Man showing 4 pull up mistakes seen on social media

In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become a prominent source of fitness inspiration, tips, and techniques. While it offers a wealth of information, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction and steer clear of common misconceptions. In this article, we delve into the world of pull-ups, one of the most effective upper body exercises, and shed light on the four common mistakes frequently seen on social media platforms. By addressing these common mistakes head-on, we aim to provide you with the knowledge and insights needed to perfect your pull-up form and optimize your training results. Let´s analyze together the 4 pull up mistakes seen on social media!

What you will learn in this article:

Mistake 1: Doing Ching Ups if Pull Ups are too difficult

  • Man doing pull ups and man doing chin ups
  • Body difference in pull ups and chin ups
  • Man doing a negative pull up

The first of the 4 pull up mistakes seen on social media is related to chin ups. The difference in strength output between pull up and chin up is not that huge, and the chin up is also not a direct progression for the pull up. Both the Pull Up and Chin Up utilize nearly the same muscles but with some differences in muscle recruitment. The chin up utilizes the biceps and the pecs a bit more, while the lower traps and the brachioradialis are more active during a Pull Up.  It is true that most people will find chin ups a bit easier, but not to a degree that they can do way more of them compared to pull ups. 

If you want to get better at Pull Ups, practice easier variations that reduce your bodyweight like band assisted pull ups, leg supported pull ups or pull ups on an assisting pull up machine. Another great progression are negative pull ups because you are way stronger in the eccentric than in the concentric phase.  Of course there is nothing wrong with practicing all of those progressions with chin ups or even a neutral grip. There is no problem with switching the grip to emphasize certain muscles more or less, but the grip itself is not a direct progression that makes the pull movement significantly easier.

Mistake 2: Believing banded Pull Ups are counterproductive

  • Man doing banded pull ups
  • Man showing the difficulty in a banded pull up

The band supports yourself more in the lower than in the upper part, but that doesn’t make it a bad progression and doesn’t slow down your pull up progress. The lower part is also not the most important or most difficult aspect of the pull up. Most people do not struggle when they initiate the pull up, but when they try to get their chin above the bar. 

From our experience people progress the most if they combine band assisted pull ups with some other progressions. So for example one workout you do band assisted pull ups and the next you do negative pull ups. If you’re looking for a Progressive Workout Program that includes all of those variations, make sure to check our day by day online courses on calimove.com

Mistake 3: Thinking that crossing your legs is bad

Man doing a pull up with crossed leg showing one of the 4 pull up mistakes we see on social media

It may be that you have heard that crossing your legs leads to asymmetries. Crossed legs during a pull up, don’t really result in asymmetries. You pull with your arms and back and not your legs, so as long as you pull with both sides equally and keep both legs in a similar position you probably won’t get any kind of asymmetries, no matter if you cross your legs or not. Way more important is that people also place their legs behind their body when crossing them. This results in an arched back and reduces the stretch of the lats and also the abdominal tension in the lowest position of the pull up.  

  • Man in starting pull up position stretching abs with crossed legs
  • Man stretching lets with lifted crossed legs

If you place your legs in front of your body and keep the lower back neutral, the lats get more stretched in the lowest position while you engage abdominals at the same time. This is also the reason why most people struggle to initiate the pull when doing L- Hang Pull Ups or Chin Ups. Your Lats are simply not used to working in that stretched position and therefore you’re having a hard time overcoming that specific part.

Crossed legs & arched back

  • Man showing one of the 4 pull up mistakes
  • Man doing an arched back pull up to explain one of the 4 pull up mistakes

First of all it’s not wrong to arch your lower back and it also won’t lead to lower back pain if done right.  An arched back is only bad if you do it passively with no muscle tension and if the movement creates too much shearing forces for your lower spine while you’re not able to stabilize it. So when you actively arch your complete body during a pull up, you create minimal stress for your lower spine and you even protect and work your lower back because you actively engage the muscles in that area. 

If you arch your back or keep it in a hollow body position depends on which muscles you want to focus the most: The straight pelvis position with legs in front is good to focus on your lats while working on the abdominals and even the pecs at the same time. The  arched back position is good if you want to focus more on the posterior  chain especially on the middle and lower back.

Mistake 4: Changing the grip to activate different back muscles

  • Man showing 3 different pull up grip to explain the 4 pull up mistakes
  • Man showing overhand pull up grip to explain the 4 pull up mistakes
  • Man showing underhand pull up grip to explain the 4 pull up mistakes
  • Man showing neutral pull up grip to explain the 4 pull up mistakes

Here we have the last of our 4 pull up mistakes seen on social media. It doesn’t really make a huge difference for back muscles, if you use an underhand, an overhand or a neutral grip if you do them with the same body position. The biggest difference between those 3 is not about the back but the arm muscles.

So if you want to focus more on your lats you can use any of these 3 grips while doing your pull ups in a hollow body position and If you want to focus more on your middle back you can also use any of those 3 grips, but this time you try to arch your whole back when pulling yourself up. Of course rows have nearly the same benefit. So you can also stick to rows for the middle back and hollow body pull ups for the lats.

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