How to do Assisted Pull Ups

If you’re out there trying to get your first pull up in, you need to know a thing or two about assisted pull ups.

These exercises can help take the edge off a pull up movement, so you’re still working all the right muscles in the right way, but without the full weight of your body holding you back.

Check these two movements out and start building up to pulling your chin up and over the bar today.

How to do a barbell assisted pull up

1. Pick a barbell rack and set the bar to around waist height

2. Sit directly underneath the bar

3. Reach up and grip the bar around shoulder-width apart. This should raise your butt up off the floor

4. Put your legs straight out in front of you so you’re resting on your heels. You should aim to keep your body completely straight and directly under the bar

5. Engage your lats and pull directly upwards until your chin is under the bar

Tip: If that’s too easy, place your feet on a box in front of you. If it’s too hard, bring your feet in slightly so you’re taking more weight on them.  

How to do a band assisted pull up

1. Pick a pull up bar and place a box underneath, and just behind it

2. Taking a long, looped resistance band, carefully stand on the box and attach it to the bar so it hangs down in front of you

3. Gripping the bar for balance, place your foot into the bottom of the loop

4. Adjust your grip so it’s around shoulder width apart and step fully into the band, so you’re hanging from the bar

5. Engage your lats and pull upwards until your chin is over the bar

Tip: This makes the takes most of the strain off the bottom of your pull up and challenges your muscles most at the top, so we recommend performing lat pulldowns to supplement this imbalance.

The benefits of assisted pull ups

By performing assisted pull ups rather than working more isolated strength movements, you can make huge leaps forward toward your goal of a full pull up.

They work your muscles in a harmonious, functional way that isolated exercises just can’t, so when it comes to performing your first full pull up, your body already recognises the movement.

This is essential to building strength in a compound, multi-muscle movement, as it drills into even the smallest fibres, that can make all the difference in this kind of exercise.

Check out our complete beginners pull up workout and get your chin over bar today.


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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