Pull Up. How-to, proper form and tips

Pull Up icon

The Pull-up is an upper body exercise, that works the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists, grip strength, lats, shoulders, back and core. Many consider the pull-up one of the best bodyweight exercises.

The very first pull-up requires some training and preparation.

Video demonstration

How to and step by step instructions:

  1. Lead and hold the bar, palm facing your face.
  2. Hang with your arms fully extended. Bend knees if your feet touch the ground.
  3. Engage your shoulders, back and core, and lift until your chin is above the bar, or until your chest touches the bar.
  4. Slowly extend your arms, until completely extended again.
  5. Never pull-up without warm-up.

Hints & tips:

  • Prepare for push-ups by preparing the multiple muscles involved. See the 'pull-up friendly' and 'pull-up progression' collections.
  • Do not neglect the beginning of the pull-up, specially if you have a low bar (say a door one). Start with your arms fully extend, even if you need to bend the knees.
  • Don't swing, keep your core engaged.


  • Increase grip strength.
  • Strengthen the back muscles.
  • Strengthen arm and shoulders.
  • Improve explosiveness and balance.

Counting & gamification:

  • Gain the habit of doing pull-ups once a day, as long as you pass on a pull-up bar.
  • Define a number of pull-ups for a period (month, year) and keep a log of them.
  • If you can do a pull-up, or do less then 5, count also the pull-up-friendly exercises.

Muscles worked and body parts involved:

Primary , Secondary

Primary muscles: Shoulder, Triceps, Upper Back

Secondary muscles: Biceps, Forearms, Hand, Abs, Lats

Pull-up progression

Pull Up icon
5. Pull Up

Muscle: Shoulder

Muscle: Triceps

Muscle: Upper back

Category: Bodyweight