Crucial Exercises: Bodyweight Pull-Up Variations

1.Bodyweight Pull-up Variations:

One particular exercise a significant proportion of the adult population simply cannot perform is the bodyweight pull-up. If you fall into this category, we’re set to break down the exercise variations available to you so that you can build up your strength in order to complete this particular exercise successfully.

The pull-up itself is a phenomenal exercise for developing both strength and size throughout the upper body. The specific muscles targeted ultimately depend on your grip. An additional bonus in relation to the pull-up is that you need very little in terms of special equipment; all that is required is an overhead bar capable of supporting your bodyweight.

As with most exercises, there are multiple variations of the pull-up that you can perform. Two which are commonly utilized within a gym setting.

2. Wide, Overhand Grip Pull-up:

The first variation of the exercise involves using a wide, overhand grip.

If this particular grip is selected, the large upper back muscle known as the latissimus dorsi takes the majority of the stresses and strains brought about by the exercise. This muscle is responsible for creating the desirable ‘V’-shaped upper body.

Also recruited; but to a lesser extent; are the muscles located within the shoulder and arm region.


  • To complete this exercise you will require an overhead bar.

  • Grasp this overhead bar with wide, overhand grip.

  • Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.

  • At the peak, lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended.

  • This is one repetition. Repeat as required until desirable numbers are achieved.

3. Narrow, Underhand Grip Pull-up:

The alternative to the wide, overhand grip is that of the narrow, underhand grip. Simply by altering your grip positioning, you are completely changing the dynamics and emphasis of the entire exercise. In this alternative position, there is a much greater emphasis placed upon the biceps and forearms region.

4. Bodyweight Pull-ups for Beginners:

Regardless of the bodyweight pull-up variation selected, your core muscles will also be recruited throughout. They aim to lock the core and provide you and your physique with a level of stability. Ultimately, this will prevent any unwanted movements and lateral swaying while you execute the exercise.

One of the major issues with bodyweight pull-ups is that they can appear a little overwhelming and daunting to a large proportion of gym users. Can you successfully complete pull-ups maintaining a good technique throughout? If the answer is no, the next section will consider how you can build up to a full pull-up.

In order to successfully complete a bodyweight pull-up; whether it be a wide, overhand grip or narrow, underhand grip; you require adequate strength in the active target muscles. Any exercises that target the back and arm region (respectively) should allow you to develop the necessary strength to be able to do this.

5. Weight Assisted Pull-Up Machine:

This piece of equipment is now commonly available in most gyms, so look around or ask a member of staff whether this equipment is available to you. These machines allow you to perform the required pull-up techniques while only demanding a percentage of your actual bodyweight to be moved. The machine moves the remaining bodyweight for you. Over a period of time this assistance can be gradually diminished until the requirement for the machine becomes redundant.

Final Word:

Throughout this article, consideration has been given to two commonly utilised exercise variations: the wide, overhand grip and narrow, underhand grip pull-ups. It was also noted that a significant proportion of the adult population struggle to complete a single repetition on each of these pull-up variations. For that reason we have chosen to include several methods by which to develop the necessary strength levels required to do so in the future.

Remember, everything in relation to the gym environment is a never ever journey; you will always be striving to do more in any given exercise. If at this stage of your heath and fitness journey you cannot complete a pull-up then don’t become disheartened, simply keep striving forwards until you reach the desired outcome.

Pull-up exercise is one that has the potential to deliver huge strength and size gains throughout the major muscles of the upper body.

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