Pull Ups
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Negative Pull-Ups

What is a Negative Pull Up?

Negative Pull-ups are a very effective progression exercise that focuses on the lowering part of a traditional pull up. Think of negative pull-ups as a stepping stone to standard pull-ups, but instead of pulling yourself up, you are focusing on the downward section of a standard pull-up.

The way you carry out a negative pull-up is by beginning in the flex hang, and then you move onto a dead hand position. This might seem like an easier version of a standard pull-up, and it is, but you still gain benefits from performing this exercise.

Negative Pull Ups Benefits

Here are the benefits of negative pull ups:

  • Great preparation exercise for traditional pull-ups
  • Improves grip strength
  • Increases muscle mass and strength
  • Works multiple muscle groups including back, arms, chest, and core

This popular exercise might seem weird at first glance; however, it has a number of benefits you cannot ignore. For example, negative pull-ups are a great upper-body exercise. All your muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, and core are engaged, making it a great preparation exercise for traditional pull-ups.

Over time you will see an increase in your endurance as well as grip strength, which is a great benefit of pull-up negatives.

Another benefit of performing negative pull-ups is that you are essentially preparing your body to perform standard pull-ups. Through negative pull-ups, you are progressively improving your muscle mass and strength, helping you to eventually perform a standard pull-up.

This exercise can shake up your gym routine, especially if you are having trouble doing a tradition pull up. You should always challenge yourself during your workout if it becomes too easy; it means you should be trying new things.

Negative Pull Ups Muscles Worked

Wide Grip - Pull ups muscles worked

The main muscles worked when performing a Negative Pull Ups are:

  • Lats (Primary)
  • Back Muscles
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Core
  • Shoulders

Similarly to standard pull-ups, pull-up negatives help to train your core muscles as well as upper body muscles. It is good for a whole-body workout; however,

How To Do Negative Pull Ups

Here is your step by step guide on how to perform a negative pull-up:

  1. You might be happy to hear that your starting position is above a pull up bar. Hold onto the bar and your chin should be above the bar. This means you can stand on a structure in order to position yourself properly – If it is your first time doing this exercise, we recommend seeking the help of a partner.
  2. If you are positioned on an object, remove your feet from it and then you slowly lower yourself. Control your body to increase the amount of resistance you feel while slowly lowering yourself.
  3. Once you have lowered yourself you should be in a hanging position, known as a dead hang.
  4. Your arms should be outstretched, while your feet will be positioned on a flat surface. 
  5. Repeat as you see fit.

Top tip: Do not just drop down as this will not provide you with any benefit, which is why controlling your descent is the best way to improve core strength and muscle mass.

Please note: If you experience pain while performing this exercise, we recommend seeking professional assistance.

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from a sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

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