How to Do a Proper Pull-Up

Have you ever tried to do pull-ups as a part of your workout routine and, no matter how hard you tried, you failed miserably?

Well, you are not alone! Believe it or not, pull-ups can be challenging to accomplish. Even more so if you are not doing them correctly. Doing the proper pull-up can mean the difference between success and injuring yourself, setting you back even further.

Pull-ups are an excellent way to work your core and to build up your upper body strength. The one thing that many people fail to realize is that it takes time to build-up to the place where you can do them.

If you’re a beginner at these exercises, then you can’t jump in head-first and expect to do a proper pull-up. It takes time, dedication, and practice to do it right and to see the results you’re expecting to see. It is important to start with the basic moves and then move into full-fledged pull-ups when you’re ready. This isn’t a race to the finish line, it’s a marathon that everyone finishes at different times.

The one thing to be careful of above all else is having the ability to pace yourself. It is important to pay attention to your body and don’t work it too hard. If you do, you will be out of commission and not exercising at all, much less doing a proper pull-up. With that in mind, keep on reading to find out how to do a proper pull-up at the right pace. Ready? Set? Let’s get started!

Start with Beginner’s Moves

The beginner’s moves below will get you headed in the right direction. Remember to use caution and take your time perfecting each move.

Flexed Arm Hangs

You’re not going to be able to do a proper pull-up until you build the strength up in your shoulders and arms. That’s where starting with flexed arm hangs comes in handy.

You will first want to grab a box and put it under the pull-up bar. You will then lift yourself up until your chin is over the bar. You will hang that way with your elbows flexed for as long as you are comfortable doing so. You will then slowly let yourself back down onto the box underneath you. Increase how often and how long you can do this task slowly, as you build up your way to doing pull-ups.

Do Some Dead Hangs

Doing dead hangs is another way to build up your arm strength and work your way up to doing pull-ups. It works a lot as flexed arm hangs. The only difference is that you pull yourself up an inch, while you pull your elbows to your side as you pull up.

Once this step is complete, bend your knees until they come up entirely off the box that you placed under the bar. Hold this for as long as it is comfortable for you to do so, then let yourself down. One important side note, your shoulder should not raise at all during this exercise. If they do, then you need to build more strength in your arms before you can move to during real pull-ups.

Practice Lowering Your Body Slowly

Lowering your body when attempting to do a pull-up can take quite a bit of practice as well. You need to practice lowering your body with a chair nearby, just in case you fall. You need to be an expert at lowering your body before you move onto an actual pull-up. Do this exercise every day. If you find yourself plummeting too fast every time,  then you are not ready for pull-ups.

Set a Schedule

It’s important to focus on one aspect of doing pull-ups every day until you have it perfect. It’s best to start with hanging exercises every day, then transition into body lowering the after a day or two. As you start to feel more comfortable combine the two until you’re comfortable enough to do a proper pull-up.


How to Do a Proper Pull-Up

While it’s not easy to do a proper pull-up, it can be done after you have learned the above steps. The steps to do this pull-up are listed below for when you’re comfortable enough to try them.

• Start by grabbing the bar with your palms down
• Hang to the bar with your legs off the floor and your arms straight
• Now, pull yourself up by pointing your elbows towards the floor
• Go up all the way until your chin is over the bar
• Then lower your body until your arms are straight

These are the steps to doing a proper pull-up, but as a beginner, you need to start with the simple exercises discussed at the beginning of this guide. It’s important not to forget that people can get hurt when doing pull-ups. Whether it’s from falling, pulling a muscle, or hurting their back because they aren’t using proper form. In our next section, we are going to discuss the proper safety precautions you should take when doing pull-ups of any kind.

Safety Precautions to Take

As with any other type of exercise, there are precautions you should take with pull-ups as well. Knowing the precautions prior to starting any new workout regimen is an important and necessary step to take.


Consult with Your Primary Health Care Provider First

You should never start a new workout plan without consulting your primary health care provider first, even if it is just a few simple pull-ups. Talk to him about any existing arm, shoulder, neck, or back problems.

Your doctor will let you know if he thinks that this type of workout plan is the best choice for you and your health. Once you get the all-clear, you can start learning to do the proper pull-up with no worries and a clean bill of health.

It may also be tempting to jump to reach the bar when you first start learning, but that is the wrong thing to do. It prevents you from strengthening the right muscles and could end in an accident or injury. You should also limit your pull-ups to two to three times per week to avoid muscle strain. Instead of doing them every day or back-to-back days, you will want to take a rest day in between.

This concludes our blog on how to do a proper pull-up and a few other tips and reminders that will keep you safe. Remember, while doing a pull-up isn’t easy if you stick with it the rewards are amazing. Happy Exercising, everyone!


  1. Mehdi,, How to do Pull-ups with Proper Form: The Definitive Guide, Informative Article
  2. Andrew Reed, Women and Pull-Ups: 3 Secrets for Success You’ve Probably Never Tried, Informative Article
  3. Anthony Thomas, How to Do a Proper Pull-Up Routine, Informative Article