How to Do Reverse Pull Up Properly

Also known as the inverted pull-up, the reverse pull up is one of the easiest and result oriented workouts. It is a great body-building and hypertrophy exercise.

The muscles recruited in this workout include the Latissimus dorsi, which forms the largest muscle of the back.

Other muscles worked are the teres major, rhomboids, lower trapezius, and the infraspinatus. Reverse pull-ups also work the brachialis and brachioradialis.

When you perform reverse pull-ups using the reverse grip, you recruit your biceps brachii. Depending on the width of your grasp, you can work the back more or less, offering a different muscle stimulus.

Also Known as Inverted Pull up, Australian Pull up

Targeted Muscles: Lats, Teres Major, Rhomboids, Lower Trapezius, Infraspinatus

Requirements: Pull up bar

Exercise Type: Compound

Exercise Mechanics: Hypertrophy, Bodybuilding

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

STEPS:

  • Set the bar firmly to about your waist height. You can alternatively use a barbell or a rack smith machine. For safety, use the barbell in a squat rack in case you lose balance.
  • Sit on a mat below the bar. Use a pronated grip to hold the bar with a grip slightly wider than your shoulder width.
  • Lean back and keep your arms straight. Tighten your core and move your shoulders downwards and around.
  • Raise your hips to support your weight using your hands and heels only. Maintain a straight posture from your shoulders to your heels.
  • Maintain your body position, arch your arms and raise your chest towards the bar. Ensure your wrists are straight and emphasize leading the motion with your elbows. Contract your shoulder blades at the top of one rep.
  • In a slow and controlled manner, extend your elbows to resume the starting position, keeping your posture straight throughout the session.
  • That’s a complete rep; keep going!

PRO TIPS

  • Set the bar higher than your waist height to make the exercise less difficult, sit under the bar, and hold it using a pronated grip. Lower your body such that your arms are fully extended. Ensure you maintain a straight posture, and only your heels contact the ground.
  • Always use a pronated/ overhand grip.
  • You may incur some trial and error to set the bar at the correct height. However, note the higher the bar, the easier the workout.
  • To maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise, ensure you engage your core.
  • Execute the motion in a slow and controlled fashion.

MUSCLES WORKED BY REVERSE PULL-UPS

This is not necessarily an upper-body exercise; however, it will work your lower body for muscle stability.

LATISSIMUS DORSI

Also known as the lats, this is the primary muscle targeted by reverse pull-ups. Your lats extend and join your shoulder joints. If well trained, your lats offer your upper back the width.

MID TRAPS AND RHOMBOIDS

Your mid traps and rhomboids are located across and between your delts. They are responsible for the retraction of the shoulder girdle.

In simpler terms, they retract your shoulders back. Reverse pull-ups activate the mid traps and rhomboids rather than regular pull-ups.

BICEPS BRACHII

The biceps brachii is located in the front part of your upper arms—the biceps arch your elbows. Reverse pull-ups are an upper back exercise; your biceps are trained as well.

BENEFITS OF REVERSE PULL UP

LOWER BODY WORKOUT

Due to your leg positioning when the bar is set at a certain height. You can also work your lower back muscle even though this workout does not mainly target them. If performed with the correct technique, this pull-up variation will also build your obliques and improve your core strength.

STRONGER GRIP STRENGTH

Grip strength is essential for all exercises. Any exercise you perform with a pronated grip, overhand grip, neutral grip, or any other grip variant will ultimately improve your grip strength. This will aid other exercises you perform that involve grip strength.

TARGET YOUR MID BACK

The rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and the traps are the key muscles on the lookout for if you’re looking to build muscle mass.

These muscles play vital roles in our daily activities and have visible results if worked properly. You will most likely notice broader shoulders and back. The biceps and the abs might take much longer to develop.

ALTERNATIVES TO REVERSE PUSH-UPS

Reverse pull-ups have several alternatives that you can choose from depending on your convenience.

KNEELING GRIP LAT PULLS DOWN

The kneeling grip lat pulldown is an excellent exercise if you want to fully stretch your lat muscles. You can build a wider toned back through this exercise. Your body posture when executing this drill will make it a lot easier and emphasized contracting the lats.

STEPS:

  • Set a cable machine at an appropriate height such that when you extend your arms fully, you can reach the bar.
  • Kneel at a place that aligns with the middle part of the cable machine, then stretch up your arms and grab both cable machine handles with a neutral grip.
  • Pull your elbows to your sides and make sure your hands are close to your shoulders. Be sure to keep your core engaged.
  • When you reach the bottom of the movement, squeeze your lats and gently resume the starting position.
  • Repeat the drill until you get the desired set of reps.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING REVERSE PULL-UPS

Watch out for these mistakes.

NOT LEADING WITH YOUR CHEST

If your movement pattern is such that you only raise your body until your chin touches the bar, it doesn’t count. Your chest should almost make contact with the bar.

Your chest doesn’t have to touch the bar necessarily, however, use your chest as a goal for every rep. Drive your chest all the way up for maximum gains.

HUNCHED UPPER BODY

When your chest and back are arched around the bar at the top of the rep, you will be making the exercise much harder than it actually needs to be by overusing your strength.

Maintain your natural chest extension. Experiment with this by trying with the lat pulldown position, gauging the difficulty and comparing it to that of the reverse pull up.

CONCLUSION

The reverse pull-up is an excellent workout to include in an entire body exercise. Consider beginning with this exercise if you are a beginner and can’t pull a vertical pull up.

Correct technique is critical when performing reverse pull-ups. If you have any inquiries about this workout, consult a certified trainer.

When you witness this drill’s massive bodybuilding and strength gains, you will want to get under that bar more often. Give it a try.

All the best!