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Primary muscle group: Lower Back, Upper Back & Lower Traps
Secondary: Biceps, Forearms, Shoulders
Equipment: Full gym
  1. Standing under a pull up bar, reach up and hold onto the bar with an overhand grip. Make sure your hands are about twice your shoulder width apart.
  2. Keep your arms straight and hang from the bar so that your arms are taking all of your weight.
  3. Keeping your body straight and not swinging your weight, pull your body up towards the bar by pulling your elbows down towards your torso at an angle.
  4. Continue lifting until your chest is nearly touching the bar. You should feel a “squeeze” at the base of your lats (about midway down your back and to the side) as they contract.
  5.  Once your lats have completely contracted at the top of the movement, slowly lower your body to the starting position.
  6. Repeat.

Note: By using a wide grip, your lats (Latimus dorsi) are doing most of the lift, rather than your biceps.


It doesn’t matter if you keep your legs straight or bent at the knees with your feet crossed. The important thing is that you do not use your legs to assist in lifting your body weight.


You can use a partner or “spotter” to lift your legs slightly if you are a beginner or if you need help completing the last few repetitions of your set.


As your strength increases, you can add weight by using a weight belt.

Related exercises

Try these other exercises targeting the same primary muscle group:

Medicine Ball Slam Medicine Ball Wall Throw Back Extensions / Hyperextensions Bent Over Barbell Row Knee-to-Chest Lower Back Stretch

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