Get The Most Out Of Your Body Weight Weightlifting: Pull Ups, A Form G | MuscleSquad

icon Feb 01, 2022 - Lewis Kite

Get The Most Out Of Your Body Weight Weightlifting: Pull Ups, A Form Guide For All Levels

There are a few exercises that people who are new to training already know about, push-ups, sit-ups, and of course, pull-ups. They’re a staple in the fitness industry, yet they’re an exercise that is notorious for incorrect form, which often leads to stalled progression and frustration.

In this article, I’ll be going through common form mistakes and progressions for all experience levels, from the very beginner who has that goal of “one full pull-up” to the advanced that are looking for ways to tweak their form to continue progress.

The best way to determine what’s classified as the ideal form is to first look at the muscles the pull-up works.
The pull-up predominantly adds back width through the development of the Lattisimus Dorsi. Subsequently, due to its mechanics, it builds size in the biceps as a secondary muscle group.

Common Mistakes

The first issue that gym-goers tend to have when doing pull-ups is letting their bodies drift away from the pull-up bar. This makes it harder for the largest muscles of the back to work efficiently and places a lot more strain on the biceps. I find that staring straight up diagonally towards the ceiling reduces the tendency for this to happen and allows the lats to do what they’re made for, which is adduction (or bringing the arm to the side).

Another issue is rocking and swaying during multiple pull-ups. This is a combination of letting the body drift away from the bar and lack of control during the lowering of the body. There are two ways you can fix this. It’s best for the beginner to just lightly touch your foot on the ground to stop the swaying, or you can reset completely. For the advanced, simply spending an extra second at full stretch should reduce the swaying and strengthen your grip and increase time under tension on the muscles.

Those are the two main form mistakes I’ve seen with the pull-up. A lot of other pull-up issues you may have come across can usually be fixed by simply getting stronger and proficient in the movement. So let’s get into some progression steps to get you pumping out multiple reps!

Corrective Exercises

Lat Pull Down

This is the first place I’ll send a client before we even get onto a pull-up bar. If you don’t have access to a pulldown attachment for your power rack, it’s super easy to create one with some resistance bands and attach either directly above with a seat below or lying face down and attaching it in front and replicating the movement. It’s a great exercise to strengthen the lats and as close as you can get to the movement without the stability and momentum issues previously mentioned. Focus on the cue of looking to the ceiling and getting your elbows down to your sides. Don’t worry about how far the bar goes. Try to get it just below your collarbone.

Band Assisted Pull-Ups

What better way to perfect the pull-up than doing a pull-up? Albeit with a little help. Band-assisted pull-ups are great because they are specific and provide assistance when you’re at the hardest part of the pull-up (full arm extension). To set it up, all you have to do is connect a resistance band based on your level of assistance (largest band for more support, smaller band for the least). Tie the resistance band onto itself on the centre of the pull-up section of your power rack and pull it down towards you where you can either loop it around your knees or feet if you have the flexibility and reach up to the bar, and you’re good to go!

When it comes to these, it is important you keep your hips in line with the rest of your body. It’s easy for the band to force the hips out behind you, so be sure to keep your body as straight as possible.


So there you have it. Hopefully, you’ve learned a few key points to get the most out of your pull-ups and a couple of exercises to help you perfect your form. They’re a great exercise that can be performed almost anywhere, and the size and width they can add to your back are up there with the best!

  • Mar 16, 2023 - JY Sharif

    5 Ways To Break Through Weight Training Plateaus

    Progression in any pursuit is never linear, at the start of the journey you may see progress with every session and constant improvement, which provides you with the rewarding feeling keeping you coming back week after week. There will always come the point where that rapid progression halts and you reach your first plateau. This is the point that separates the wheat from the chaff, majority of people will hit this first wall, get discouraged and give up. On the other hand, those who persevere and push through this stage are the ones who will achieve their goals and attain mastery in their given pursuit. In this article, we will discuss how YOU can overcome training plateaus and provide 5 strategies you can implement to get you back on track and progressing once again!

    Read More icon
  • Mar 10, 2023 - JY Sharif

    Top 4 Myths About Weightlifting

    Weightlifting is a popular form of exercise that has many health benefits, including increased strength, improved bone density, and a reduced risk of chronic disease. However, there are several myths surrounding weightlifting that can discourage people from trying it or cause them to use incorrect techniques. In this article, we will explore 4 of the most common myths about weightlifting and help dispel these myths so you can feel more comfortable to start your weightlifting journey or whenever you hear these myths in discussions you can be better equipped to tackle those conversations.

    Read More icon
  • Oct 25, 2022 - Chris Billingham

    Types Of Strength Training – Part 4 - Endurance

    Think of your endurance as your battery; it's similar to other words, such as stamina. It is literally your body's physical capability and limits whether in an environment where you're exercising or not. Yet keep in mind there are still differences between stamina and endurance. The more technical difference...

    Read More icon

Leave a comment: