First, a little test. hop up and grab onto a pull up bar with your palms facing forward (Pull up style). Can you keep your ribcage down and your back flat while hanging? If so, then you probably have the full range of motion overhead. Congrats! For those of us who aren’t there yet, it’s all good! Just head over to the mobility section and work on your shoulder, elbow and upper back mobility with a few daily moves.  For many, the pull- up is a hard exercise to do. The reason being is either a lack of mobility or a lack of strength and gets avoided like the plague, however, those who have mastered it can attest that pull ups can deliver a lot of fast progress and improvement in overall strength if done correctly not to mention a great self-confidence boost!

Movement Sequence

Place your hands just outside of the shoulders on the bar above you. From a hanging position, create the external rotational force (tension) in your shoulders (think of bending the bar). Then, engage your core and keep your glutes activated to keep your trunk braced and stable. If you could see yourself in a mirror you should see that your back is flat and your hands are stacked over your shoulders and you would be making a little bit of a C shape. The next step is pull yourself up on the bar while maintaining the tension, engaged core, and activated glutes.  As you have likely noticed with the other exercises, nothing changes as you return back to the starting position other than a reversal of the movement. Maintain the flat back, engaged core, activated glutes and the external rotation in the shoulders.

Breathing: Make sure that you exhale as you pull yourself up. Exhaling will help further engage your core and make you more stable throughout the movement. Additionally purposeful breathing can help you create a routine that helps you maximize your oxygen which will be a deciding factor in how many reps you are able to complete. Exhale as you rise and Inhale as you lower and cycle through that pattern. 


  • Chest Supported Row
  • Inverted Row
  • Pull Up
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Barbell Bent Over Row
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Assisted Pull Up