Pull-ups are a massively useful upper body exercise, and when you can do them at home, they are even more time effective. After our transformations, we believe there should be a pull-up bar in every home and couples should do them together.
Pull-ups are a compound movement that promotes the lengthening of the spine for back pain alleviation and good posture through strengthening of the back muscles. That is… if you do them right.
This video and article share the benefits of this exercise and teach you how to do pull-ups at home. Even if you can’t do a single pull-up right now, our tips will gear you up for success.
why you need to do pull-ups at home
Pull-ups are the most effective upper body exercise for both men and women. It’s time effective and convenient to do pull-ups at home. We want to give you three reasons why you should start doing pull-ups at home as a couple, share equipment recommendations to help both of you succeed, and show variations of pull-ups that are most effective.
Common Excuses for Not Doing Pull-ups
Both of us made excuses for not doing pull-ups for many years. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I don’t have the right pull-up bar
- My door frame isn’t strong enough
- I don’t want to damage the door frame
- My arms and shoulder are not strong enough
- I can barely do one pull-up with the right form
Now, indeed, pull-ups are generally easier for men than for women. Guys tend to have greater upper-body strength, and women tend to have more body fat in their lower body. For obvious reasons, this is going to make lifting your lower body weight with your upper body strength easier for men.
But, we are not going to use this as an excuse, couples. You need the right equipment to do pull-ups at home and then practice, practice, practice.
When I set aside these excuses and committed to doing pull-ups at home consistently, I saw results fast! I was excited when Alex, my fiancée at the time, started practicing pull-ups as part of a bodybuilding program, Body Beast, in preparation for our wedding.
At the start, she could only do about 1.5 pull-ups without using a stool or chair under her feet for assistance. Once we got her the right equipment, she was doing 10 and 12 reps with the proper form. Not to mention she made a considerable transformation and pull-ups at home was a major contributor.
Why are Pull-ups at Home So Effective?
A pull-up is a compound movement that involves major muscle groups as well as smaller muscle groups. The traps, lats, and biceps handle the majority of the workload. Additionally, you’re moving all of your upper body joints – wrists, elbows, shoulders – so you are also working on grip, triceps, and deltoid strength.
Doing pull-ups at home is also time productive. It’s best if you pick a time each day to do your pull-ups at home. For example, you brush your teeth every day, so create a habit to do your pull-ups right before brushing your teeth.
Here are three reasons why you need to do pull-ups at home.
1. Better Posture
When doing a pull-up, imagine that someone’s hand is between your shoulder blades. Pull your shoulders back and pinch that hand between your shoulder blades. Then, go to do that pull-up.
By doing this, you are engaging the muscles in your back which, over time, will naturally pull your shoulders back. Also, we all know that better posture makes you look and feel more confident as well.
You can also improve your posture by using a wearable posture trainer. We conducted a 2-week experiment and summarized our significant transformation in a data-driven UPRIGHT GO 2 posture trainer review.
2. Back pain alleviation.
This was the most significant benefit for me because, at the time, I was spending hours driving in a car for my corporate engineering job. If you’re sitting for long periods, this is going to help you.
There is a lot of pressure on your spine, and when you do a pull-up, you are lengthening the spine. Also, you strengthen the back and core muscles that support the spine. Pull-ups are essential for preventing injury and back pain.
You might also want to look into getting a standing desk.
3. Overall toning and physique.
When you strengthen your upper body by doing pull-ups, you are bulking and toning your shoulders and traps which make your waist appear smaller. For guys, it’s getting that cape effect and V-shape physique.
As for girls, pull-ups won’t make you bulky. Instead, they help you build lean muscle mass to boost your metabolism and help you lose body fat. For instance, that stubborn body fat on your stomach or the love handles wrapping around to your lower back. This result was very noticeable in Alex’s transformation.
What Variations of Pull-ups are Most Effective?
These are our favorite grip variations to do pull-ups at home. There are many variations that you can add to these as you advance. Alternating knee twists or leg raises to engage more core muscles.
Or, add weighted pull-ups to pack on more muscle mass. These are great advanced options. Here are four foundational pull-ups for starting.
If you can’t do any pull-ups, it’s essential that you use a pull-up assist band or build strength doing pull-ups with resistance bands and a door attachment.
Wide Grip Pull-up Variation: The wide-grip pull-up is the hardest because the majority of the workload is on your lats.
Standard Grip Pull-up Variation: The standard grip variation is also very challenging, but your lats get more support from your biceps.
Chin-up Variation: The chin-up, or underhand pull-up, is going to be easier than the overhand pull-up because more major muscle groups are engaged, specifically your biceps.
Vaulter Grip Pull-up Variation: The vaulter pull-up consists of an overhand and underhand grip. This is a great way to confuse your body and work your muscles in a new way. It also exposes imbalances in strength between your right and left sides.
Equipment to do Pull-ups at Home as a Couple
Pull-up Bar – We recommend this pull-up bar by Ultimate Body Press because it fits in nearly every door type and is expandable. The design is excellent for people who are 6-feet tall and up. That way, you don’t have to worry about your feet touching the ground.
Pull-up Assist Band – Along with the above pull up bar, this was key to Alex’s transformation. This adjustable band allows you to reduce the weight you are lifting during a pull-up to get more out of your workouts.
20 lb. Weighted Vest by Golds Gym – This is a cheapie, but it has served its purpose (pull-ups, squats, lunges) for us very well. If you want one that you can go hiking and running in, the more expensive ones are probably more comfortable.
For more equipment recommendations, check out our article on how we set up our home gym.
Final Pull-up Considerations
- Grip the bar tightly. If your grip strength is low, you can warm up to doing pull-ups by just hanging on the bar.
- Always start from a dead hang position. This ensures that you are getting the full range of motion. Don’t cheat. It’s harder, but you want to get the most out of your hard work, don’t you?
- As previously mentioned, remember to pinch your shoulder blades. This will engage your back muscles and improve your posture.
- Engage your core!
- Remember to squeeze your glutes. This will make it feel easier.
- Be patient. Mastering pull-ups takes time. Have fun, set goals together, and you can always get a little competitive!
- Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… if you’re still scared about your door frame, some wool socks add further protection!
- Be creative. You can do pull-ups when you are on the go. Just find a local jungle gym, scaffolding, a porch overhang, or an I-beam in a basement.
So there you have it. Post below if you have any questions, input, or comments. If you and your plus one are ready to cut the excuses and get started, post below to let us know you are committed to mastering pull-ups, TOGETHER!
Resistance Bands Workout Routine
Download and instantly access the full workout calendar and resistance tracker sheet.
- Videos of 55 leg, core, back, arm, shoulder, and chest exercises with resistance bands.
- Professional instruction to ensure proper form.
- An 8-week calendar and weight tracking sheet with built-in variety and periodization.
- Access to all future revisions to the program.
- Support. We're always here to help.
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
Optimize Your Life, One Friday at a Time
Enter your name and email address to sign up for our free newsletter, the Duo Life Letter. Each Friday receive evidence-based tips to elevate your health and relationship.