Pull Up Variation — Traveling Pull Up With Opposing Grip post image

Pull Up Variation — Traveling Pull Up With Opposing Grip

We covered good pull up technique in an earlier blog. We looked at how to perform assisted pull ups using stretch bands. Now it’s time to start expanding our horizons by looking at pull up variations.

This is one of my favourites. It’s a traveling pull up with an opposing grip:

For those of you who’ve been using our previous videos to build your pull up power, this traveling pull up with opposing grips is a great way to add an extra dimension of timing and coordination to your training.

But even if you’re not there yet, it’s still a fun movement to watch and a great goal to shoot for.

Here are some key points to remember when doing traveling pull ups with an opposing grip:

  • One hand faces you, the other faces away
  • Keep your shoulders packed down away from your ears
  • Pull the bar “down” to your chest (instead of pulling yourself up)
  • As you lower yourself, release the back hand and switch it to the front
  • Control the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement
  • Tight is light — keep your core, glutes and lats slightly contracted throughout, even on the down phase

Hope you enjoy playing with that pull up variation! We’ve got more to come.

But how about you?

What’s YOUR favourite pull up or chin up variation? Let us know in the comments.

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • T K October 25, 2010, 7:30 pm

    Awesome. I’ll do these in tomorrow’s workout. It looks like a fun variation. Have you found an efficient way to turn around at the end of the bar without dropping to the ground? How about reversing course and heading backwards once you reach the end?

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:45 am

      Hey TK – No, I always just hop down and turn around… :)

      Reply
  • Mike October 25, 2010, 9:15 pm

    My favorite pull ups are weighted! I have several ways to add weight. But bottom line is if you can pull body weight plus in good form = more strength!

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:49 am

      Mike – I love holding a dumbbell between my feet. Awesome core training!

      Reply
  • Jesus Sanchez October 25, 2010, 10:39 pm

    I’ve been using Irradiation to help keep my body tight during the pull up. Oh my, it helps so much. As a mater of fact, I can now call myself an advanced lifter, even if pull ups are my weakest link.

    Thanks for the video,
    Jesus Sanchez

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:51 am

      Helps especially for people dealing with sub-optimal shoulder / rotator cuff activation…

      Reply
  • garyd October 26, 2010, 2:14 am

    I have been doing these since seeing them through Scott Sonnon,i also do a pull up with different height bars so that 1 hand is lower than the other and pulling to either side and also doing this while facing along the length of the bars and pulling up to either side,i can do 10 straight dead hangs normal style but still find pull ups the hardest[best] exercise in the body weight stuff,i dont think since finding you guys and Scott that i have actually picked up any thing apart from my bodyweight and i feel and look brilliant

    cheers loads
    Gary D

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:51 am

      Hey Gary – Yeah, I first learned them from Scott too.

      Reply
  • Mitch October 26, 2010, 3:19 am

    One not for your home bar, but for a Gym enviroment: You will often find that the rigs in Gyms will have variable hand positions. What I like to do is, take the widest grip, then start to change the hand position of one hand. Moving across all of the grips ,then back. This should give you a set of about 6 or 10 depending on how many positions the rig has. It will develop single hand strength greatly. As I have said before,for most people this is the weakness when they start chinning. Do 4 – 6 sets, alternate the hand that doesnt change position on each set. It is also a movement that is good for climbing. It works the back through a lot of ranges of movement. So recruiting different fibres and builds a good all round back strength. It is quite severe, so take good recoveries,2mins, more for beginners.Chinning is a maximum weight movement so needs longer before getting back up there. As strength develops, you can aim to cut back to 1 – 1.5mins recovery.
    Happy chinning.

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:52 am

      Mitch – sounds nasty… :)

      Reply
  • jp October 26, 2010, 3:57 am

    that’s awesome guys! I have been doing pull ups in a variety of ways due to the fact I work on a tug boat and there are very limited places where you have a good overhead environment with any level bar placement – this exercise addresses that issue too. I use towels a lot and basically whatever I can adapt to!

    Thanks,

    jp
    .-= jp´s last blog -> Daily Rituals – Your Key To Highly Effective Progress =-.

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:53 am

      JP – way to keep things innovative man! Train anywhere, anytime… :)
      I have a client who is a river pilot by profession. He works at all hours and is gone for really long stretches. So I know about the challenges…

      Reply
  • Chris October 26, 2010, 6:01 am

    That’s great, and your exercises and techniques ar awesome. The only problem I have is I can’t do a single pull up. I weigh 83 Kg, and on a Lat pull down I can do 85 Kg easy, so I should be able to do pullups. I can do assist pull ups with minimal assist weight, so I can pnly assume it’s my technique. I wish there was some way you guys could watch me and put out what is probably a simple mistake! I will keep trying

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:56 am

      I’ve never found much correlation between the weight stack of a pull down machine and the weight you can pull up. Generally, the machines are rigged on pulleys, which I’m sure skews the actual weight. And I suspect being anchored and pulling down is easier than pulling your free hanging mass up. Did you try the band assisted pull ups? Also, you can use a plyo box or bench to give yourself a hand up to the bar with your legs, then lower as slowly as possible. You’ll be surprised how quickly this builds you up to doing full reps.

      Reply
      • Chris October 26, 2010, 11:53 am

        Yeah, with an assisted pull up, and about 40 lbs assistance, I can easy get into double figures, but as soon as I try freeload, I really struggle to do one. I don’t understand it. I will keep doing other back exercises and continue with the pull ups until I can do them. I’m sure one day I’ll surprise myself, then it’s plain sailing.

        Reply
  • Michael Sherman October 26, 2010, 8:43 am

    Very cool. I wish I had a nice wide pull up bar like that so I could try!

    Reply
    • admin October 26, 2010, 8:56 am

      I must admit that bar was a bit of a splurge… :)
      Did you see the post where we put up the specs?

      Reply
  • Jeff October 26, 2010, 8:56 am

    This is a good variation that I hadn’t thought of before. The parallel grip has always seemed to me to be easier on my shoulders and elbows, which is what had led me before to use the cross-bars on my kids jungle gym – allowed me also to vary the width of the grip (to set distances between the bars anyway.) When we moved I had to weld together my own bar-system and attached it to the garage joists. I included angled ends and 6 parallel bars on it to allow for great variety of parallel grip width. When I sold that place, the buyer specifically stipulated that rig was to remain. Now I don’t have any way to do that (and nowhere to weld up a new rig or anywhere to place it.)
    This variation of Adam’s is a great way to fill in that gap I’ve been missing since then. Thanks.

    Reply
  • geert October 26, 2010, 3:36 pm

    Chris,

    How many chins can u do?

    Focus on them first(using pavel tsatsouline´s grease the groove/ladder system) til u can do 8-10.

    Also,throw in some inverted rows and the mike tyson drill:20 push ups followed immediately by 20 bench dips followed immediately by 20 elevated pushups.Rest 30 sec.Repeat drill.Rest 30 sec.Repeat 3rd & last time.

    Reply
  • Jacob October 28, 2010, 10:41 pm

    Do you have any tips on training to increase the amount of pull ups I can do?

    Reply
  • Darren November 6, 2010, 7:29 am

    I’ve never tried these before. I’ll have to give this a try when I get a chance. I alway like trying different variations to hit muscles differently.

    Reply

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