Pull-ups are one of the most important bodyweight exercises. Grabbing a bar and completing an impressive number of reps will never fail to impress whoever is watching. However, building your numbers into a large set requires some work. When it comes to pull ups, there is always room for improvement. Improving your technique alone can instantly add to how many pull ups you can do.

Pull Ups

The Setup

As you hang from the bar, point your feet down and engage your core. Make sure your hips are level and pull in your stomach. Weakness during the pulling motion usually results from bending the knees. So you want to maintain form by resisting the urge to bend your knees. Keeping your legs straight will also make it easier for you to keep your lower back neutral.


Inhaling during the eccentric portion of an exercise (in the case of the pull up, the descent) and exhaling during the concentric portion (the ascent) will not only improve the performance, it will also prevent unnecessary physiological damage. Breathing techniques such as this are learned skills that will improve core engagement and overall athletic performance.

The Motion

Moving your torso in a circular fashion works fine but avoid the urge to push your body away from the bar. Pull yourself straight towards the bar while driving your elbows towards your sides. Adopting a circular movement fashion makes the exercise easier but you have to be careful as it puts your shoulder at increased risk of injury.


Negative training works magic in helping you to crank out more pull ups. Negatives helps to boost your overall endurance by targeting and developing your muscle fibers differently. Simply grab the bar and jump until your chest is close to the bar. Then slowly lower yourself for about five seconds and repeat. Perform a few sets of negatives a few times each week and your arms will get used to supporting your weight. You’ll even begin to notice improvements in your ability to get more reps.

Straight Arms

Lock your elbows and hang with straight arms before pulling yourself up for the first rep. You want to let your back and lat muscles stretch. Many newbies have trouble feeling their lats so you can ask someone to slap or poke your lats a couple of times before you start pulling up. It may seem a bit strange to other members of your gym, but it works.

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