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How to Master Shoulder Pull-Ups (and Mistakes to Avoid)

    Pull-ups are an exceptionally important part of any exercise routine. This exercise is important to master. It is one of the few for the upper body that helps simultaneously build almost the entire upper body. Getting the technique correct will ensure maximum benefits and reduce injuries. So, here is how to master shoulder pull-ups and mistakes to avoid.

    Mastering the pull-up may seem daunting, especially if you struggle to do even one pull-up. By adopting a few simple techniques and incorporating supplementary exercises to support the muscles needed for pull-ups, you will quickly master the exercise with ease.

    How to Master Shoulder Pull-Ups and Mistakes to Avoid

    You will ensure the ultimate upper body muscle strength by mastering the shoulder pull-up, simultaneously building up your shoulders, back, biceps, and other muscles.

    Proper technique will ensure maximum gains while preventing injury.

    See the products below if you are in a hurry to see the best equipment to help you do pull-ups the right way.

     

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up

    The technique involved for the perfect pull-up is relatively simple in theory.

    By applying it in practice, you will be assured of the ultimate results while avoiding any potential injuries.

    To begin with, grip the bar above you while ensuring your hands remain shoulder-width apart. 

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up2

    With the basic grip, your hands should be facing away from you.

    With your arms fully extended, hang from the bar, bend your legs if they are too long, and drag them on the ground.

    See our post on What are the Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts to help you learn other great ways to build your shoulders.

     

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up3

    Start to pull yourself up while ensuring that you keep your shoulders back and your core fully engaged throughout the entire movement.

    Maintain focus on your upper body muscles, enlisting as many as possible to help pull you upwards.

    Continue pulling your body upwards until your chin is above the bar, and then lower yourself until your arms are fully extended.

    Naturally, there are multiple variations to the pull-up. Still, mastering the simple, classic pull-up will equip you to move toward more complicated alternatives.

    Here are our top three recommended doorway pull-up equipment to buy.

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    AmazeFan Pull Up Bar Doorway with Ergonomic Grip - Fitness Chin-Up Frame for Home Gym Exercise - 2 Professional Quality Wrist Straps + Workout Guide - No Installation Needed(Fits Almost All Doors)
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    KOMSURF Pull up Bar Doorway, Door Pullup Chin up Bar Home, Multifunctional Portable Dip bar Fitness, Exercise Equipment Body Gym System No Screws Trainer
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    CEAYUN Pull up Bar for Doorway, Portable Pullup Chin up Bar Home, No Screws Multifunctional Dip bar Fitness, Door Exercise Equipment Body Gym System Trainer
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    Doorway Size
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    Overall Best
    Preview
    AmazeFan Pull Up Bar Doorway with Ergonomic Grip - Fitness Chin-Up Frame for Home Gym Exercise - 2 Professional Quality Wrist Straps + Workout Guide - No Installation Needed(Fits Almost All Doors)
    Product Name
    AmazeFan Pull Up Bar Doorway
    No Assembly Needed
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    Door Frame Protection
    Doorway Size
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    Preview
    KOMSURF Pull up Bar Doorway, Door Pullup Chin up Bar Home, Multifunctional Portable Dip bar Fitness, Exercise Equipment Body Gym System No Screws Trainer
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    Preview
    CEAYUN Pull up Bar for Doorway, Portable Pullup Chin up Bar Home, No Screws Multifunctional Dip bar Fitness, Door Exercise Equipment Body Gym System Trainer
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    CEAYUN Pull up Bar for Doorway
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    It’s important to remember to recruit your glutes when performing a pull-up.

    It’s also extremely important to ensure that you employ the full range of motion associated with the pull-up. Pull yourself up as high as possible and lower yourself until your arms are fully extended.

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up4

    This will ensure that the maximum number of muscles are engaged while allowing your muscles to stretch out properly within the exercise. It’s also important to break down the movement into parts to ensure optimal results.

    Once you bring your chest up to bar height, pause there for three seconds before starting to lower yourself. Halfway down, pause again briefly before lowering yourself down.

    Try to brace your entire body while performing a pull-up. You can do this by moving slowly and smoothly without any jerky movements.

    Squeeze your muscles, specifically your back muscles, at the top of the movement.

    How to Master the Shoulder Pull Up5

    Squeezing this way will recruit far more muscle fibers, ensuring better results overall.

    Remember to attempt different grips with the shoulder pull-up. The different grips include the wide grip, the narrow grip, and the hammer grip.

    Each of these different grips will allow you to recruit more muscle fibers while helping correct any weaknesses in your technique and smaller muscles.

    It’s helpful to get your body accustomed to the act of hanging to perform the best possible pull-ups.

    It also helps add extra weights to your legs or waist while simply hanging from the bar by your arms. This will prove extremely useful in preparing you to perform pull-ups properly.

