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Pull Ups Exercise: How to Perform the Perfect Pull Up

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 2/28/2010

Can you perform the perfect pull ups exercise? If not, read on to learn how to perform the perfect pull ups.

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    Pull ups exercise and chin ups are strength training exercises that lead to increased strength through lifting your own body weight. Pull ups are performed to increase upper body muscle mass and upper body strength. Those who have never done a pull up before may not be able to do them. Being able to do pull ups takes hard work and practice.

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    What is a Pull Up?

    Pull ups exercise A pull up is an exercise in which you grip a bar, palms facing away from you, and pull up until your chin is above the bar. There are several different variations, such as palms facing each other, towel pull ups, mixed grip pull ups, kipping pull ups, thumbless grip pull ups, fat bar pull ups, and horizontal pull ups.

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    Pull Up Benefits

    This exercise stresses the body, resulting in the back and arm muscles becoming stronger and more toned. They help to improve grappling, gripping, and pulling skills. They also help to prevent muscle imbalances.

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    Necessary Items

    To do a pull up, you will need a bar. This bar should be wide enough for the hands to be shoulder width apart. The bar should be high enough off of the ground for you to hang from it with the arms fully stretched above the head.

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    Pull Up Technique

    Performing a proper pull up means following the proper technique. Begin a pull up by dead hanging from the bar. Place hands shoulder width apart with palms facing outwards. Squeeze the bar, take a deep breath in and pull up. Always make sure to look up and keep your chest up, while keeping the elbows driven to the floor. Bend your legs at the knees and cross your feet.

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    Common Errors

    There are some pull up errors that people make when they begin to practice doing pull ups. Not having the arms straight and not starting from a dead hang with the elbows straight is a common mistake people make. It is imperative to start a pull up from a dead hang with straight arms and elbows.

    Shoulders should not go forward; this is bad technique and posture. Instead, be sure that your chest is up and your elbows are driven to the floor.

    Do not use your hips unless performing a kipping pull ups exercise. The legs should always be kept in line with the torso.

    In order to complete a pull up, the chin must have passed above the bar. It is only a partial pull up if the forehead or nose is against the bar. Those who are still learning may not get their chins above the bar every time, but they should always strive to do so.

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    StrongLifts. (2010). How to Do Pull Ups and Chin Ups With Proper Technique. Retrieved on February 25, 2010 from StrongLifts:

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    Image Credits

    Army Soldiers Doing Pull Ups: U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua R. Ford – Wikimedia Commons