Pull up – fundamental exercise
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different types of pull ups

Pull up – fundamental exercise

Many of you thinking „pull up” see only exercise involving only back muscles. It is a mistake.

Pull up is one of fundamental exercise wonderfully expanding human skeleton.


If the height of the bar allows us, the best option is when you have straight legs. If the height of the bar not allows to have straight legs(very often it happens in gyms and when your bar is mounted in door frame – in parks with bars usually is high bar allowing you to straighten the whole figure) during pull ups try to have straight legs, when you are leaving you can have limbs tucked up.

When you moving up you must keep tense abdominal muscles and rears at the right height of the pull-up. You must avoid characteristic “rocking” – strengthening at the same time pelvic muscles. Shoulders should be pulled back and directed down.

Retraction of shoulder blades is something very important when you pull up. When you hang loosely on the bar you must keep tense blaes – performing the aforementioned retraction of shoulder blades. You should have keep tense abdominal muscles an rears. After retraction of shoulder blades the depression proces follows. Depression proces is nothing else than lowering the blades. Very important is to feel the full range of motion.

The head must to be an extension backbone line, kept in a natural position. It’s very important to avoid unnecessary head movements because it is easy to damage the cervical vertebrae. The eyes must be facing forward, don’t look for anything up or down.

different types of pull ups


Usually the bar allows us for two versions of the grip – wide grip pull up and chin up.

You should always look for such an arm position that forearm it was always upright in relation to the floor. It will provide us the best body mechanics. When you chin up you should catch the bar at shoulder width. At wide grip pull up you should catch the bar a bit wider than shoulder width. Perfect width it is selected for everyone individually for the best effects. Try and rate.

There are many different types of pull-ups:

  • chin-ups – is the most common pull-up variation. Is the same as a pull-up except your palm are facing towards you. When you try to change the grip from overhand to underhand places more emphasis on the biceps
  • wide grip & close grip – wider grips are generally a bit harder as they place mor emphasis on tha lats. Closer grip puts more emphasis on the arms, chest and shoulders.
  • neutral grip & commando pull-ups
  • australian pull-ups – with legs on the ground
  • behind the neck pull ups -be careful when you do this exercise. If you are new to pull-ups or you-ve had shoulder/rotator cuff issues you shouldn’t do this pull-ups. For all people with healthy shoulders
  • going behind the neck cen be a challenging and worthwhile variation.
  • dead hang pull-ups – when you performing dead hang pull-ups you use full of range motion. During a dead hang pull-up, your arms are fully extanted at the bottom of each rep, bringing your body to a dead hang. Absolutely no momentu mis sed to pull your body upwards.
  • kipping pull ups – you are intentionally using as much momentum as possile to swing yourself voer the bar – be explosive
  • plyo pull-ups – for example clapping pull up
  • archer pull-ups – involves using a very wide gripe and only bending one elbow as you pull yourself up. They other arm should stays straight. The top of the rep looks almost like you are rawing a bow and arrow
  • the one arm pul lup – takes a lot of practice and patience to acquire this skills

different types of pull ups calisthenics



We start from a dead point, later, a full extension in the elbow follows. It allows you to strengthen the most elongated biceps muscle, which provides protection against rupture tendon biceps muscle.


Upward movement does not have to be necessarily until the beard is over the bar. It will not work for everyone. Depending on the length we have each limb segments, it may come out that our final range of motion will be below the line of the bar. The truth is that you should pull yourself up until the moment when the arm aligns with the torso and overlap – not whether the beard will cross the bar.

behind the neck pull upsWORK OF BLADES DURING MOVEMENT

We have two option: we can optimize latissimus dorsi muscle or add a job trapezius muscle.

  • optimalization work of latissimus dorsi muscle it is nothing else than making a pull with pulled off shoulder blades
  • optimalization work of trapezius muscle – before each pull-up movement we do „scap pull up”*
  • *scap pull up – set up on a pull up bar with arms at full extension. Without flexing your elbows, pull your shoulder blades together. You should rise several inches as the scapula are pulled together. Hold the contracted position for several seconds at the top, then return and repeat
  • Applying different types of pull-ups we can change involvement od latissimus dorsi, teres majors or biceps
  • ELBOW POSITION – as an important issue when wide grip pull up
  • The correct position of the elbows should be 45 *.


Breath it’s a very important issue in the foundations but very often forgotten and discussed at the end. We take breath, when we are in full extension we also make exhale in this position. We make so-called “Valsalva maneuver” relying on acquiring a huge amount of air and bench press.

In other words air collected in the lungs is putted to the test of release with the glottis closed.

This phenomena is used in medicine in order to detect the pathology in the construction and action of the myocardium.

