Pull-Up and Chin-Up
Credit: Photograph by Terrence Darvin

Whether swimming, rock climbing, or just hauling yourself over that wall in your next Tough Mudder, vertical pulling motions are just about the most basic things we do with our arms. Both pull-ups and chin-ups work the entire upper body as a unit, but chins engage the biceps more, while pull-ups de-emphasize biceps in favor of the upper back and triceps. 


  • Start with hands shoulder-width apart for chin-ups, wider for pull-ups.
  • Stabilize shoulder blades (as described before). 
  • Bring your chin above the bar and lower down to straight arms on each rep.

Advanced Move 

  • Weighted push-up: Once you can do three sets of 10 pull-ups or chin-ups with body weight alone, add a light dumbbell between your legs, increasing the weight over time.