muscle strength enables people to provide more powerful support to their own bodies in daily activities or sports. Whether it is moving heavy objects or exercising, the skeletal muscles of the upper limbs and back can provide more powerful support for the next action, expand the range of force that can be tolerated, and reduce the risk of injury. Possibilities, and in the event of emergencies, they can even help others get out of trouble while they have enough self-protection ability.

6. Use the pull-up to work your entire body.



Explanation of correct grip action:

1. Grip the bar: Grip the bar with both hands (positive grip is required for testing, and can be reversed or other during practice), the thumb holds the bar from below the bar surface, and the other four fingers hold the bar from above;

2. Swing: After holding the bar, swing your body, first bend your knees back slightly, and swing your body back and forth;

3. Pulling the bar: Bend your knees when swinging to the highest point in the back, and then in the process of swinging forward, when your body is about to reach the bottom of the bar, stop your legs suddenly, and pull your hands up on the bar at this moment to bend your elbows. Raise your chin above the bar; 

4. Lowering the bar and taking the next one: When lowering the bar, bend your arms slowly, slowly restore your body to the starting state, then bend your knees and use your strength to complete the next movement. 

Note: The movements should be as consistent as possible.

Decomposition exercises:

1. Swing bar: Swing the bar a few times before doing the action;

2. Strength exercises: Although the pull-up is a more technical exercise, it also requires the practitioner to improve arm strength;

3. Experience the practice of pulling the bar with an instant emergency stop. 

Static pull body

Action essentials

Keep your body straight and stable; the elbows and shoulders should be the main body movement.

Note: The movement technique should be standardized and the mind should be concentrated. When pulling up, imagine that the upper outer end of the latissimus dorsi is pulled all the way to the waist, until the chest touches the bar and can no longer be pulled up, and stop for 3-5 seconds, keeping all the muscles in the back fully tightened, it seems that the blood in the whole body is full. flock to this part. Only in this way can we truly obtain the breadth and depth of stimulation needed to train the latissimus dorsi, so as to effectively develop the latissimus dorsi.

Practice advice

Practice guidelines

Pull-ups require practitioners to have a certain grip strength and upper body strength, which must be able to overcome their own body weight to complete one session. Pull-ups play an important role in developing upper body suspension strength, shoulder girdle strength, and grip strength. It is calculated by the number of times completed according to the action specification, and the more you do, the better the performance. Therefore, it is a kind of strength endurance event.

To complete the pull-up exercises need to be gradual. Enhance the muscle strength and muscular endurance of skeletal muscles related to finger grip strength, upper limbs, back, waist and abdominal strength, which can effectively improve the practitioner's ability to do pull-ups, and pay attention to relaxation after practice while practicing And scientific and reasonable nutritional intake, in order to be able to complete the pull-up independently.

In the early stage of the exercise, the main focus is to strengthen the muscle strength and endurance of the upper limbs and back skeletal muscles, and to find the sense of movement. A series of auxiliary and simplified movements are used as the main practice content of the practitioners in the early stage. Independent, complete pull-up exercises. In the early training should focus on training the strength of the finger grasp, upper body, back and waist and abdominal muscles.

Decomposition exercise

Finger grip strength training

When doing pull-ups, the weight of the whole body is fixed on the bar by the grip of the arms, so the grip of the arms can indirectly affect the ability to do pull-ups. Grip strength of the arm can be practiced with grips and finger presses. It varies from person to person. If the grasping strength of the arm is relatively poor, you can try the grip strength first to improve the strength, and then practice the finger push-ups. If the grasping strength of the arm is relatively strong, you can Go straight to the finger press without using a grip. There are differences in gender. Practitioners can use the way of finger push-ups during practice: the basic movements are basically the same as push-ups, and the palms of push-ups are changed to support the ground with the fingertips of the fingers, and the palms are suspended; It can be changed to static finger support exercises; the basic movements of finger push-ups are used as the basic movements to do static support exercises. If the difficulty is still high, the soles of the feet can be supported on the ground to kneeling positions to reduce the difficulty.

Upper Body and Back Strength Exercises

In the process of doing pull-ups, the skeletal muscles of the upper limbs and back are mainly involved in the exercise to provide power, so it is very important to develop the skeletal muscle strength and muscular endurance of the upper limbs and back. It is a compound movement involving multiple joints, so it is not recommended to use single-joint movements to develop the muscle strength and muscular endurance of the skeletal muscles of the upper limbs and back. You should choose movements similar to the pull-up movements for connection. During the practice process Intermediate practitioners can experience the feeling of force exerted by the coordination of multiple muscle groups, laying the foundation for a complete pull-up.

