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Strength-Training Exercise: The Pull-Up

The pull-up is also a classic upper-body strength builder and the perfect complement to the push-up, because when you push, you must also pull. Although a pull-up is more difficult, you can do one. Even if you can't right now, with some practice, you can do one.

Here's how to do a proper pull-up:


Hang from a bar or a set of rings with a shoulder-width grip.

Make sure your palms are facing away from you for a pull-up. If they're facing toward you, then you're doing a chin-up.


Tighten your whole body by squeezing your butt, bracing your abs, sucking down your shoulders, and bringing your body into a hanging plank position.

Try to create as much space between your shoulders and ears as possible. A hanging plank position, also known as the hollow position, is a straight line from the back of your head down through your tailbone. Just holding the hanging plank position can help tremendously to build the strength needed for a full pull-up.


Pull up by driving your elbows down hard toward your hips.

Don't use any momentum or sway when performing pull-ups. Focus on getting stronger. Try to get your throat against the bar. An even better finish is to get your chest against the bar.


Descend under control and back to a full dead hang position with your elbows fully extended.

Half-reps don't count.

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