Reverse Pull Ups

In this article you will learn about reverse pull ups, including what they are and how to perform them.

Reverse Pull Ups Explained

A reverse pull up, also sometimes referred to as a chin up, is a common feature of many exercise regimes.

It involves the same essential motion as the standard pull up – gripping a bar and pulling oneself up until the chin is above the bar.

However, the key difference in the reverse pull up is the grip of the hands, which are placed with the palms facing the body rather than away as in the standard pull up.

The YouTube video below provides a useful demonstration of this technique for newcomers:

How to do a reverse pull up

To perform a reverse pull up successful follow these steps:

  1. Grasp the exercise bar with the hands facing palm towards the body at the desired width apart (roughly shoulder width is usually recommended for this type of pull up)
  2. Lift yourself up so that you hang from the bar
  3. Breath in and then pull your chest towards the bar, ensuring you keep your body upright and your elbows pointing forward.
  4. Lower your body to the starting position slowly and carefully, exhaling as you do so. Be careful not to place too much stress on the elbow joint by letting it slam as you do so.
  5. Repeat for the number of repetitions required

What do Reverse Pull Ups Work?

Reverse pull ups primarily work:

  • the latissimus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • teres major muscles.

The trapezius and rhomboid muscles can also be exercised when completing the reverse pull up if the individual squeezes their shoulder blades together at the end of the movement which they perform.

However, the whole of the back muscles will not be engaged in the exercise unless the individual remembers to perform this squeezing motion.

This means that should the individual wish to emphasise the muscles in their back it is recommended that they stick to the traditional pull up technique.

However, the reverse pull up is particularly good for building the muscles of the shoulders and arms.

Do Negative Pull Ups Build Muscle?

Negative pull ups are an effective method of building muscle mass and strength, as well as being a great way to build up your ability to perform full pull ups.

Negative exercises are considered ‘eccentric exercises’, which basically means that they lengthen rather than shorten or contract the muscle during its movement.

A lot of research has been conducted over the years on whether this muscle lengthening is as effective at building muscle as muscle shortening and contracting is.

The result is that most studies show they are equally effective, especially if muscle stretching is included in the exercise regime.

Another benefit of performing negative pull ups is that it allows the user to practice and improve their grip strength and endurance, building the muscles in the hands, wrists and lower arms as well as preparing them for future more challenging pull ups to come.

Do Pull Ups Work Back?

The pull up is an excellent form of exercise for building up back muscle, both mass and strength. The pull up is particularly effective in engaging and building the latissimus dorsi – the largest muscle in the back.

The individual can widen or close their grip on the bar they are using the perform the exercise to place even further emphasis on the back muscles should this be an area on which they want to focus.

In particular, using a wide grip allows for a greater stretch of the lats.

To maximise the building of back muscle by performing pull ups it is important that correct technique is employed.

For example, the individual should not swing their legs during the upward part of the pull up motion but ensure they keep their body still.

Should they not do so then the effectiveness of the pull up in building back muscle will be reduced.

Are 10 Pull Ups Good?

If you can perform 10 pull ups you should be very satisfied with yourself.

The pull up is a difficult, arduous exercise to perform.

Bear in mind that most people in the general population would struggle to even perform one pull up!

The passing grade in order for a man to become a US Marine is to be able to perform 3 pull ups.

To be an Army Ranger the individual needs to be able to perform at least 6 pull ups and for a Navy SEAL the minimum required number is 8 reps.

Given these statistics it should be clear that anyone who can perform 10 pull ups is placed in an elite category of the population who are able to perform this number and should be more than happy with their accomplishments.