Selen Dar

Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

Hey what’s up guys, Sean Nalewanyj here,
thanks for tuning into this video, and in today’s video I’m going to be outlining
5 common mistakes that I see people making in the gym when it comes to basic overhand
pull ups, as well as how to correct them so that you can maximize the stimulation and
the growth of your lats. So pull ups do seem like a very simple exercise at first glance,
but if your goal is to really target your lats as effectively as possible then there
are several important things that you do need to keep in mind, so let’s go over them.
Pull Up Form Mistake #1 is excessive use of momentum. So there are many different methods
that people use to basically “cheat” themselves over the bar on this exercise. This includes
swinging the legs, torso and chin forward and back to gain momentum first before pulling
up with the arms and this is also known as “kipping”. Another is raising the knees
toward the chest on the way up. And there’s also, basically free falling on the negative
portion using nothing but gravity before springing back up into the top position. Now if you’re
still working on your pull up strength and you’re just not able to perform them under
strict control at the moment, then using a little bit of momentum at the start is fine
until you get a bit stronger. However, if you do have the strength right now to perform
controlled pull ups without the use of momentum using at least your body weight, then that’s
what you need to be doing. Stop worrying about how much weight you can strap on to your waist
or how many specific reps you can perform and just do them correctly first and foremost.
So that means pulling yourself up in a straight up and down motion without swinging your legs
or your upper body and without raising your knees out in front of you. It means pausing
very briefly in the fully contracted top position, and then lowering yourself under strict control
for a good 2-4 second negative before pulling yourself back up again. Using excessive momentum
might make your numbers look good on paper, but all it really does is activate other surrounding
muscles that you aren’t trying to target, and in some cases it will also increase your
risk for injury as well. Pull Up Form Mistake #2 is using a partial range of motion. So
if you want to get the very most out of your pull ups, then cranking out little “half
reps” where your chin doesn’t even come close to the bar and where your arms are nowhere
near fully extended at the bottom position, that’s not going to be the best way to go
about it. The basic goal of any exercise that you perform in the gym when you’re trying
to gain muscle is to safely take the targeted muscle from a fully lengthened position into
a fully shortened position, and in order to do that, you need to train using a full range
of motion on every lift. So when it comes to proper pull up form, that’s going to mean
raising yourself up until your chin is just over the bar (or very close to it), and lowering
yourself down just short of fully extending your arms. Pull Up Form Mistake #3 is positioning
your elbows too far out in front of your body. When you perform your pull ups with your elbows
too far out in front of your body, what you end up doing is taking a good portion of the
stress off of your lats and shifting it onto your biceps, your brachialis and your forearm
muscles instead. So in order to hit your lats as effectively as possible, focus on keeping
your elbows pointed out to your sides and more in line with your shoulders. From there,
as you pull yourself up, drive your elbows down and back and imagine that you’re trying
to shove your elbows into your back pockets. This one basic shift will make sure that it’s
your lats that are performing the bulk of the work rather than your arm flexors and
your forearms. Pull Up Form Mistake #4 is internally rotating your shoulders. When you
internally rotate your shoulders and shrug them upward toward the top half of the pull
up movement, all you’re really doing is placing unnecessary stress on your rotator
cuff, your traps as well as other surrounding muscles while minimizing the tension on your
lats. So instead, right from the bottom position of the very first rep, actively pull your
shoulders down and back and keep them there for the entire set, and then from there lead
with your chest as you pull yourself up. Practice this one and get it nailed down and you’ll
notice an immediate improvement in how well you’re able to “feel it” in your lats
any time you perform your pull ups. And Pull Up Form Mistake #5 is pulling with your hands
rather than through your elbows. Now this one is more of an added tip as opposed to
an actual blatant mistake, but just like every pulling exercise that you perform for your
back, you should always be focusing on pulling the resistance using your elbows rather than
with your hands. Now I won’t bother demonstrating this particular tip because you won’t be
able to see it in a video anyway, but basically you just want to imagine that your hands and
your forearms don’t even exist, and then instead of thinking about pulling your body
upward towards the pull up bar, instead focus on driving your elbows down and towards the
floor. The lats are one of the trickiest muscles on the body to really develop a strong mind-muscle
connection to, and “pulling through your elbows” is one of the best training cues
out there for minimizing stress on the forearms and the arm flexors and maximizing the stress
on the lats. So if you want to get the very most out of this exercise and build up your
lat size and strength as effectively as possible, then make sure to employ all of the tips we
just covered in this video and I guarantee that you’ll notice a big improvement during
your back workouts. Pull ups are definitely one of the very best lat exercises out there,
but only if you execute them properly. So thanks a lot for watching this video lesson,
I hope you found the information useful here today. If you want to get a ton of other simple
but highly effective training, nutrition and supplementation tips to help you build muscle
and burn fat at your maximum potential, make sure to head over to
and grab my complete “Body Transformation Blueprint” System by clicking the icon at
the top of the video or using the link in the description box below. If you did enjoy
the video, as always, please make sure to hit the LIKE button, leave a comment and subscribe
to stay up-to-date on future videos. And make sure to check out my official blog over at for all of my latest articles, tips and other updates. Talk to you again

