Are you wondering what the type of pull ups are? Maybe you want to know what makes them unique? Or perhaps you want to learn which ones you should do?
In this post, we’ll cover ten fantastic pull up variations, what makes them unique, and how to start.
Let’s dive in.
Ten Fantastic Types of Pull Ups
- Close-Grip Pull Ups
A fantastic variation where you maintain a more narrow grip, allowing you to emphasize your back and keep your shoulders safe.
- Wide-Grip Pull Ups
An effective variation where you spread your hands wider apart and possibly involve your lats better.
- L Sit
A more challenging variation where you lift your legs to assume an L position and do pull ups.
- Around The World Pull Ups
An advanced pull up variation where aside from going up and down, you also move your body to both sides, reinforcing core stability and forcing your back and arms to work harder.
- Mixed Grip Pull Ups
As the name suggests, mixed grip pull ups are done by keeping one wrist pronated and one supinated.
- Plyo Pull Ups
An advanced dynamic variation of pull ups where you generate as much force as you can from the bottom. The movement emphasizes explosiveness and fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment
- Weighted Pull Ups
This is a variation where you attach an external weight on yourself, either by wearing a vest, holding onto a dumbbell between your feet, or using a weight belt.
- Tandem Grip Pull Up
This is a close-grip pull up variation where you assume a neutral grip (palms facing in) on the bar. The variation is useful for engaging your forearms and biceps even more.
- Eccentric Pull Ups
Eccentrics are a variation where you focus on the lowering part and go down as slowly as possible.
- Towel Grip Pull Ups
This variation is fantastic for improving grip strength and engaging your core even more due to the instability from holding onto a towel.
What Muscles Do Pull Ups Work?
Pull ups primarily work your back – lats, rhomboids, trapezius, rear deltoids, erector spinae, and more. Pull ups also works your biceps, forearm, and grip strength. On top of that, pull ups are fantastic for engaging your midsection – abs, obliques, and glutes, all of which work hard to keep you stable while pulling yourself up. (1)
To emphasize your lats better and build back width, you can use a wider grip – for instance, 1.5 times shoulder width. For better bicep and inner back growth, do close-grip pull ups. Using a supinated grip (e.g., doing chin-ups) can also emphasize your biceps better.
What If I Can’t Do a Single Pull Up?
If you can’t do a single pull up, eccentrics are where you should start. Find a way to get into the top position (for instance, jump up or step on something) and lower yourself as slowly as you can. The longer it takes you to go down, the more you’ll engage your back and build strength.
For example, you can start with three-second lowering reps and gradually build up to over ten seconds. Eccentrics are great because they teach you how to properly do the movement and engage the correct muscles even if you don’t have the strength for a full pull up yet. (2)
In any case, a proper warm-up will always be critical for optimal performance and injury prevention. Do a bit of cardio, maybe some dynamic stretching, and a few warm-up sets for your back before getting into pull-ups.
Return to all bodyweight exercises.
- Chertoff, J. (2019). 7 benefits of pullups, Plus beginner and advanced options. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/benefit-of-pull-up.
- Kassel, G. (2019). What You Should Know About Eccentric, Concentric, and Isometric Exercises. Shape.https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/eccentric-vs-concentric-isometric-exercises.