Your Complete Guide to Doing…

Pull-ups (Even if you can't do One) To Get Bigger Back & Biceps

pull ups

To Get Strong Enough to Do 1…

1. Machine Assisted Pull-ups or Chin-ups

This is the best way because it's easier for you to track your progress by gradually decreasing the assistance by 5-to-10 pounds. The other 3 ways are harder to verify how close you're getting to being able to do a pull-up on your own.

2. Band Assisted Pull-ups or Chin-ups

Bands are just as great as the machine but depending on the type & how many bands you have available it may be a difference of 50 pounds worth of assistance between bands and if that's the case... You may have to do sets of 10-to-20 reps before you progress to the next level.

3. Beginner Pull-ups or Chin-ups

4. Partner Assisted Pull-ups or Chin-ups

Negative Pull-ups

Pull-up Workout for Bigger Back & Biceps

Do 3-to-6 sets of 5-to-15 reps of just ONE of the 6 kinds of Pull-ups or Chin-ups below 1-to-2 days per week depending on your goal (see pull-ups vs. chin-ups)

To work on a variety of arm & back muscles in the same workout…

Pull-ups vs. Chin-ups - Which is Better?

Both Pull-ups & Chin-ups will help you build an impressive set of arms with a nice back but the best one for you depends on your goals…

The close grip Pull-up and Chin-up variations work your arms more while the wider shoulder width grip Pull-ups and Chin-ups work your back more.

Don't use an ultra wide grip wider than shoulder width because it can actually injure your joints and really wide Pull-ups & Chin-ups decreases the range of motion giving you an even worse back & bicep workout.

6 Kinds of Pull-ups & Chin-ups

1. Sternum Chin-ups

Sternum Chin-ups not only work your biceps & back but also your chest as well because it's almost like doing a bodyweight pullover but they're also the hardest to do because you have to touch your chest to the bar.

2. Parallel Pull-ups

Parallel Pull-ups focus more evenly on your back & biceps plus you're able to work on your biceps peak or your brachialis muscles to make your biceps look bigger.

3. Chin-ups

4. Close Grip Chin-ups

Chin-ups & Close Grip Chin-ups both focus more on your biceps but close grip chin-ups (especially when done with extra weight added) is the best compound exercise you can do to quickly get bigger biceps. Do regular shoulder width chin-ups to give more attention to your back (lats) while working your biceps.

5. Close Grip Pull-ups

Close Grip Pull-ups is the best exercise you can do to build up your biceps peak or your brachialis muscles that are centered between your biceps & triceps to make your biceps look bigger.

6. Pull-ups

Do regular pull-ups to focus mostly on your back.

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There are 23 comments
maria

hi adrian,i hav lost quite bit weight like 130pounds and still losing i hav issue with back fat and lose arm fat to tone arm and back fat i bought doorway gym bar now i dont want bigger arms or wider back actually quite the opposite dont hav upper body strength that's why cant do chin ups or pull ups i most try to hang on it trying to lift my feet up from the floor can you guide me what exercises i should do at home to tone arm and lose flab

June 21, 2015

Chia

Hi. I am 15 years old 65kg and178cm tall. I have been trying to do a first pull-up/chin- up. I train negatives with three grips : neutral-grip, chin-up grip and pull-up grip everyday. I do the negatives 20-40s for each rep. I keep my shoulders down and I can feel the muscles working. I have been working like this for 1 and a half months. I still can't do a full chin-up or pull-up although I can do partials about below 90 degrees. Can you help me with this? Or is it that I need to carry on for a longer time?

August 17, 2014

Adrian Bryant

do some of the other 4 exercsies along with the negatives to help you do 1 chin

August 17, 2014

Chia

Thank you, Adrian

August 18, 2014

Daniel

Hi There I'm just wondering what would be the the best number between 4-12 reps to build muscle using pull ups and chin ups.Thanks best regards Daniel

January 15, 2013

Adrian Bryant

no best number. just pick the BEST weight that will only allow you to do 4-12 reps per set

January 15, 2013

Player*

Hey, I love doing pull ups and chin ups, but everytime i workout on the pull up bar, the next day my neck(or trapezius not too sure) feels kind of stiff and the more exsercises I the stiffer my neck/trapezius feels. I wonder what could be the reason of this stiffnes? or if there is something i could do to avoid it ?

Thank you

December 04, 2012

Adrian Bryant

was that your first time doing pull-ups in a while?

December 06, 2012

Player

No, I am doing them kind of regularly , trying to do some pullups at least once in two weeks

December 07, 2012

Josh

I just want to say great article. Pull ups are by far my favorite workout exercise. I like how you've broken down the different types of pull/chin ups. In the fear of over training and not allowing the body to rest and muscle to grow, can I really do a different pull up everyday and effectively rest? If I can I would love to. I do Squats/Overhead Press/Dead lift Mondays, then Squats/Bench/Rows Wednesdays, then back to squats/oh press/dl Fridays, then the next week make my Wednesday my new mom and fri and my mon my new wens. Can I add a different type of pull up each day of the week?

September 23, 2012

Adrian Bryant

pullups everyday? it depends on the amount of sets and reps you do

September 24, 2012

Jay

Hi, I have a bar in my doorway at home and normally do 3sets of 10 chinups on occasions which am comfortable with doing. I want to get bigger and find it hard because I have quite a athletic body type even though I eat alot too! I prefer working out at home as gym is quite far from me, can you give me advice on what the best workout routines would be for me and also if weight gain would be a good idea too? Thanks Jay :-)

August 09, 2012

Adrian Bryant

this workout here would suit you best

August 10, 2012

Parth

Adrian can i just do the bicep curls instead of pull ups

September 11, 2012

Adrian Bryant

is there some reason why you cant do them?

September 12, 2012

Name*

Hi Adrian, now that i am able to do 4 chin-ups by following the method you describe with negatives, should i continue with the negative chin-ups or start up with just chin-ups now,i'd hate to neglect the negatives ,they treated me well.
luigi

June 22, 2012

Adrian Bryant

you can start doing regular chins but if you still want to do negs... do them at the end of workout

June 24, 2012

luigi

hi, this is my kind of working out, but what i would like to know is if you can do chin-ups/pull-ups everyday or every other day? I am 52 years old 5-11 205 pounds

June 12, 2012

Adrian Bryant

It depends on how much weight, reps and sets you are doing if you want to do it everyday

June 14, 2012

luigi

Hi Adrian, thanks for your reply, actually right now i am back at the toddler stage for doing chin/pull-ups, i am starting off with the negative method just as you describe and holy cow are my arms and latts sore the next day ,so i have no choice but to do them everyotherday. Back when i was in my twenties i could do 5 sets of 25-28 chin-ups so i am hoping my muscles remember and get stronger fast so i can follow your other routines. Also thankyou for inspiring me to do the farmers walk, that one is where my heart is. Sacre cool

June 16, 2012

Matthew Bradshaw

Hi there pal, I have a few questions for you. Firstly, I was wondering how long will it be before I see noticeable changes in arm size/back size If I am doing chin ups and pull ups once a week ( 3 sets for each), working up to sets of 10 before adding weight? Also are tricep dips good for adding mass to triceps and how many exercises should I perform for triceps, as I want to keep to bodyweight movements only. Cheers for your time.

May 12, 2012

Adrian Bryant

Just chinups and dips alone for 4-6 sets of 4-12 reps to get bigger arms in 2-to-4 weeks

May 13, 2012


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