In the development of skeletal muscle strength and muscular endurance of the limbs and back, you can choose the oblique pull-up as the initial training action: choose a low horizontal bar or a strong enough bar, and the best height off the ground is the height of the practitioner. 1/2 is appropriate, the starting position is for the practitioner to lie down under the bar, hold the bar with both hands straight and slightly wider than the shoulders, support the ground with both feet, and look at the head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet from the side. In a straight line, then pull up the body until the lower jaw is higher than the upper edge of the crossbar. At this time, keep this state for about 1 s to fully contract the muscles, and then slowly restore the body to the starting position. At this time, one exercise is completed. , Practitioners can practice in groups of 6 to 10 times per group according to their own conditions. The number of groups for each exercise is 4 to 6 groups, and the interval between each group is 30 to 60 seconds. It should be noted that the body should always be maintained during the exercise. From the side, the head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line, the pelvis is kept in a neutral position, the shoulder blades are retracted and lowered, and the shoulders should not be shrugged.

Waist and abdominal strength exercises

In the process of doing pull-ups, because the body is suspended in the air, it is particularly important to maintain the stability of the body. The back and forth swing of the body caused by the instability of the body will generate centrifugal force during the swing, which will increase the difficulty, so it is necessary to practice. By developing the strength of the waist and abdomen, the player achieves the stability of the body.

When developing the strength of the waist and abdomen of the practitioner, the plank support method can be used to practice: the practitioner lies on the mat with the body attached, the upper arm is flexed horizontally at the shoulder joint, and the angle is 90° with the body, and the forearm is at the elbow joint. Bend, make an angle of 90° with the upper arm, support the ground with the forearm and elbow joints and the toes of both feet, the body is suspended, and the head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line when viewed from the side, and the pelvis remains in a neutral position. Retract and sink shoulder blades, don't shrug, keep your eyes flat, tighten your waist, abdomen and buttocks, maintain a normal breathing rhythm, and hold on for as long as possible. In this position, support your knees and keep your feet off the ground.

Assisted pull-up exercises

After a period of auxiliary practice, the auxiliary practice of body-up: on the basis of normal pull-up, the calf is bent at the knee joint, crossed each other, and the partner supports the calf behind him and starts to do the pull-up, When the practice is difficult, the partner can help the practitioner to complete the pull-up exercise or use the elastic band to assist the exercise (pay attention to safety). This exercise can gradually transform a series of auxiliary exercises into an independent pull-up exercise. Straight arm suspension, flexed arm suspension, suspension swing, low bar supine pull-up (one person lifts the leg), bent arm pull-up, etc. can also assist in practicing pull-ups. [4]

Breath control exercises

When doing pull-ups, pay attention to your breathing rhythm and rate, exhale as you pull up, and inhale as you lower back down. Do not hold your breath for a long time, as long-term holding of breath will increase the intrathoracic pressure, affect the blood return flow and ejection volume of the heart, make a large amount of oxygen-depleted blood stay in the blood vessels, affect the normal metabolism of the body, and make the brain in a state of hypoxia , increase fatigue. At the same time, it affects the lactic acid metabolism efficiency in the body, reduces the lactic acid metabolism rate, aggravates the soreness of skeletal muscles, and causes DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) to a certain extent.

Rest and stretch

After each exercise, it is necessary to stretch and massage the exercise part so that it can relax and get enough rest, speed up the lactic acid metabolism efficiency, and promote the recovery of the micro-damaged surface of the skeletal muscle and the growth efficiency of the skeletal muscle. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) can also prevent fatigue-related injuries to achieve better exercise results.

Nutritional supplements

Physical exercise is inseparable from the supplement of scientific and reasonable dietary nutrition. The main purpose of practicing pull-ups is to enhance the muscle strength and muscular endurance of the skeletal muscles of the upper limbs and back. The main component of skeletal muscles is protein, but it is not necessary to supplement alone. protein, but requires a more balanced nutritional supplement. Since the main functional substance of pull-ups is glycogen, and the main component of glycogen is carbohydrates, it is also necessary to supplement sufficient carbohydrates. Fat intake is essential. In terms of nutrition matching, the energy supply ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat should be 5:2.5:2.5. In terms of protein, it is necessary to choose high-quality protein as much as possible, and animal protein should account for at least 60%, so that the exercise effect can be maximized. change.

Scheme reference

When practicing pull-ups, generally 3-5 sets each time, 8-12 times per set, with a rest of about 1 minute between sets. It's also possible to do almost all the effort on the first set (whether it's three or four). Then do two more sets, doing as much as you can with each set. Next time you do it, try doing one or two more per set, or one more.

When the number of pull-ups exceeds 12 per set, weight training can be considered. Generally do 3-8 sets, each set of 8-12 times, rest 1-2 minutes between sets, the length of rest time varies from person to person. You can also do it the specified number of times. For example: the first group uses the peak contraction method to do 8 times, and do not do too much when there is spare energy, and rest for 1 minute between groups. The second group also did 8 times as required. Until the last few sets, try your best to complete the required 8 times even if you use external force and the movements are not standardized. Do about 50 times in total, and this exercise is also effective.