100 thoughts on “Proper Pull Up Form: 5 Key Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Hey, I have a question.  You may have gone over this in a different video, but many people/trainers say that exploding up from the down position (as with many other exercises) is key in developing strength.  On the contrary, you stress the need for control and slow movements with the pull ups. Which way is optimal?

  2. you never want your elbows to be flared out , flaring them doesnt work the lats more it works the shoulder more ans hurts it as well as hurting your elbows

  3. Oh man! What a relief that i found your channel, gonna be doing pull ups on my workout routine soon. Very good description on what to do and how to do it. Thank you so much.

  4. Hey buddy a few months back my tailbone starts to hurt when I'm doing pull ups. I stopped for about 3 weeks or so my tailbone got better. I just realised that when I do my pull ups my head is tilting to the left side and the left arm is abit lower than the right. Do you think this might be the cause of my tailbone pain?

  5. Hey Sean! Could you please go into more detail about how kipping could injure you? I see crossfitters kip all the time but they usually get injured in their knees so I'm wondering whether its okay to kip on the last couple reps just to get em in. Love your vids, man!

  6. hey dude, I appreciate the info, with all the respect, and I'm not hating, but you stole the exact same video from the 5 pull up mistakes of buff dudes, even the "back pocket trick"……. they are exactly the same

  7. Juan – You have replies turned off. The "back pocket" cue is standard among coaches and you'll read it all over the place. They most definitely did not come up with that originally. The information in this video is very basic and foundational and there are millions of fitness videos on YouTube so of course you're going to see some overlap and similarities.

  8. Wow thank you so much for this video!!! There are plenty of videos on youtube about how to do a pull up but they never really helped me. By showing me what is correct and what is incorrect, I think I finally know how a proper pull up should look like. I always felt like I was using more my arms than my lats while doing pull ups. With your tips I'm sure my technique will get better soon :)) BIG THANKS to you!

  9. I recently changed lat pulldowns to pullups in my routine. Usually I'd perform 3 sets of 8 lat pulldowns, but now I can only do 3 sets of 3-5 reps for pullups. Am I still getting a good lat workout? Or was I better off just getting them lat pull downs in?

  10. I don't agree with mistake number 3, if you don't force an external rotation on your shoulder you can damage your acromion over time, so by doing that external rotation you put your elbows in front of your body, which may take some work from your lats to your biceps but on the long run it keeps you from harming yourself.

  11. 2-4 second negatives are not necessary. As long as one goes down in a controlled manner, one should be fine. That equates to about 1-2 seconds

  12. 2-4 seconds on a negative is good… if you're going for strict muscle building, if you're going for max reps I say have the negative as long as it took you to pull yourself up. However there is no right and wrong when it comes to the negative time, its more of just an opinion.

