Different Pull-Ups

A pull-up is an upper-body exercise in which your body is suspended and you pull your body weight up, working the biceps, shoulders, abdominals and lateral muscles. There are numerous variations on this exercise, all of which focus on different muscles, helping to develop your upper body muscles and build strength.

Standard Pull-Ups

Standard pull-ups focus on working your lats your biceps, your shoulders and your core muscles. Stand beneath a sturdy bar and grasp it firmly in an overhand grip, with your hands placed shoulder-width apart. Allow your body to hang from the bar, with your arms straightened. Pull yourself from this position up to the bar, touching your chest to the bar.

Wide Grip Pull-Ups

Wide grip pull-ups work your lats rather than your biceps. Similar to a standard pull-up, stand beneath a sturdy bar and grasp it in your hands, moving your hands to be further apart than with a standard pull-up, roughly twice the distance of shoulder-width. Allow your body to hang from the bar with arms straight and pull yourself up until your chest nearly touches the bar. Use your lats to pull your elbows down to your rib cage. Once your chest has reached just past the bar, lower yourself back to the starting position.

Close Grip Pull-Ups

Another variation of a pull-up is the close grip pulls up. This exercise works your lats, but focuses mostly on the lower lats. These are basically the opposite of wide grip pull-ups. Stand beneath a sturdy bar and grasp it in your hands, with hands separated by just 6 to 8 inches. This narrow separation will help you work your lower lats throughout the exercise. Pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar, contracting the lower lats, then lower yourself back to the starting position.

Underhand Grip Pull-Ups

Underhand grip pull-ups will focus on your biceps. Also called chin-ups, underhand grip pull-ups are performed with an underhand grip. Stand beneath a sturdy bar and grasp it in your hands with an underhand grip. Keep your hands about 6 to 8 inches apart and allow yourself to hang from the bar with your elbows straight. Pull yourself up using your biceps, lats and back muscles until your chin touches the bar, then slowly return to the starting position.

Lat Pulldown

You will need resistance bands hanging from the ceiling or looped over a bar to do lat pulldowns. From a seated or standing position, grasp the handles with palms facing forwards and a shoulder-width grip. If standing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or with a split stance, one foot positioned slightly behind the other, for better stability. If sitting, lean slightly back and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Tighten your core muscles and pull your shoulders back. Exhale and pull the bands down towards your upper chest, pulling your elbows towards your ribs. Inhale and allow the elbows to straighten and return to starting position.

About this Author

Christina McDonald-Legg has been a journalist for 12 years, writing about health, wellness and travel. Her articles have appeared in publications such as “Colures Magazine,” London; the “Sunday Times,” Dublin; the “Galway Independent;” the “Connacht Tribune” and the “Seattle Post Intelligencer.” She also has articles featured on websites for the UK’s Department of Health, Third Age.com and Expedia.co.uk.