How to Do Australian Pull-Ups Properly

Australian pull-ups have been numerously referred to as the perfect entry exercise to calisthenics.

To be more precise, it’s a back Calisthenics exercise that mainly works on improving your endurance.

What makes this exercise unique, is the angle of movements. For instance, it changes the vertical pulling angle of a traditional pull up to a horizontal pull.

It’s mostly an upper body workout that works exactly in the opposite way a push-up does. As such it involves gripping and bearing your bodyweight to hoist yourself off the ground.

The intensity can easily vary as doing it in a higher bar will be easier, while using a lower bar will make it harder.

The hardest possible way to do this exercise with your own body weight would be to place your feet higher than the bar height.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Stand in front of a squat rack
  • Set the bar to the desired setting. Start with waist height. This will allow your arms to fully extend while keeping your body off the floor.
  • Get under the bar and lie down. Look up at the ceiling.
  • Reach up for the bar. Your arms should be fully extended so you can grab the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Your body will be suspended or just off the floor, with your heels being the only thing in contact with the floor.
  • Contract your core muscles and glutes to brace the lower back and keep your body in a straight line from your torso to your feet.
  • Pull yourself up, leading with your chest. The bar or rings should be at chest height at the top of the movement.
  • Your body should remain straight and glutes and core tight throughout the entire movement. The bar doesn’t need to touch your chest. Get it as close as possible.
  • Pause for a second and make sure the shoulder blades are retracted (imagine squeezing a small ball between the shoulder blades) before slowly lowering to the starting position, with your arms fully extended.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO AUSTRALIAN PULL-UPS WORK?

1.      FOREARMS

What might seem like an awkwardly placed muscle is actually one of the most important areas in whatever exercise you do.

If you’re just starting out it is prudent that it might be difficult to hoist yourself if you haven’t previously engaged your forearms as much.

However, this is a great exercise to wholly workout the forearm which in turn benefits your ability to do other exercises as well.

Your forearm muscles are split into several compartments on the anterior and the posterior of your arm.

The anterior compartments of your forearms are the muscles responsible for the flexion of your fingers and wrists.

Therefore, your anterior forearms are going to be the highest area of engagement. This is especially so when you distribute your body weight evenly across both forearms as your body dangles.

What this does is, it also increases your raw grip strength, it also builds sturdier wrists for any other free weight exercise you can throw at yourself.

2.      GLUTES

The gluteus muscles are used to help you thrust yourself help when doing an Australian pull-up. As such, the more you do the pull-ups the more engagement they get.

3.      HAMSTRING

The hamstring is heavily engaged when doing pull-ups. This is done in coordination with the glutes to regulate your movements as you thrust yourself up and down.

Other engaged muscles in the upper body are:

The middle and lower traps, the core, and the biceps.

The back is also heavily engaged. In fact, although other variations seem to target the arms more, the Australian pull-up is mainly focused on the back.

BENEFITS OF DOING AUSTRALIAN PULL-UPS

As mentioned above, the Australian pull-ups are a great entry workout into the world of calisthenics.

1. TARGETS A LARGE NUMBER OF AREAS

Australian pull-ups help target muscles that aren’t used in standard push-ups.

Where the push-up targets upper-body muscles like the pecs, triceps, deltoids, and serratus anterior, Australian pull-ups also work the larger back muscles such as the rhomboid and latissimus dorsi.

2. IMPROVES POSTURE

Australian pull-ups improve posture by working on the erector spinae muscle group

3. VERSATILE

Australian pull-ups are easy to incorporate into upper body workouts. You can incorporate inverted rows into a full-body or upper-body workout.

They also work well as part of a super-set combination: for example, one set of inverted rows followed by one set of pushups and repeat.

ALTERNATIVES TO DOING AUSTRALIAN PULL-UPS

1.      PLYOMETRIC AUSSIE PULL-UPS

This is an exercise variation based on the standard Australian pull-up. It involves switching from one grip to another mid-movement while doing the Australian pull-ups.

You do this by letting go of the bar at the low point to switch.

This exercise is achieved between an overhand and an underhand grip or you can pause halfway through the pull, hold it for a few seconds, and then continue.

Making such draining change mid-air is bound to increase the strain on the target muscles. Consequently, this leads to increased strain on the target muscles.

The consistent strain on the same set of muscles thus leads to hypertrophy

2.      TABLE BODYWEIGHT ROW

As the name suggests this involves using your body weight to your advantage. To do this, you need to apply your body weight on a sturdy surface

The ideal place would be an area like the edge of a table or desk

3.      DOOR TOWEL ROW

We do this while using a doorknob pull in and requires a great amount of control

4.      POLE TOWEL ROW

This is an exercise that could act as an immediate alternative to the Australian pull-ups but also the door towel row.

It involves the same details as the door towel row except that it requires a pole

You do this by wrapping the towel around the pole and grasping the two ends.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING AUSTRALIAN PULL-UPS

1.      IMPROPERLY POSITIONED BARS

There are correct and incorrect places to have the bar positioned. The correct places ensure maximum efficiency while incorrect positions render your efforts useless while doing the exercises.

The best place to have the bar positioned is mid-chest, any other area will require you to change your body placement under the bar.

2.      IMPROPERLY SPACED GRIPS

Grip determines the distribution of body weight across the bar.

That said, where you place your hands, is largely dependent on your level of strength. The recommended space for a grip is anything slightly wider than the shoulder width.

3.      HYPEREXTENDED KNEES

Bad form while doing Australian pull-ups can cause your knees to ache after the exercise. This is due to hyperextended knees which exert excessive strain on the knee joints.

In order to remedy such an experience, you should slightly bend your knee to reduce the tension on your knee joints.

CONCLUSION

The Australian is the perfect beginner’s exercise for a beginner looking to get into calisthenics. Not only does it offer effectiveness, but it also provides control in regards to matters intensity.