The Power of Pull-Ups

Getting a grip on one of the least utilized and most needed parts of your exercise routine.

Maybe you fell out of love with pull-ups because they didn’t require any fancy gym equipment to perform. Or maybe you prefer to stay on the treadmill. Then again, you may have left pull-ups behind because they’re so stinking difficult to perform.

Whatever your reason for not getting any pull-ups in your regimen, it’s time to put excuses away and lift yourself to a stronger, healthier you.

Building Strength

There are plenty of ways to bulk up. You can drink protein shakes and lift lots and lots of weights. But sometimes, you can beef up without ever increasing your strength very much. This is very evident if you consider yourself to be fairly buff, but find your body balking at the pull-up bar.

By working to do one, two, five, 10, and eventually 25 pull-ups, you give your body an incredible amount of strength that simply doesn’t come through other exercises. With a single pull-up, you work a variety of muscles. From the biceps to your forearms, to all sorts of muscles running through your back, pull-ups work them all. But that’s not all. Do pull-ups frequently enough and you can enjoy stronger grip with your hands and improved cardio.

A Helping Hand

Are pull-ups too difficult for you to pull off? These days, you have an option. At your local gym, there is likely a machine that reduces the amount of weight you have to pull in order to complete a pull-up. So you may want to start with these.

But before you go with the pull-up machine, take heed! Get used to using the machine, and your goal of doing pull-ups on your own may never be accomplished. If you want to do pull-ups to increase your strength, there is no substitute for working at full-fledged pull-ups – even if you fail time and again. Keep trying despite your failures, and you’ll soon be knocking out pull-ups like a pro.

Diverse Options

If you think pull-ups are one size fits all, you’ve not been paying attention. Just like with push-ups, pull-ups work different muscles depending on where you put your hands.

Parallel Grip: Grab a parallel pull-up bar and you’ll work your back and arms in the safest, most ergonomically correct manner possible. Face your palms toward one another and get going!

Close Grip: By placing your hands no farther than a fist apart on a straight pull-up bar, you can grow and strengthen your back muscles by your armpits, your forearm muscles, and the muscles under your biceps. Flip your palms over and do the same thing in the chin-up position, and you’ll work different back and arm muscles.

Shoulder Width: Known as the standard for increasing upper body strength, pull-ups performed with your hands shoulder-width apart feel more natural than other positions and give you an incredible workout. Flip your hands over for a chin-up position, and continue your routine.

Wide Grip: If you’re looking for a stronger upper back, look no further than wide-grip pull-ups. By holding the bar with your hands far apart, your back gets an intense workout, while your other muscles are almost entirely left out of the picture.


While you may want to begin your first pull-up with your chin already on the bar, that’s not the way to get the full benefit of your pull-ups. Instead, start your pull-up routine at a dead hang. And between each pull-up, don’t jerk your body back up to the bar immediately after leaving. Allow your body to return to the dead-hang position.

Doing these two steps makes your pull-ups much more difficult, but they’ll also ensure you maintain full range of motion in your muscles. Ultimately, these little steps allow your body to be its strongest before, during, and after your pull-up routine!