  13. Bro, what if some one has an injured shoulder but still wishes to develop good lats and deltoids?
    I dislocated my shoulder 3 times while playing basketball. I have a decent strenght and a decent physique but I am weak at my shoulders.
    I would be really grateful if u could help me.

  14. Thank you for your infos +Sean Nalewanyj … but i would ask you if it's better cross or not to cross the legs? Because the back works in a different way if I cross my legs or not and so i would know what is the better way. 🙂

  15. When doing narrow grip chin up, my elbows are always in front of my body, am I doing it wrong like you've said in mistake #3? Or it's natural to have elbows in the front when doing chin-up?

    Great video Sean, thank you very much!

  16. I've heard the "back pocket" cue before but it never made sense until I saw this. Now I know it's to keep your elbows out instead of forward. Thanks!

  17. thanks for the tips about pulling toward your back pocket and leading with your chest. I'm going to try those things and I think it will help a lot.

  18. Hey great Video but i have a question im rather tall like 6'3 and i do my pull ups inward and struggle doing them outwards like in the video, My question is which is a better technique? And what areas should i be working out to improve my pullups? thanks

  19. I love your videos: No bullshit, clear advice, great examples… you're one of the few people I like to introduce clips such like this to others.

  20. thanks a lot for this vid, this was really useful, I was making 3 mistakes, rolling shoulders near the end of the sets when it was getting tough, the angle of my elbows was wrong and I tend lift my knees up from time to time…..that and I was grabbing the angled bars all the way at the end of the bar and called it a pull up, I thought those were for pull ups, I was doing the harder version lol, no wonder it was so tough, the ones here in the vid should be much easier.

  21. Thanks for the video. I have a ? I can do 10 pull ups with ex form for 4 sets but when I tried to improve my rep numbers I tend to do some of the mistakes mentioned here. I don't know how to let's say do 15 reps with the correct form. Looking for tips other than just tying to do more pull ups

  22. I have done a lot of pull ups with bodyweight and with addional added weight. But i have done it allways full range of motion. I start every rep from steady dead hang and start the rep by engaging shoulder blades first and then start the pulling motion. Do you think it is better not to start from deadhang in every rep?

  23. i have a question, does the angle of your elbows matter? i always position my elbows about 45 degree from my body, but i usually see some people do pull ups with their elbows completely straight with their body, is there a right and wrong way to position your elbows?

  24. For those who are struggling with pull ups or just starting and find them too difficult one tip got me going. Use a chair to stand up on and just do the lowering part of the move then step back up, step off and lower as slowly as you can. You will be able to do many more reps this way but it still builds all the right muscles. After a few weeks of doing these everyday you'll be well on your way to doing them unassisted with good form.

  25. incrível… Os 5 erros que ele mostrou estavam errados msm… mas quando ele demonstrou "corretamente", ele estava fazendo errado… incrível… a ignorância é uma bênção!

  26. Did you lock out your arms in the demo videos of your pull-ups or did you bend elbows slightly at, let's say, 2-4 degrees?

  27. Question. Is there a difference between using a grip where both thumbs are over the bar, as demonstrated in this video as opposed to a grip where your thumbs are under the bar, like if you were going across some monkey-bars?

  28. So when it comes to actually gripping the bar, you shouldn't grip with your whole hand but actually apply the grip just where the fingers start? Because when I hold the bar tightly with my entire palms/fist it seems to activate other back muscles, but I don't know which method is the best , or even "correct" one.

  29. I can do pullup in first set 6, set 2 5, set 3 4, set4 4, I' rest between set 1 minutes.

    Should I do more set or stay at 4 set.

  30. A couple of questions. I try and balance pull ups and chin ups to work chest and back evenly. Also, regarding hand grip, you say try to pull from elbows rather than hands, but is it important to have a firm grip or be more relaxed in the hands. I find the firmer my grip the less stress there is on my ligaments in elbows and shoulders. Any comments?

