6 Most Effective Types of Pull-ups

Types of Pull-ups

Pull-ups are one of the supreme ways of training the back and people often think that the only way to make it harder is through adding more and more reps to it. But as discussed in many of the previous blogs like Different Types of Push-ups for Different Muscles, adding more reps is effective only to a specific point, then it is actually counterproductive.

This blog will give the “TOP 6 TYPES OF PULL-UPS” which will provide you the maximum strength and muscle gains as it will provide greater stimulus to your back muscles.

[NOTE:-I will strongly suggest that you check out this blog Pull-ups: Benefits, Technique and Beginner Guide before proceeding further because it will teach you the necessary details required to perform the normal/standard pull-ups correctly. Otherwise jumping straight into these advanced skills will have a high probability of causing severe injuries.]

(1) Weighted Pull-ups

Among all the types of pull-ups, the first one has to be the weighted pull-ups because it is the easiest to incorporate in your training, though challenging your muscles and the load can also be customized as per your level. Just you have to do the pull-ups by adding extra weight on your body, you can do it by wearing a pull-up weight belt, a bag full of books, etc.

Gradually increase the weight you are adding. It is also very essential to learn this pull-up earlier than the below mentioned variations because it will make your joints stronger for the upcoming unilateral and harder variations.

(2) L-sit Pull-ups

L-sit pull-ups are one of the greatest types of pull-ups for your back and also come with additional benefits like increases your mobility and extra abs work. How? Again you have to get in the pull-up position but this time you have to raise your legs straight in front of your body(Legs parallel to the ground), so that your body makes an L shape and keep this position locked throughout the movement.

When you raise your legs automatically you are stretching your back muscles more because it increases the distance between your lats(Latissimus Dorsi) origin and insertion.

[NOTE:-i) Never arch your lower back, by doing so you will decrease the lat stretch, core activation and also degrade the mechanism of the exercise. Always keep a PPT(Posterior Pelvic Tilt) which means keeping your core engaged by squeezing your abs and glutes.

ii) If you are not able to perform this movement, do not think that the strength is the only factor, limited mobility in your quads and not enough core strength are also key factors, because of which you are not able to raise and keep your legs straight and in front of you or getting a lot of cramps in doing so.] 

Pro Tip:-Following ways will definitely help you to progress up to this exercise if you are not able to do this properly:

(i) Instead of keeping your legs straight, you can bend your knees so that your legs form an inverted L shape. By shortening the lever, the exercise automatically gets easier as you limit the abs activation and the legs(Quads) mobility required.

(ii) As you become stronger, you can start straightening out your legs more and more.

(iii) Work on your quads mobility so that you can keep your legs straight without getting cramps in it and increase your core strength so that you can easily raise your legs.

(3) Archer Pull-ups

Unilateral(One-sided dominant) training is the most neglected and yet the most important type of training which prevents muscle imbalances and stabilizes the strength in both the dominant and non-dominant side of yours.

Archer pulls-ups are a type of pull-ups which will solve this problem as it is also a form of unilateral movement. Take a too wide grip on the pull-up bar and start pulling yourself up from one hand/side while keeping the other hand straight and locked out which is just providing you the support and come back down nice and slow.

The more your assisting hand/non-working hand is straight, spread out and far from your body, the harder the movement gets. This type of pull-up can also be modified further by just pulling yourself completely with one hand. 

(4) Explosive Pull-ups

Explosive training is an indication of a well-trained body. Explosive pull-ups activate more and deeper muscle fibers i.e., fast twitch muscle fibers which are responsible for the explosive movement for your body and hence increases the force production capacity.

In this type of pull-up, all you have to do is pull yourself as high and explosively as possible, eventually pulling your body up to your waist line while doing pull-ups. This will also provide your back muscles a great stimulus/load due to a greater ROM(range of Motion) as the distance of your pulling is increasing.

Pro Tip:-Explosive strength is the key to perform this exercise but there are also few things which will help you to produce a greater force production:

(i) Always think of touching your waist line to the bar while pulling. This will automatically help you get higher. At the beginning, you can start with thinking about touching your chest lower line.

(ii) Having a false grip(Overhand grip in which your wrists are not straight but a bit angular because you are grabbing the bar more deep in your hands) may also help. 

(5) Slow Pull-ups

Slowing down the tempo of any exercise will help you increase the time under tension of the muscle which helps you to recruit more and more muscle fibers.

In this type of pull-up, it is always recommended to slow down the pace of the eccentric/negative phase(When you are coming down/not exerting force) as it is proven to do more muscle damage. Ideally 3-5 seconds during the negative phase is best. Eventually, you can also slow down the concentric phase(When you are pulling/exerting force) as well.

(6) Pause Pull-ups

Pausing also helps you to recruit more muscle fibers due to the same principle, time under tension. Adding a pause of about 3-5 seconds at the most difficult part of the exercise, which is generally at the top or mid position of the pull-up increases your strength, muscle and min-muscle connection.

[NOTE:-Do not try to incorporate all the above mentioned types of pull-ups at one time thinking that it will produce more effect. Only try, learn and build strength in one type of pull-up and then if you want you can modify it. Always remember, your body needs time to adapt to the exercise.]


In a nut shell, just by making a few adjustments in your body alignment or your way of pulling will automatically improve your upper body strength and muscle. So what are you waiting for, implement one of these effective variations of pull-ups and reap great benefits.

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