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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

11 Different Types of Pull Ups to Shape Your Back

There are lots of different types of pull ups to exercise your muscles. Some of them are easy and some of them are for advanced lifters only. If you want to build an impressive back; it goes through pull ups.

After you read this article, we guarantee that you’ll be equipped to improve your pull ups. Also, if you can’t do any pull ups, you’ll learn how to do your first in our article!

Before we start our article, if you are not sure which pull up bar you should invest in; check the article below:

9 Best Pull Up Bar for Any Setting – the Easy Ultimate Guide

Why Are Pull Ups Hard?

11 Different Types of Pull Ups to Shape Your Back Why Are Pull Ups Hard

  • Bodyweight Exercises Are Harder than You Think

Pull ups are actually much harder than you think because you lift your whole body weight by using your lats. No matter what’s your body weight, you are not that light as you think.

Of course, it also depends on your physique (Well, duh!), if your body fat percentage is high; it’s normal to not being able to do pull ups.

However, if you are skinny and can’t do pull ups; you have very weak muscles or maybe you are doing your pull ups wrong. We’ll give you tips and tricks on how to improve your pull ups in the next section.

  • Being Inconsistent

One of the best lessons in fitness and life is; if you are not consistent you are doomed to stagnate in your progress.

If you are doing pull ups (Or trying to do pull ups) once a week, that’s not enough at all. Your body needs to be comfortable with it, the dynamics should feel normal. Also, keep in mind that pull up is an exercise you can do frequently.

So, how many days you should do pull ups? Every day? No. Even though you are far from it, overtraining is real.

Find your sweet spot of doing pull ups; start with 3 days a week and work your way up.

  • You Haven’t Mastered the Negatives

Do your pull ups suck? Well, you clearly haven’t mastered the negative portion of pull ups. After learning how to do this part, your pull ups will improve significantly.

So, jump up or use a chair to get to the top of the pull up exercise, your chin needs to be over the bar. Hold that position for a second and slowly lower yourself down.

Doing this exercise slowly as possible is essential. Resist the gravity and control the movement.

Also, if you can already do pull ups; do this exercise right after your pull up routine to finish up your back muscles.

  • Mind-Body Connection is Not Established

It’s interesting how many people exercise without establishing their mind-body connection. If you are not aware of which muscles you use during the exercise and can’t stay focused; you lose a significant amount of gains.

Focusing on the movement and the feel is essential because you’ll maximize the results in each rep. Don’t go through the motions while you exercise.

Work on your coordination and activate your back and core muscles. Be aware of how your muscles tighten before you even start doing a pull up. It takes time to establish that, however, in due time you’ll feel more natural at it.

To learn more about mindfully exercising, check the article below:

Mindful Exercising to Strengthen Your Mind & Body

  • You Don’t Use Your Upper Body Muscles During the Day

Most people have weak back muscles because they hardly do anything that requires them to pull. Imagine your daily routine, do you take anything and pull it to your chest?

So, if you haven’t even exercised your back muscles when you were a child by playing sports; that’s also another reason why pull ups are hard for you.

Don’t worry, it’s not too late. Focus on the negative portion of the pull up to learn how to activate your back muscles.

In fact, you can learn how to activate your back muscles while you are sitting:

Take a book and push it in front of you as far as you can without moving your upper body. After that, slowly pull the book to your chest as you squeeze it with your fingertips. Do 15 reps each day for a minute to improve your mind-body connection. Focus on controlling the movement and not only the pull part!

  • Have Lower Expectations

If you are one of those people who think doing one more rep is not impressive; you are wrong. Pull ups are extremely hard and pulling your entire bodyweight one more time is huge progress!

For example, don’t think that doing 6 reps instead of 5 is not good enough. Lower your expectations, you won’t be able to do 10 reps next week and it’s perfectly fine.

It takes years of practice to establish some of the principles in fitness. Also, don’t make this dishearten you; focus on the journey and not the destination.

You’ll get much better than you are now if you can make exercising a habit and have realistic goals.

Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Pull Ups

11 Different Types of Pull Ups to Shape Your Back Improve Your Pull Ups

If you do your pull ups by implementing these tips and tricks; you’ll easily do 3 to 4 reps more. Let’s get right to it.

  • Engage Your Body

Before you even start doing pull ups, you have to engage your muscles. Bring your chest forward as you retract your shoulder blades. Engage your core muscles and also activate your glutes by pushing your pelvis slightly forward.

Also, don’t forget to warm up before you do a pull up.

  • Full Range of Motion is Essential

You may not do a full ROM because you want to keep your numbers up. However, doing a full ROM is far more beneficial than some vanity number.

Engage more muscle fibers to make impressive gains. Don’t worry, your pull up numbers will come back fast.

Just hang from the bar with your arms extended, this is the starting position. Engage your muscles and pull yourself up by controlling the whole movement. Slowly get back to starting position.

  • Don’t Forget to Engage your Glutes

So, glutes are lower body, and pull up is an upper-body movement, how come they are linked? Well, it’s normal to assume that.

If you don’t engage your lower body and let it loose; it will feel like dead weight. Engaging your glutes are important to stabilize your lower body.

  • Squeeze Your Muscles

When you are at the top of the movement, your chin needs to be over the bar. At that highest point, squeeze your muscles by gripping the bar tightly and pulling your shoulder blades together.

  • Work On Your Grip Strength

If you want to overall improve your pull ups, you have to also improve your grip strength. Hang from the bar, do active and relaxed hangs to awaken your muscles.

  • Change Up Your Grip

As you’ll see in the next section, we’ll present different types of pull ups. From easy to hard, they are all great for getting lean and muscular. Doing a mix of different grips from wide to narrow can strengthen your weaker muscle fibers and help you make overall strength gains.

Different Types of Pull Ups

Pull Up

Let’s start with the regular pull up. For this exercise your palms need to look forward, it’s called the overhand grip. Your lower traps and lats will get activated more than other pull up exercises.

Most people consider this type as difficult. Well, they are right, it looks easy but it’s not. So, if you are only beginning to do pull ups, use a chair to start this exercise from the top and focus on the negative portion. Slowly but steadily you’ll build enough muscles to do a pull up.

Chin Up

Do chin-ups by making your palms face you and grab the bar shoulder-width apart. This grip is called the underhand grip.

You pull yourself to get your chin over the bar. Don’t jump or swing your legs to get there, engage your glutes and core, pull yourself up, and slowly lower yourself.

Compared to the regular pull ups, chin-ups exercise your biceps and chest also. Just because you engage more muscles, we can say that this is a bit more beginner-friendly exercise.

Narrow Grip Pull Up

Bring your hands closer to do this exercise, it activates your pecs. Some advanced lifters, use extra weight to hit their pecs more efficiently.

Wide Grip Pull Up

A wider grip helps you emphasize your back muscles more than a narrow grip. Depending on the goals, some prefer a normal or narrow grip, but if you want to develop your lats; you have to include wide grip pull ups.

Pull Up Cables

Beginners lack strength and coordination in their muscles. If you want to improve the muscle-mind connection, we strongly recommend you to check the resistance bands below:

Check it Out

Kipping Pull Up

In a regular pull up, it’s advised not to use the momentum but kipping pull up requires you to do so. It’s much easier than a normal pull up due to it.

Hammer Grip

Most pull up bars have a setting that can make your palms face each other. That’s called the hammer grip.

Compared to a pull up it’s easier to do if you want to improve your shoulders you should do this exercise regularly.

Also, just like the chin-ups, this pull up type exercises your biceps.

L Sit Pull Up

Don’t forget about developing your core muscles. L sit up will also strengthen your abs compared to other different types of pull ups.

Keeping your legs straight is the key to properly engage your abs and hip flexors.


Doing muscle-ups are quite challenging. Compared to other pull up types, this exercise also includes your tricep muscles.

To do muscle-ups; pull yourself up and when you reach the top, bring your chest over the bar and push until your waist is at the same height as the bar. Basically, after a pull up you do the dip exercise.

Around the World Pull-Up

Just like the muscle-ups, this exercise is also for advanced lifters. Pull yourself up towards your left hand, at the top of the movement bring your torso to the right and then lower yourself back.

Also, don’t forget to do this exercise in the opposite direction.


In this article, we started off by talking about why you can’t do enough pull ups to some tips and tricks to improve that. Finally, we displayed 11 different types of pull ups to help you improve your physique.

Please let us know in the comments, what’s your favorite type of pull up and why is that your favorite?

Thank you for reading.

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11 Different Types of Pull Ups to Shape Your Back

If you have any feedback, you can reach us out on our e-mail info@shapeutopia.com

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