The Pull Up is a fundamental pulling movement. The primary muscles used during this exercise is are the latissimus dorsi and the biceps brachii, but dozens of other muscles are also worked. The aim of the movement is to move the body from a straight-arm hanging position, to one where the elbows are flexed and the chin is above the bar.
Pull Up demonstration
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How to perform the Pull Up
Begin the exercise with your arms full extended, gripping the pull up bar shoulder-width apart with a pronated grip. Squeeze your core and legs and maintain this hollow position throughout.
Engage your scapula for the initial lift, then squeeze your lats, trying to pull your elbows in towards your butt. Pull down with your arms until your chin comes over the bar. Perform the negative portion of the movement in a controlled manner until your arms are full extended.
During the beginning of the movement don't let the momentum of your legs assist you, keep your legs tight together and in a straight line. Ensure that you're completing the full range of motion, which means that arms are fully extended at the bottom of the movement and that the bar touches your shoulder at the top of the movement.
Which Pull Up grip is best?
Each Pull Up grip serves a specific purpose, although a lot of the benefits carry over through the rest of the grips. The pronated (overhand) grip is the default Pull Up grip. This grip requires more work from the lats and less from the biceps. The supinated (underhand) grip involves more work from the biceps. This is because with your palms facing toward the body, the bicep is in a better pulling position. Supinated Pull Ups (Chin Ups) are generally easier and can be used as a pronated Pull Up regression.