     

    The Importance of Mastering the Pull-up

    The Importance of Mastering the Pull-up

    The pull-up is one of the oldest exercises that has stood the test of time. This exercise delivers great results for overall fitness and excellent muscle-building potential if executed correctly.

    The pull-up demands your back muscles, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids.

    The pull-up also emphasizes your arms, potentially focusing on different arm muscles depending on how you grip the bar.

    The Importance of Mastering the Pull-up2

    Additionally, the pull-up builds your core strength to a great degree.

    While the pull-up is a relatively difficult bodyweight exercise, it presents many potential benefits once you can perform it correctly.

    You can avoid several mistakes when adding the pull-up into your exercise routine. You can avoid these by incorporating other exercises that support the muscles and techniques involved in correctly performing the pull-up. Learn more by visiting this post, Build Shoulders Fast.

    You should use the right device when doing a pullup. See below our top three recommended assisted pull-up machines to do your exercises with.

    Preview
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    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower Workout Dip Station for Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
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    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
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    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station Multi-Function Workout Equipment for Home Gym Training Fitness Exercise 8 Levels Adjustable Height
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    Relife Rebuild Your Life Workout Dip Station
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station
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    9 Levels
    6 Levels
    8 Levels
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    7 Positions
    4 Positions
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    Preview
    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower Workout Dip Station for Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Product Name
    Relife Rebuild Your Life Workout Dip Station
    Multi-function
    Ergonomic Design
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    9 Levels
    Backrest Adjustment
    4 Positions
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    Sturdy Construction
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    Preview
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Product Name
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station
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    Height Adjustment
    6 Levels
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    Heavy-duty Construction
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    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station Multi-Function Workout Equipment for Home Gym Training Fitness Exercise 8 Levels Adjustable Height
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    Mistakes to Avoid With the Shoulder Pull Up

    Mistakes to Avoid With the Shoulder Pull Up

    You should avoid several mistakes regarding the proper execution of the shoulder pull-up.

    Firstly, you should always ensure you use the full range of motion with pull-ups.

    A partial range of motion with pull-ups doesn’t allow your lats to lengthen fully, encouraging your arms to do most of the work.

    Do not let your elbows flare outwards while performing a pull-up. If your elbows are flaring outwards, it will prevent the all-important tightening of the back muscles and the depression and retraction of your shoulders.

    Do not hold your body completely straight during pull-ups. You should slightly arch your back, and you should set your shoulders.

     

    Other Upper Body Exercises to Help Master the Pull-up

    Dead-Hang

    There are several exercises you can try.

    These will help you build gradually to the pull-up and allow your body to become used to holding up your weight.

    The dead hang is one such exercise that will prove highly beneficial.

    It’s important to strengthen your back muscles in other ways to help with pull-ups.

    Assisted Pull up Machine

    Bent over double rows and inverted bodyweight rows are two great exercises for this purpose.

    You can also use assisted pull-up machines and resistance bands to strengthen your back muscles in preparation for pull-ups. See more in our post Shoulder Resistance Bands Exercises For Building Big Shoulders.

    Here are our top three recommended resistance bands to buy.

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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands
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    Superior Quality
    Good Quality Exercise Bands
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    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
    One Carry Bag + One Workout Guide.
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    Preview
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop
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    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Five levels
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    Superior Quality
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    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
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    Preview
    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
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    RENRANRING Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
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    Three Levels
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    Good Quality Exercise Bands
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    One Carry Bag + One Workout Guide.
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    Best Price
    Preview
    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Three Levels
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    Premium Quality
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    None
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    Frequently Asked Questions on How to Master Shoulder Pull-Ups

    Shoulder Pullup FAQ

    If you have more questions on pull-ups, look at the FAQs below. 

    What Are the Different Pull-up Types?

    Generally, pull-ups are either the dead hang, constant tension, or the kipping pull-up. Each of these targets different muscles in the arms. 

    What Are the Different Grips for Pull-Ups?

    The three main types of grips used for pull-ups are the underhand grip, the neutral grip, and the overhand grip. 

    Which Muscles Do Pull-Ups Use?

    The main muscles employed in pull-ups are the lats, the teres major, the biceps, the traps, the deltoids, the pecs, and the core.

    Conclusion

    Mistakes to avoid when doing shoulder pull-ups

    We hope you have learned how to master shoulder pull-ups and mistakes to avoid when doing them.

    To master a shoulder pull-up, you must understand the correct technique.

    Equally important is strengthening your back muscles in other ways to ensure you are providing sufficient support for performing the exercise.

    Keep your elbows in the correct position, pull your shoulders back, and employ the full range of motion, and you will be well on your way to performing the perfect pull-up.

    Check out our posts on Cable Shoulder Workouts and how to reduce broad shoulders for females before you go.

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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