  31. I raise myself up until my chin is over the bar, but when I lower myself down, i don't fully extend my arms, for two reasons. First one is that i can perform more pulls ups when extending to 150 degrees instead of 180 degrees, keeping my shoulders active (I'm a beginner). The second reason is because I have heard that going all the way down may harm the shoulders. So is the way I am doing the pull ups wrong? In this case, can I at least continue this way of doing pull ups until i get stronger?

  32. Hey Sean, so lately I've been trying my best to fix all of my mistakes when it comes to form for the exercises that I do in the program that I'm following. One of these exercises is pull ups but I have been struggling to keep my shoulders back during this movement as well as during my deadlifts and a few other exercises since I have developed rounded shoulders over time. I have been doing more back/postural exercises both with my lifting and outside of it but I would really like to know if it's a good choice to continue doing these exercises so long as I work to fix this issue over time, even if that means I can't do as many reps or lift as much weight. Thanks!

  33. Sean, how do you feel about the assisted pull-up machine? Will that machine help someone who can't do 1 "real" pull-up get stronger at them? I've done lat pulldowns, rows etc for years and I still can't do a single pull-up. Should I start using the assisted pull-up machine?

  34. How do I do them? I've got a door bar with like soft grips and I can't have my elbows out that easy when I do them, my elbows are forward more than to the side

  35. i hate how lats are so hard to target i will never be able to do a one arm pull ups if i cant get my lats to work i trained for 6 months and still dont feel lats i even try with proper form my biceps are always giving up first

  36. I have a problem and I hope anyone who is a pro at pull ups can help me.
    When I do a pull up, my chest would arc and I look like a bent ruler. I just started out but I have the strength to do 6 proper pull ups at once(Except for the chest problem). I don't know if the chest problem is bad form and I hope you can explain it to me. Thank you for reading.

  37. Hey Sean, I'm up to 15 rep on my overhand pull ups….would you recommend switching to lat pulldowns for heavier weight or sticking with the pull ups?
    Great video btw!!!

  38. I have slumped so much I can`t tell when I`m standing straight. Making use of posture treatment “doso shocking guide” (Google it) only couple of days has helped me a lot. It isn`t too hard to follow all measures. It has helped me stand up straighter. The guide works well, only been using for a week.

  39. Help! as you said at the top of the movement i shrug my shoulders forward, but when i retract them at the bottom and i go to the top they get shrugged again, even if i try to keep them back i can't

  40. ”Doso shocking guide” posture treatment (check it on Google) claims that it keeps your shoulder and back straight, and it is certainly correct. The job I have requires it and I have definitely looked better. Recommended if you`re searching for something to assist you to maintain correct posture.

  41. now that i know how to do them correctly..i can only do 4 lol. gotta start somewhere (neck/arm injury from accident)

  42. Great video which I hope will help with my struggle with this exercise. I try my best to keep good form but never feel any tension in my lats, only biceps, forearms and traps/shoulders, which always ache after doing pull-ups. I just can’t seem to get the “mind muscle” connection on my lats. Is this a common problem?

  43. Hi Sean, if I do dead lifts do I need to do pull ups? Am I missing/losing out on anything if I don't do them? I think there are too many exercises in my routine and I want to remove unnecessary exercises.

  44. It’s my opinion that chin-ups are far more superior for lat activation than what pull-ups are. Plus as an added bonus, they hit the arms more too. This could just be an individual thing, but I’ve done heaps of both, and chin-ups rule. Oh and all this advice is great, especially the thing about elbows.

  45. Sean, thanks for the tips. Cannot wait till tomorrow morning to apply them to my pull ups! And I thought I was doing them correctly too.

  46. How to avoid injuries for neck when pull up?
    Do I need to strengthen my forearm for better pull ups amount?
    How can I stop swinging my lower body when pull up?
    Please reply

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