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Five Pull-up Variations For Climbers

Pull-ups are a great way to stay fit at home, on the road, or in the gym. When the movement gets repetitive, try these variations.


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Pull-ups are a great way to stay fit at home. Here are five pull-up variations to work different muscles and keep things interesting! Remember to always engage your shoulders.

Pull-Up

Get more out of the classic pull-up by focusing on form—keep your shoulders engaged, squeeze your core and, for best results, aim to touch your chest to the bar. If pull-ups are something you struggle with, try mastering negatives first, which involve using a box to start in the “up” position and focusing on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the exercise.

Wide Pull-Up

With your hands one-and-a-half-shoulder widths apart, hang from the bar or hangboard with your shoulders engaged. Slowly—no kipping!—lift your chin above the bar. Wide pull-ups are great for developing lats and the strength necessary for burlier moves.

Chin-Up

Don’t scoff! Just because you’re a climber doesn’t make you too good for the chin-up. And if this exercise brings up nightmarish memories of P.E. and fitness tests, take comfort in the fact that climbing has prepared you to be stronger than you ever were before. Chin-ups are more bicep-intensive and may help power through underclings.

L-Sit Pull-Up

Perform a regular pull-up but have your legs straight out in front of you. Your body should look like a “L.” Sorry, this exercise is harder than it looks. But your abs will thank you when you’re trying to keep your feet on that tensiony roof boulder.

Typewriters

Typewriters are great for working on one-arm lock-off strength. In fact, if doing a one-arm is your goal, this is a great exercise to start with.