Some people never feel anything when they practice their back. The reason for this is that the movement is not done at home, or it is not understood that Vince Gironda said, "When doing all the lat exercises, when the muscle is in the contraction force, count 1 to 6, and then restore." Through peak contraction, the nerve impulse is strengthened, so as to obtain the nerve feeling that innervates the muscle, so that the muscle is fully congested and swelled, and finally the muscle is effectively developed. This is the gist of Gironda's theory.

Classification introduction

Ordinary grip pull-up


A forehand pull-up is a pull-up with a palm-out grip. This is the most "orthodox" pull-up grip, and it challenges the deltoids. If you want to focus on exercising the deltoid muscles, you can increase the angle of the arms opening while holding the forehand, which is more difficult.

Underhand grip pull-up

A backhand pull-up is a pull-up with a palm-in-grip grip. It's easier than the forehand grip because it works the biceps. If you want to make your biceps more spectacular, try backhand pull-ups. Also, you can bring your arms together, or even touch your hands, which puts more pressure on the biceps.

Mixed grip pull-ups

Forehand and backhand pull-ups use both the forehand grip and the backhand grip. Doing this can increase the difficulty of the pull-up. When using this grip, the body will deflect to the side of the undergrip, increasing the force on the undergrip side. When practicing, you need to alternate left and right forehand and backhand.

Parallel grip pull-ups (hammer grip)

If there are two horizontal bars, you can use this palm-to-heart grip, which reduces the stress on the shoulders.

Weighted pull ups

No matter what kind of pull-ups it is, you can do 15 in one breath, so it's time to consider increasing the difficulty. Adding weights is an easy way to increase the difficulty. The specific increase in negative weight depends on individual strength.

Sternum pull-up

Ordinary pull-ups, just pull the chin, at most the collarbone, over the bar. The chest pose goes a step further. When the collarbone hits the bar, try to lean back so that the sternum is attached to the bar. Pull-ups in this pose specifically work the lats.

Behind-the-neck pull-up

Touch the bar with the back of your neck, this position can fully exercise the muscles on the back, such as the teres major, teres minor and so on.

Towel pull-up

Wrapping a towel around the bar is a challenge for the forearm. The toweled bar increases the difficulty of the grip, which is initiated by the muscles of the forearm.

One-hand pull-up

Grab the bar with one hand and do the pull-up by holding the wrist of the hand with the other hand.

One-arm pull-up

Do the pull-up with full force with one arm.

One-finger pull-up

Do pull-ups with your fingers hanging from your body. Start with four fingers and work your way down to one. The most powerful is the middle finger, followed by the index finger.

World record

One-way pointer up

On June 21, 2010, Chinese Ao Tingshu, 8 (right middle finger). 

The single-direction pointer hangs upward for the longest time

On June 21, 2010, Ao Tingshu performed a single-guided body-up (right middle finger) at Chongqing Stadium, and his body was suspended in the standard pull-up posture for 25 seconds. 

The most consistent pull-up

On December 29, 1994, Korean Lee Chin-Yong (Lee Chin-Yong), 70 years old, had 612 forehands, which took 2 hours and 40 minutes. 

One minute world record

February 10, 2007, American Robert Natoli, backhand, 44. 

On October 25, 2007, American Matthew Bogdanowicz (Matthew Bogdanowicz), forehand, 46. 

December 20, 2008 Guy Schott, American, 57.

Three-minute world record

1988, Vietnamese Ngo Xuan Chuyen, forehand, 100.

Half hour world record

March 26, 2006, Matthew Bogdanowitz, forehand, 433.

October 24, 2007, British Stephen Hyland (Stephen Hyland), backhand, 457.

One hour world record

October 18, 2007, Stephen Heilan, backhand, 812.

On February 12, 2008, Stephen Heilan, forehand, 825.

November 16, 2011 Stephen Heilan, 993.

Six hour world record

On April 28, 2007, Guy Short, forehand, 2456.

On June 24, 2007, Stephen Heilan, backhand, 2968.

Eight hour world record

June 24, 2007, Stephen Heilan, 3733. 

12 hour world record

April 28, 2007 Guy Short, forehand, 3116 (Short stopped trying after 9 hours and 30 minutes). 

On June 24, 2007, Stephen Heilan, backhand, 3750 (Hailan persisted for 8 hours and 3 minutes). 

December 24, 2015, Nikolai Kakrimeu, forehand, 4989 

24 hour world record

July 17-18, 2011, Canadian Lucas Garel, 5045. 

Note: Lucas Garrel does six pull-ups in it. 


Most chin ups in 24 hours

Most consecutive chin ups

Most chin ups in 8 hours

Most chin ups in 12 hours

August 02, 2022 — Zachary FitBeast
Tags: pull-ups

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.