Self-assisted pull-up exercise
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Self-assisted pull-up

Exercise details

  • Target: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Synergists: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Pectoralis Minor, Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Rhomboids, Teres Minor, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Levator Scapulae
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Triceps Brachii (long head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Place a bench under a bar.
  2. Hang from the bar, with your feet resting lightly on the bench.


  1. Exhale as you pull your body up until your chin rises above the bar, pushing with your legs as little as possible and only when you can no longer pull with your arms.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back and biceps muscles.
  3. Inhale as you lower your body back to the starting position using only your arms.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • The self-assisted pull-up is a fantastic exercise for beginners who are unable to perform the pull-up. Use it to build your strength until you are able to perform the standard pull-up.
  • Pull with your elbows, not with your biceps.
  • Only assist yourself when you are unable to pull yourself up any higher. Your legs should be used as minimally as possible so that your upper body can develop more strength.
  • This exercise is also called the leg-assisted pull-up.
  • See also the machine-assisted pull-up and the L-sit pull-up.

Self-assisted pull-up video


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