7 Pull-up Exercises for Women to Build Upper Body Strength

Guide to pull-up exercises (Image via Pexels/Photo by Rainer Eck)
Guide to pull-up exercises (Image via Pexels/Photo by Rainer Eck)

Pull-up exercises are extremely important for upper body strength. Most of the variations use bodyweight, which essentially should be the first resistance you should master.

You won’t be able to master pull ups unless you’ve added variations and focused on the lats and biceps from every angle. That's because the two muscle groups used in pull-ups are the lats and the biceps.

Pull-up Exercises to Improve Upper Body Strength

Here are seven exercises you should incorporate in your regular routine. The more bodyweight movements you do, the better it's for your strength and muscle endurance. Let's get started:

1) Hang

The first pull-up exercise and the most basic one you can focus on is the hang. You simply have to hang holding a bar.


It improves your grip strength and allows you to decompress your spine, stretches the upper body and helps in strengthening your shoulders as well.

2) Lat Pull-up

The next one and probably one of the most important pull-up exercises you should focus on are the classic pull-ups. They focus on your back muscles and helps in flaring your lats.

More importantly, a lat pull-up allows the lat muscles to become stronger, as it’s the primary muscle group involved in the exercise.

3) Biceps Pull-up

When you begin doing pull-ups, the secondary muscle group in play are the biceps. You must focus on your biceps separately to improve your upper body strength.

As a result, you should do bicep pull-ups, or more commonly known as chin-ups. The difference between pull-ups and chin-ups is your hand placement. It's a close grip for biceps and wide one for lats.

4) Negative Pull-up

Controlling the negative is an excellent way to improve strength. All you need to do is pull yourself up and control your bodyweight as you lower yourself - come down slower.

When you return to the starting position at a slow and controlled rate, it’s known as controlling the negative.

5) Scapular Pull-up

This pull-up specifically focuses on your shoulder strength and is one of the best pull-up exercises to build shoulder strength.

You need to hang from a bar and engage your scapula by doing a reverse shrug and squeezing the upper back muscles. For stability, engage your core muscles, and keep a straight back.


6) Weighted Pull-up

This is an advanced version of the normal pull-up. You can start doing this exercise once you have enough strength to do at least 15 reps of normal pull-ups without reaching failure.

To do a weighted pull-up, add additional weight from your waist, usually plates, before doing a pull up. That will ensure your muscles work harder to pull the extra resistance you’ve added.

7) Concentric Hangs

Another good pull-up exercise is concentric hangs. You pull yourself up, and hold the position for two seconds or slightly more before lowering yourself. You can do a few pulses while holding yourself in that position, which will add some more pressure on your muscles.

However, ensure that you’re holding yourself at the top of the motion during this pull-up exercise, using your biceps or lat muscles.

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Edited by Bhargav
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