If you can pull it off (no pun intended), then there’s no move like upside down pull ups to target the major muscle groups of the upper body.
It’s not a conventional move. Definitely not something that you’d see people do every day in the gym.
It takes a lot of skill, strength and practice to perform. But that’s what makes it so appealing.
Add to that the fact that it engages and fires your core and abdominal muscles every single time.
It helps improve balance, stability and flexibility.
That’s enough reasons to consider adding it to your workout routine.
But if you have been intimidated by seeing more experienced athletes perform the upside down pull ups, then don’t fret.
We have compiled a handy, brief guide that will help even rank beginners to perform the upside down pull up to perfection.
What are Upside Down Pull Ups / Chin ups?
Upside down pull ups are a bodyweight exercise in which you hang off the bar (or rings) like a normal pull up, lift your legs upwards until you are in an inverted position with your feet parallel to the floor and then pull the body up bringing the chest to the bar and lowering it again.
It’s almost like performing a rowing movement with your body while hanging upside down. If you don’t have the budget or space for a heavy-duty rowing machine, then this makes for a perfect alternative.
A complete antagonistic or synergistic move that fires multiple muscle groups at once.
What are the Benefits of Upside Down Pull Ups?
Apart from gaining boasting rights you mean? There are aplenty.
Targets more muscles – Abs, Core, Biceps, Back, List Goes on and on
Just like we mentioned earlier, the move involves all the major muscles of the upper body. You engage the shoulder (anterior and posterior), the traps, the upper back, the triceps, the biceps and the core, all at the same time. The range of motion is just amazing, this exercise will not only help you look great but also will increase your stamina and endurance.
By incorporating it into your routines, you will gain a considerable amount of strength in your biceps and triceps which will translate into smoother lifts during advanced workouts like a normal chest dip, chest press and a bench press.
Upside down pull ups are one of the best (the best)variations of pull ups for abs.
It’s a fat burner – Extreme Energy Expenditure
Try doing three sets of max reps of the upside down pull ups to know what we mean. It’s a compound movement folks. And it’s a calorie burner. Besides, it helps in muscle hypertrophy – a wise idea is to use theragun before or after the workout for better recovery and growth.
More muscle equates less fat. If you’re a female looking for home exercises to get rid of belly fat, this one makes for a perfect start.
It’s Great for Your Health – (General But So True)
Hanging upside down for short stints is great for your overall health. It stretches out your spine, increases blood circulation in the body, helps with muscle growth, relieves stress and pressure that builds up due to gravity and is also purported to be good for your skin.
Some therapists use it for relieving pain caused due to conditions like scoliosis.
So bigger muscles and fewer wrinkles. Who’s complaining?
It Strengthens your Grip
As you hang upside down on the bar, chances are that you would not want to slip. So you would make the extra effort to hold on to it like your life depended on it. Truly, you don’t want to come crashing down on the floor.
This automatically helps improve your grip strength, build your hands to be bigger and stronger which in turn can be very beneficial when you start to move heavier weight. I am fond of squatting and benching on the same day, although somehow I end up benching more than I squat.
This workout has definitely improved my grip exponentially for these workouts – more so when doing 1 set to failure. Irrespective of whether you are looking to bench your 1RM or looking to snatch a heavier weight, a strong grip will always make it easier to maintain form and prevent injury.
What is the Best Upside Down Pull up Bar? My Recommendation
Now that you see just how to do upside down pull ups and just how beneficial they are to both your physique and to your health you need to be buying an upside down pull up bar.
Which one do I recommend? – Teeter Ez Upside Down Pull Up Bar
This is my favorite upside pull up bar and is the one that I personally use. You can check it out on amazon for cheap by clicking here.
Exercises To Help Your Perform Upside Down Pull Ups
There are some exercises that can help you develop the upper body and core strength needed to perform the upside down pull up.
Hanging leg raise
Grasp a high bar and slowly raise your legs up until they are parallel to the ground. This requires a fair amount of core strength though. So if you are new to it, bending your knees will make it easier – alternatively, you can start off with hang leg raises or the captain’s chair workout.
Crunches variations like water crunches, cable crunches, double crunches, or standing oblique crunches also help strength your core, you only need to know the number of crunches you can do per day for your fitness level. Not only does this target the rectus abdominis, but it will also help to strengthen the iliopsoas muscle or the anterior hip flexor.
Many beginners find it extremely difficult to pull their legs up towards the bar when they get started with the upside down pull up. Practicing the plough pose helps increase spinal flexibility and mobility. This will make you less prone to injury when you finish the final move.
Hollow Body Hold
The hollow torso is one of the fundamentals of a strong core. It is crucial to master this move if you are interested in gymnastics. The hollow body hold helps you gain the core strength needed to perform the hollow torso in the blink of an eye. Lie flat on the ground, lift your head and your shoulder off the ground, now lift your legs off the ground. You should be lying flat with your lower back touching the floor.
Upside Down Pull Ups on Rings vs. on the Bar
Pull ups, even neutral grip, are always challenging, irrespective of what variation you are trying to perform.
Having said that, ring pull ups are lightly more challenging as compared to conventional pull ups performed on the bar. That’s because you will be engaging the core while trying to keep the body stable.
The body automatically aligns to find the most comfortable position as you perform the move.
However, these are gentler on your joints, particularly the elbow.
It’s natural then that the upside down pull ups on rings will be a lot harder as compared to those performed on the bar.
If you are looking to graduate into upside down pull ups on the bar, we highly recommend that you master the standard ring pull up first.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
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