The pull-up is a phenomenal exercise for developing both strength and size throughout various muscles of your upper body. Simply by utilising your body weight as resistance and moving it against gravity, you can achieve some incredible results in your target muscles.

If a wide grip is selected, the large upper back muscle called the Latissimus Dorsi undertakes the majority of the stresses and strains brought about by the exercise, whilst the smaller muscles within the shoulder and arms are recruited to a lesser extent. Simply by altering your hand positioning to a narrow, underhand grip you can totally change the exercise dynamics. This places a greater emphasis on the biceps and forearms region whilst taking away from the Latissimus Dorsi to some extent. Regardless of the technique you select, your core muscles will also be recruited throughout, aiming to maintain balance and prevent any unwanted movements or swaying.

The main issue with pull-ups is that they can appear daunting and unachievable to the gym novice. Now if you’re an individual that attends to gym regularly and performs back and arm exercises as part of a well devised routine then pull-ups should pose no problem, but there are a significant proportion of the general public that cannot perform a single pull-up.

If you do fall into the latter category then fear not because here at FitnessBeans we’re always on standby to help. This article considers methods to make the pull-up technique both easier and harder, so that you can implement this guide into your training regime and progress over a period of time. So let’s start at the beginning with methods for making pull-ups easier;

Easy Pull-Up Variations
Weight Assisted Pull-Up Machine

If you’re a member of a gym then look around or ask whether this equipment is available. These machines allow you to perform the required movement without having to lift your entire body weight against gravity. Over a period of time you can add gradual resistance until you’re ready to step away from the machine completely.

Find Yourself A Spotter

Most individuals that struggle with pull-ups will find that with a little assistance through the sticking phases that they are able to achieve the upward phase. By having a spotter positioned behind you and supporting you at your knees or torso, you will be able to work through these points until you develop the necessary strength levels.

Lateral Pull-Down Machine

If there’s not a weight assisted pull-up machine or spotter in sight, then there should at the very least to one of these machines! This exercise mimics the pull-up movement and recruits the same target muscles required. Simply utilise the resistance available to build up the necessary strength to be able to conquer the body weight pull-up.

Continue to utilise the above techniques until you can successfully transfer the strength from the above variations into a standard pull-up. Even when you are able to achieve a body weight pull-up, don’t forget about the above variations, as they can be utilised in alternative forms to continually shock the body and keep your muscles guessing.

So when you can achieve body weight pull-ups with ease what else can you do to enhance the exercise difficulty?

  • Add resistance to your body weight.
  • Enhance the time spent on the lowering, eccentric phase of the movement.
  • Perform a single armed pull-up.
Final Word

So whether you consider yourself a novice or experienced, why not put the above into practice today and start to reap the benefits of the body weight pull-up.