Pull-up Routine plus Variations

Complex pull-up routines for a strong back

Pull-up Routine

A Strong Pull-up routine is a good addition to your body weight workouts.

Navy Seal Pull-Up Routine


•Close Grip Pull-Ups

This routine starts out with close grip pull-ups.  Grab the pull-up bar with about 1 inch separating your hands in a forward facing (pronated) grip.  Pull up and hold for a one thousand one count and then back down and hold for the same amount of time.  Do this for three reps and then rest for 30 seconds. 


•Wide Grip Pull-Ups

Place your hands as wide as you can get them on the bar.  Pull up using a forward facing grip until your whole chin is over the bar, then hold for one thousand one and back down for one thousand one.  Do this for 3 reps and remember it’s only a completed rep if your whole chin remains above to bar for a true one thousand one count.  Rest for 30 seconds,


•Close Grip Chin-Ups

Grab the bar underhanded (supinated) with your hands touching each other.  Pull up until your whole head is above the bar and hold for one thousand one release back down and hold for the same count.  Perform three reps and after that rest for 30 seconds. 


•Behind the Neck Pull-Ups

Use a forward facing grip with your hands just outside of shoulder width.  Pull yourself up until the top of your vertebrae touches the bar.  Hold for one thousand one and release back down for another one thousand one count.  Repeat two more times and rest for 30 seconds. 


•Regular Grip Chin-Ups

Place your hands to where they line up just outside of your face and then pull up until your chin is over the bar for a one thousand one count and then back down to hold for the same.  Then repeat for three full reps. 


•Mountain Climber or Commando Pull-Up

Face the bar as usual then turn to 3 o’clock making sure your head is directly under the bar.  After this, grab the bar as you would a baseball bat.  Pull up to the left side hold and then back down.  Then pull up to the right side hold and back down.  Make sure you get your ear above the bar; this is one rep.  Do three of these and rest.  


•The Negative Pull-Up

Grab the bar with a regular shoulder width grip and start at the top of the pull-up.  When lowering come down slowly with a five count and then back up to the top.  Hold for one thousand one and repeat.  Do these until burnout to finish off the routine with a killer burn.  If you really want to finish strong and you’re able, add a weighted belt to your waist while performing this.

If after doing this routine you aren’t gassed, up the rep number to five for each exercise or do it again with three reps.


Never Done a Pull-Up? Here is a good way to start a Pull-up Routine


The starting block to your first pull-up is


•Grip Strength

You might think working on grip strength is tedious but it’s important.  You want to do this for five minutes total.  Grab the pull-up bar and hold with your arms fully extended for 20 seconds, that’s one set.  Do 10 sets of these and allow 10 seconds rest in between each set. 


•Active Hang

The active hang is done with the arms fully stretched hanging from the bar holding a frontal grip just outside of your shoulders’ width.  Pull-up slightly so your chest muscles are flexed and your shoulder blades are almost touching.  Do this for 30 seconds and three sets at first.  When that becomes too easy, up it to one minute and see how far you can go with it. 


•Negative Pull-Up

Use a bench or a chair to help you up onto the bar.  Get a good grip and lower yourself down for close to a five-count for five reps.  When you can do five reps of those then it’s time for the Big L.  This is done by lifting your legs to a 90-degree angle and doing the same negative pull-ups for five reps.  The final aspect of these will be the weighted negative pull-up, and this one will have you primed to knock out regular pull-ups tomorrow, but we’re not done.


•Jump Pull-Ups

This is a simple one here.  Jump up, grab the bar, and pull yourself up.  Make sure your chin fully elevates over the bar.  For this one make sure you come down at a moderate speed.  Not too slow not too fast.


•Partial or Half Pull-Up

For this one you want to jump and pull yourself up with your head above the bar, then lower you’re your body down to the halfway mark and back up again.  These can be done at a faster pace if you are able. 


•Inverted Rows

Get under a Smith Machine and grab the bar a little wider than shoulder width.  Pull your chest up to the bar while squeezing your shoulder blades.  Make sure you lead with our chest and not your abdomen. 


•Lat Pull Downs

If you have access to a Lat Machine then grab the bar wider than shoulder width.  Pull down in a controlled fashion.  This will prime your back and shoulder muscles to do a pull-up. 


•Dumbbell Pull Over

Lie flat on the ground with a dumbbell over your head on the ground at arm’s length.  Grab the weight with one hand up and lift it from the ground up to just past your face with your arm raised above your head.  This will contract your lats and get them ready for the pull-up movement.  Do these with both arms for three sets of five using a moderate weight for you.  You can also do these with two hands.  It is very important that you keep your body straight on the ground with your abs pulled in, 


•Don’t Forget to Stretch

Stretching is always important before exercise and when doing a pull-up routine, that rule doesn’t change.  Make sure you are stretching your arms, shoulders, back, neck, and core before you get into your routine.  


In addition to your Pull-up Routine, make sure you do your Push-ups for a strong core!