Hanging Pull Up Exercises

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There are countless variations of hanging pull up exercises or dead hang exercises that you can possibly do. It all depends on what part of the body you really want to focus on more and the angle and position of the pull-up bar. Many multi-purpose machines will have different types of grasping bars and the bars will be at different angles. My favorite is the Hammer Strength work stations for any pull-up exercise like the one inthe photo below. These stand-alone rack machines have two bars furthest away and one set of curved bars closer in so that you can work out with different grips and at different angles. Plus they have removable and adjustable side bars to stand on in order to reach the overhead bars and temporarily prop yourself up without having to jump up for the bars or extend for them.

Stand alone rack with various gip angles

The most difficult pull up uses the bars that are the farthest away from you and with your palms facing forwards, like in the animation video that I have created below. This exercise is primarily for the shoulders and lateral muscles, especially the wide part of lats. It will give your lats a wide and massive look. This exercise also works the core, chest and arms.
The movement is basically the same as for the dumbbell shoulders press exercise, except that you are pulling yourself directly up and down vertically using your body weight.

Method of Performance:
  • use the removable and adjustable side bars (if the workout machine has them) to stand on them and to reach for the two bars and to prepare yourself. It's just easier and safer.
  • grab each of the two furthest bars. 
  • from the hanging position, palms facing forwards, arms and elbows slightly in front of you (the bars will only let you go so far inwards), pull yourself directly up vertically as far as you can go up. As I mentioned the movement is that same as for the dumbbell shoulder press (seated upright or standing). You are basically pulling yourself up from the side using a side angled grip..
  • lower yourself down to the hanging position and repeat for 11 more times or as many as you can do. Do about 1 to 3 sets of 12 slowly.
  • do not let your body sway back and forth. Use your core for stability and support  to keep yourself from swaying while performing the exercise. This is where the core muscles of your body come into play.
This exercise will give you amazing lats, deltoids and traps. Of course the faster you do this exercise, the easier it is because of less resistance and upward and downward body inertia.

This animation exercise video demonstrates how this is done:



You can also try this exercise in the hammer pull-up position (palms facing inwards) if the machine has such bars to allow this exercise at such a wide grip.

You will also want to focus on pull up exercises that work the chest more. All the chest pull ups are done by pulling yourself up more from the front. The variations are almost endless: wide with palms facing forwards or palms facing you, close-grip with palms facing each other…. The close-grip pull-ups are good for working the chest and lats from a different angle.

To conclude, hanging pull-ups are one of the best simultaneous upper body and core exercises that you can do, especially when you have limited time to work out. I suggest that you include 1 to 3 sets during every chest and back workout. You can change them up from week-to-week since there are so many different variations to be done on the proper fitness machines.



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