You probably don’t need us to tell you that the pull-up is just about the toughest bodyweight exercise there is. If you’ve ever attempted to knock out a set in the gym, or just pull yourself up over a wall out in the real world, you’ll know the demands it places on your back, shoulder and arm muscles.
In the back it’s the lats, traps and rhomboids that bear the brunt of the effort, while you can challenge different parts of your arms by changing your grip (which you’ll learn all about below). The move also improves your core strength, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to leave your entire upper body quivering with fatigue when training at home because a doorframe pull-up bar is the only equipment you need.
Alongside form guides for pull-ups and many variations on the exercise, you’ll also find a series of moves that help you build up the strength to execute a full pull-up, because if you’re not able to do more than a couple at a time you’re better off starting with something like assisted pull-ups or dead hangs. There are also form tips to help you pull off the perfect pull-up below, plus a few pull-up challenges you can try once you are adept at the exercise.
How To Do A Perfect Pull-Up
Leap up and grip the bar with your hands shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you. Hang with your arms fully extended, you can bend your legs at the knee if they’re dragging on the ground.
Keep your shoulders back and your core engaged throughout. Then pull up. Focus on enlisting every upper body muscle to aid your upward endeavours.
Move slowly upward until your chin is above the bar, then equally slowly downward until your arms are extended again.
Aim for 10 pull-ups, but be prepared to fall short.