The “Valsalva maneuver” has been divided into four phases:

  1. Phase I – during this phase, the blood pressure increases significantly while the heart rhythm decreases. This is due to increased exhalation during which air pushes against the heart wall,blood vessels and lung tissue.
  2. Phase II – our heart rate accelerates and your blood pressure drops.
  3. Phase III – further acceleration of the heart rate at a dynamic pressure drop due to the reduction of vascular resistance.
  4. Phase IV – ending phase. During the release of air there is a sudden spike in blood pressure and a drop in heart rate. After completing the recovery and return to the process of breathing, the normalization of blood pressure and pulse follows.

Benefits of the “Valsalva maneuver”:

  1. Stiffens the body. A person who is able to use the abdominal press will be able to perform the exercise more effectively and technically better, and consequently, to include a greater number of repetitions, or to put on a barbell weight bigger weight for the barbells .
  2. Protects the brain. During the physical effort, the difference between systolic blood pressure and intracranial pressure is greater than at rest.. This difference is called the transmural pressure, which is a measure of the effective force stretching the cerebral vessels. It was shown that when the Valsalva maneuver was used during exercise, the increase in intracranial pressure was higher, which in turn led to a much smaller increase in transmural pressure.
  3. Protects the heart. It was found that the Valsalva maneuver may limit the concentric myocardial hypertrophy, consisting in the increase of the thickness of the left ventricular walls with minimal changes in its volume – a condition quite common in people engaged in strength sports. The Valsalva test results in increased mediastinal pressure, which limits the effect of blood pressure on the heart during exercise.

Clinical application of the Valsalva trial:

Evaluation of heart murmurs. In phase I the amplitude of left-sour murmurs increases. Phase II decreases the amplitude and duration of all functional and organic heart murmurs. Phase III and IV initially increase the amplitude of right ventricular murmur, and slightly later, after pulmonary blood flow, amplitude of left ventricular murmur increases.

You should avoid Valsalva maneuver if you have or had:

  • acute myocardial infarction,
  • aortic dissecting aneurysms,
  • cerebral circulation disorders

Valsalva trial is importnat when you do hard weight training – try and feel the difference.

Tips for starting pull-ups (beginners who want to pull up more times)

First – the negative. That is nothing other than lowering. Let’s put aside exercises wit the rubber or other exercises on the machines. This will not accelerate the progress when fully pulled up. Only negatives will be a good option for this. You can combine it with training “Greasing the groove”, consisting of making pulls in the amount of half yours max several times a day with a minimum break of 1h. The most important – do not get tired. During this training, we work on pure strength, not on durability, which will allow us to increase the number of pulls after some time.

This method was invented by Pavel Tsatsouline, the creator of the bodybuilding book “Naked warrior”, in which he describes the increase of his strength in a short time.

Muscular collapse is always ineffective. Always keep repeating in the stock, thanks to which we progress. Muscle binding almost always brings negative effects (I write the law because there are training plans in which it is allowed).

Without training for muscle fall, we are able to generate a very large training volume. Therefore, it is better to perform a series of 5×5 pulls in American ease than 2×10, where the last reps were like a fight for life. The greasing the method works perfectly if you have a bar in house / somewhere where you have free access to it. Every hour you can do one series and effectively increase the strength of your muscles.

behind the neck pull ups

What to do if you can not pull up once?

Then, the greasing the groove method comes to our aid, but only with the negative phase, slowly lowering on the bar (someone can fill us in or we can enter ourselves from the elevation). But this method in this case will not be used every hour, but every 10 minutes, so that our muscles get more stimuli while not leading to a fall. We are leaving slowly – the slower the better. It will only be a matter of a few days to start pulling yourself up.

What if I do not have a stick?

You can always use a table or a chair ?

In conclusion – pull-up is the main exercise for all who want to develop their muscular strength. This is the foundation for the development of our skeleton. Do not shirk it!



Comments (3)


I was wondering will using grease the groove for pull ups increase all of my strength for different grips. This includes close grip, wide grip, chinups and others. Thanks for your time.

Hello Jonathan,

Welcome to Caliathletics!

I don’t wanna “steal” the spot of Marcin, who’s the author of the article above, but since the grease the groove method concerns me directly I feel like I can try to answer your question here:

I can say yes! Whenever you train exercises such as pull-ups or chin-ups, or even at an earlier stage Australian pull-ups and chin-ups, will automatically lead you to increase the grip’s strength and so, the more variation you train the better.
Stated that, also just hanging on a bar as sort of isometric with a grip shoulder width, can sensibly strengthen your grip if you perform it for multiple sets in a range of at least 30 seconds and more.
So, considering the dynamic exercises such as pull-ups/chin-ups in all their grips’ variation, trained with the grease the groove method, your grip will definitely indirectly improve.

I hope to have given you a satisfying answer, if not, feel free to ask for more details and info and check out our programs!

See ya!

Great article very informative.

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