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How to Hang From a Pull-Up Bar

Whether you are dreading doing them in gym class or are a world-class athlete, use proper technique when doing a pull-up for maximum efficiency and to avoid injury to your arms and shoulders. Hanging from a pull-up bar puts the stress of your whole body weight on your hands and arms, so do it right.


Warm up your muscles by increasing your heart rate, and stretch your muscles before attempting to hang from a pull-up bar. Be sure to stretch your biceps and triceps and loosen the muscles in your shoulders and rotator cuff before hanging from a pull-up bar.

Proper Technique for Hands

The main difference between a pull-up and a chin-up is the direction your hands face on the bar. A pull-up is more difficult because your hands face away from you, placing more stress on your back muscles. Your hands face toward you when when you are completing a chin-up, so you use your biceps more.

Arms and Shoulders.

When you are hanging from a pull-up bar, your arms should be straight above you, spaced just outside your shoulders. Push your shoulder blades together until your back feels tight, so that your entire upper body feels like one piece rather then connected parts. Also, do not let your elbows spread out wider than your arms, as the tighter they are to your body, less stress is placed on your arm muscles.

Lower Body

While hanging, make sure your feet are off the ground. Cross your legs, squeeze your glute muscles together and tighten your abs in an attempt to get your lower body to feel like it is not just weighing you down. Keep your legs aligned with the rest of your body so that your body weight stays more compact.

Pull-up Motion

Once you have the hang down, you can try an actual pull-up. Try to pull yourself up in a fluid motion, rather than jerking yourself toward the bar. If you can go up and down rhythmically and keep your breathing in sync, you should be able to maximize the number of pull-ups you can do.

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About the Author

Chris Callaway started writing professionally in 2007 and has worked as sports editor, managing editor and senior editor of "The Racquet" as well as written for the "La Crosse Tribune" and other newspapers in western Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications.

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