7 Pull-Up Mistakes You Should Avoid

Pull-ups are among the most common upper-body strength exercises that you can perform anywhere there is a pull-up bar. Despite its popularity, it is often riddled with crucial mistakes that you need to avoid for a better pull-up form. Here, we look at six pull-up mistakes you should avoid.

1. Narrow or wide hand placement

One of the important techniques you need to master when learning how to do a pullup is proper hand placement. Having a grip that is too narrow shifts the muscles you are working on and transforms a pull-up into an arm-building exercise. On the other hand, having a grip that is too wide increases strain on your shoulders and elbows that get to do all the lifting. This should never be the case as pull-ups are meant to build your lats and mid-back strength, which requires you to use the right muscles. To ensure your movements are correct, aim to grip the pull-up bar just outside your shoulder’s breadth and avoid shifting your hands while exercising.

2. Not going through a full-range motion

Half reps are not doing your body any good as they only stress your biceps and lead to neck and lower back pain. Make it a habit to go through a full-range motion by breaking your sets into smaller groups that are easier to complete. Remember, you need to finish each rep perfectly, as even a slight bend at the elbow is not recommended.  

3.Using too much momentum

Do you swing too much when performing pull-ups? You need to change this as a good pull-up requires controlled movements by lowering and pulling yourself slowly without utilizing momentum. If you constantly struggle to maintain the right momentum, you need to start with simple exercises to build your strength before getting back to performing pull-ups.

4. Failure to lead with your chest

To avoid having a hunched upper body that only makes pull-ups harder than they need to be, start leading with your chest. This will enable you to lift your body easily and make it easier for you to retain the best position. Your shoulder mobility and chest flexibility will also increase, providing you with the power to do more with each rep.  

5. Not controlling your shoulders

Shoulder control is essential when performing pull-ups, and you need to master the right depression and retraction angles. Avoid loosening your shoulders at the end of each movement or letting them roll forward while pulling yourself up. The best solution is to place your elbows in front of your body to recruit more lat muscles, especially at the bottom of each rep.

6. Staying straight

You should never stay straight when performing pull-ups as you need to target your back muscles. This requires you to arch your back and properly set your shoulders for a better body pull. You should also take control of your lower body by engaging your calves, glutes, and quads to create the right rigidity as you exert force downwards.

7. Poor grip

If you have to keep on adjusting your hand to hold on to the bar, this is a sign that you have a poor grip, which is best resolved by developing your strength with other exercises such as bent-over rows, barbell workouts, and dumbbell pullovers. As you do these exercises, focus on improving your gripping by activating the pinky finger that is often ignored, yet it contributes to as much as 33% of your grip strength. Once you have mastered ways to include your pinkies in a grip without relying on your fingertips to hold your weight, you will instantly increase your pull-up form and perform it better.


Pull-ups need to be a primary component of your fitness regimen, and by using these tips, you are guaranteed to perfect this great upper-body exercise.

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