Bodyweight Exercise Series: Pullups

You must include bodyweight pullups in your exercise routine! The pullup is one of the best exercises you should be doing! If you haven't done a pullup since grade school, you need to bring the pullup out of your workout closet! If you can't do any, start doing 1 pullup and progress (assisted pullup machine or a spotter are also options).

Image credit: philipmak

The pullup is not just a back muscle exercise. Pullups work your lats (and other back muscles), core, shoulders, arms, chest, biceps and improve grip strength. That's why you should be doing pullups!

1. Hang from a pullup bar with your palms facing away from your body, your arms straight and your feet crossed together with legs bent about 90 degrees. Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar.

2. A wider grip (greater than shoulder width) will work your lats more. A closer grip (shoulder width or less) will work your middle back muscles more.

3. If you lack grip strength, you can use straps to help.

Use proper technique when doing a pullup:

1. Don't jut your chin out (it strains your cervical spine).

2. Don't swing. It makes the pullup easier by using momentum. You need to pullup, not swing up.

3. Don't let your chest collapse because that puts too much stress on your shoulders.

4. Don't arch your lower back too much. You want your abdominal muscles to be engaged when you do the pullup. Keep your torso braced (as if taking a punch to the gut) during the pullup.

5. When you start the pullup, drive your shoulder blades down and squeeze them together. This will engage your shoulder stabilizers more.

Don't be afraid of the pullup exercise! Pull it out of the closet and start doing them!

If you need bodyweight workouts that you can start at your own level, check out the Free download below (it has beginner, intermediate and advanced levels):

Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts. Start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
My Fitness Hut
Her Fitness Hut
Sports Fitness Hut


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About Mark


Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.