Benchmark: “Nicole” + 21 Kinds of Pull Ups

Today we look at using different kinds of pull-ups with the goal of developing upper body pulling strength. Pull-ups are a staple exercise, as basic and fundamental as the push up, sit up, and air squat. Gymnasts, soldiers, body builders and prison inmates recognize the simplicity and value of regular and progressive incorporation of the exercise. So with your uncle Vinny in the brink in mind we will take a look at a variety of pull-ups to build awesome strength.


Scap Pull-up
Not only a great warm up exercise but also an important strengthening exercise. This develops the connective tissue and control of the muscles that secure the shoulder girdle to the torso. Furthermore this is an important position for finishing chest to bar pull-ups. Retracting the scaps allow the chest to be pressed through to contact the bar.

Any wide variation both pull up and Chin up will prioritize back muscles, specifically the Lats and teris major. Furthermore developing strength in this position enables an athlete to reduce the overall range of the pull-up allowing a faster turnover of reps during timed events.

Medium or shoulder width grip uses shoulder and back muscles as well as elbow flexor muscles such as the biceps. The shoulder width grip translates to strength in the pulling portion of other exercises such as toes to bar, ring exercises like ring rows, levers, and muscle ups.

Close grip exercises use the back but they also develop elbow flexors such as biceps. Biceps are especially important at the beach but functionally important when lifting any object, such as sand bags, stones, kegs, tires, sledge hammers, slam balls ect.

Core and Tuck Pull-ups
Pull-up exercises that involve the legs are outstanding for developing body control as well as abdominal strength and stability. Strength in these pull-ups translate to better control in toes to bar, ball ups, hollow rocks, dragon flags and levers. “If you wanna be hot sexy, drive a Lamborghini, sip linguini martini fettuccini bikini’s you gotta work bi*#h” – Britney Spears

Isometric hold
Isometric holds in various position are especially important in rock climbing and are a great way of training muscles for a variety of functions more than just pulling. Rock climbers and ninjas know the value of being able to hold positions to rechalk, reach or adjust finger holds and access weapons. Also carries of various sorts such as stones and zercher carries require the athlete to stay tight and contracted in the arms and biceps for extended periods of time. Furthermore utilizing these positions allow an athlete to strengthen a specific portion of the pull-up that may fatigue during WOD’s such as the finish, contact or upper portion. Finally for competitors, strengthening holds is especially important for competitions where the athlete may be required to hang, either in the fully extended position or with the chin over the bar.

Archers and Single arm Jazz
Single arm priority pull-ups of all kind are hard as hell. If you wanna see if your strong or get stronger and you can do some pull-ups start hitting sets of these. Essentially the archers, single arm assists and other exercises are working up to the equivalent of an upper body Pistol. In the field of strength and conditioning for sport such as hockey, soccer, football and others, the pistol squat and variations such as step ups and skater squats are highly effective for building strength and control. This is mainly due to the fact that most sports are played with an emphasis on single leg power. Any running, cutting, sprinting are mainly single leg exercises where one leg does most if not all of the work at a given moment. The single arm pull-ups develop the same single side strength and body control as the pistol only in an upper body format. Furthermore if an athlete has significant imbalances between the extremities only these types of single side priority exercises can both screen for and fix them.

Increased Range of Motion
Increasing range of motion using chest to bar, low chest to bar or belly to bar begins developing strength necessary for muscle ups . For competitive athletes chest to bar pull-ups are a staple of local and national competition. Strict chest to bar and belly to bar pull-ups ensure that the athlete will have adequate strength during high rep kipping versions of the exercise.

Towel/Rope Pull-ups

Towel and rope pull-ups force the athlete to engage the grip in a much different manner. Regular rope climbs challenge the grip because the athlete is fighting to keep the rope from “Sliding” through the hand rather than “Hooking” the hand and fingers over the bar. Using ropes, fat bars or towels develops the grip strength like old time farmers had, no straw hat required.

Ladder Climbs

Its hard, cool, athletic straight up ninja warrior challenge stuff!

Weighted Pullups
Dudes ain’t hella strong until you can do a weighted pull-up with more than 50% of your body weight and ladies more than 30%. The chains add variable resistance that increases in load the further the athlete pulls. Finishing the pull-up with the chin over the bar is often the first portion to fatigue. Using chains focuses on strength in this position. This translates to better chest to bar, more strength in the transition phase of the muscle up and increased overall bad-assery due to the awesome nature of chains.

Butterfly Pull-up

20 Minute AMRAP
400m Run
Max consecutive Pull-Ups

score=max reps

30 Hollow Rocks
30 Sit-ups
30 Plank-ups
30 Jack Knives

Odd- 20/15 Cals on Airdyne
Even- 10 Burpees

10 Stict TTB
5 Ball Ups
15 Kipping Toes to Bar
5 Dragon Flags
20 V-Ups