The Pull Up

The pull up is one of my favourite bodyweight exercises as it requires one to master their own body weight and trains a great deal of back muscles that often many of our clients lack strength in.  Recently I read the article titled the “The Pull Up” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2014 and thought I would highlight some of the key take home messages.

Key Messages From The Article

  • The pull up is a closed chain exercise that works multiple joints in the upper body.
  • The pull up can improve ones shoulder girdle strength, stability and ability to produce force in pulling activities.
  • The muscles used in a pull include the trapezius, rhomboids, pectoral muscles, deltoid, infraspinatus, lat dorsi, teres major, subscapularis, biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis, and forearm flexors, external oblique and erector spinae.  Hence why it is a great exercise to incorporate into ones program as it gets you bang for your buck with training.
  • The pull up (chin up) can be used with varying grips (supinate, neutral, pronated or alternate hand grips).
  • Training tools such as a band can be used to make the exercise more difficult or easier, or weight belt with external loads.

From a clinical point of view, many of the clients that attend Principle Four Osteopathy are often already carrying out resistance training and often we will incorporate pulling movements into ones program to create a better balance between pushing and pulling resistance exercises already being performed.  We will also prescribe hanging and active and dead hanging (scap pull up) to focus more on strengthening and control around the scapular.  Many of the clients who are not training will be prescribed vertical pulling movements i.e. bands, lat pull down etc and then progressed to pull ups where appropriate to help develop greater strength through their shoulders and back.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  If you are looking for more information on what exercises you can add into your everyday workout or would like some specific coaching or assessment on an exercise, please be sure to touch base with us.


Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.

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