What Are The Benefits Of Doing Pull Ups? The Science Behind It’s Effectiveness

What are the benefits of doing pull ups? You ever wondered what the fuzz is all about?

Well, the fact is:

Pull ups are not only one of the most challenging form of exercise but a devastating multi-joint upper-body compound movement that works a large number of muscle groups in your back, shoulders, and arms. – All at the same time!

The name pull-up literally refers to pulling up your body. While grasping a steady bar and your hands separated by a distance approximately equal to your shoulder width, you must use the muscles of your upper body to raise your body up to the bar. Then slowly lowering your body to the initial position completes a pull up.

Sounds easy, huh?

This up-down movement is a great way for all the muscles to work together as it not only promotes shoulder joint stability but can also be applied to different movements like rope climbing, swimming and even self-defence.

Now. Let’s take a deep-dive and get some insight into the benefits and the science behind pull ups.

Why Are Pull Ups So Effective? The Secrets Of Its Effectiveness

Actually, there are no secrets to the effectiveness of pull ups, it is all simple science!

But before you blindly start to exercise, it is essential to understand how the exercise works and how it will affect your body.

One major reason why a pull up is an excellent form of exercise is because of its tendency to affect a large variety of muscles all at the same moment.

Pull ups is the torso-equivalent of squats, which are the best lower body compound exercise as it targets a wide range of muscles. Primarily developed to shape the back muscles, not only does it work your back it also works miraculously for your shoulders and arms.

As an exercise that can have multiple variations, pull ups are a invaluable asset for all people looking to make their home a go to gym.

“Males over the age of 18 are expected to perform 8 repetitions of pullups to be classified as in “borderline shape” according to the President’s Council.”

Reference: livestrong.com – How Many Pull-Ups Can the Average Man Do?

To understand its effectiveness better, let’s check out the muscles involved when performing a pull up.

What Muscles Do Pull Ups Work?

Latissimus dorsi

Simply meaning ‘broadest muscle of the back’. It is the primary muscle on which the pull ups have maximum effect.

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you might have heard the mention of ‘lats’. Lats, or latissimus dorsi is a muscle shaped like a triangle. The lower point of the triangle represents the origin of the muscle, adjoining your middle and lower spine. The top part of the triangle represents the insertion of the latissimus dorsi, stretching out to your upper arm bone.

During a pull up, the lat tugs on the upper arm bone, adducting it into the lower body and as a result, your body rises to the bar.


Pull ups work the brachialis and brachioradialis muscle in the arm. Brachialis is the muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint whereas the brachioradialis is the muscle of the forearm.

Also it works on the biceps brachii or more commonly referred as the biceps. These three muscles assist the lat and help the body to rise as well as during the descent.


Pull ups utilize the major muscles of the shoulders:

  • The teres major, a small muscle at the back of the shoulder blade.
  • Rhomboid muscles (muscles connecting spine to the shoulder).
  • Trapezius and the levator scapulae (muscle along the spine and the side of the neck).

All these muscles elevate and depress the shoulder.


The abdominal muscles play a major role in making a pull up successful. They help in stabilizing the body by connecting the pelvis to the ribs. The abs along with the hip muscles generate the force required to lift the lower body and maintain the form during the exercise.

  • The external and internal oblique prevent twisting and limit the body swing.
  • The transverse abdominal muscle or TVA is the fleshy muscle along the abs, prevents movement and helps maintain a neutral position.

Hands and Forearms

The muscles of the forearms are also worked as they hold the body weight, and improves finger strength and leads to the formation of strong forearm muscles.

Too much science?

At least now you understand the basic behind the pull up, -it affects most of the upper body muscles and develops a proper shape, increases core strength and makes you fitter.

Overall were talking a pretty darn complete exercise here!

Now, a lot people are terrified just by the mention of having to perform pull ups. Some even quit just by trying it out a few times!

Always remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Start slow and work your way by doing partner assisted pull ups or band assisted. Keep working and in no time at all, you will be performing pull ups like a pro.

“Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start slow and work your way by doing partner assisted pull ups or band assisted. Keep working and in no time at all, you will be performing pull ups like a pro.”

Keep yourself motivated by going through the list of benefits below.

Once you see the bigger picture and master the art of pull up, you will always be including it to your exercise program.

So, What Are The Benefits Of Doing Pull Ups?

Besides from training a ton of different muscles in one exercise, you will also get the following benefits from having pull ups as part of your workout routine:


My focus is to help people who have little to no time for the gym taking care of them self. Pull ups are one of the best and most convenient exercises you’ll ever come across.

You can do them anywhere, like anywhere literally. All you need is a sturdy bar (or anything you can hang on) and a body. Voila!

All you daddy’s who have been missing out on your daily workout, take some time and set up a bar in your garage, bedroom or living room and get on to some pull ups.

Pull-Ups Gives You a Pain Free Future

Now, if you are like me and most of the people out there, you spend a good amount of your day sitting at your work desk. Rest of the day would be spent sitting for your meals, watching TV or driving your kids from school, etc.

That is a serious lot of sitting.

Unless you are looking for a painful future, it’s time to start working out. All this sitting can lead to a weakened back and abdomen, which can lead to injuries and a lot of future pain. Pull ups not only work your back but also your core muscles and strengthens your form overall.

Builds Massive Grip Strength

If you are into weightlifting and serious about gaining some muscles, having a good grip strength is a must. Luckily, pull ups are the perfect exercise to gain some serious grip strength.

Hard Work Promotes Fat Loss

Now to a lot you it might sound strange, but pull ups can help you lose that fat much quicker than a regular cardio. As it rapidly gets your heart rate up and shoots your metabolism, the fat burning effect of pull ups can last up to 48 hours!

That’s right, fat burning even after you’re done with your workout.

Just mix pull ups with fast cardio to achieve for super results.

Awesome Physique!

For a guy, the ‘V’ shaped physique is all we desire. The lat muscle or the latissimus dorsi is the primary muscle affected by pull ups. When this muscle is developed, it is responsible for that ‘V’ shaped look. It helps your shoulders look bigger and your waist smaller.

Just like a Greek god!

A Starter Guide For Your First Pull Up

  1. Start by grasping the bar and then slowly hanging from the bar.
  2. Slowly start pulling yourself up to the position where your chest almost touches the bar. Your upper arms must be touching your back in order to perform it perfectly and maintain a proper shape.
  3. Avoid unnecessary movements like swinging side to side. Do it slowly and perfectly, not hopping like a bunny.
  4. Finally, slowly lower yourself to the initial starting position and repeat.

The guys from TheLeanMachines.com shows you exactly how it’s done in this amusing little clip:

So, there you have it. Your very first pull up.

Congratulations if you pulled it off successfully!

And if not, keep trying and you will get there!

Other Helpful Resources

hometraininghero.com – Pull Up Program For Beginners – Progression Exercises To Have You Doing Pull Ups Like a Beast!