Are You Pulling Up the Right Way? 6 Common Pull-Up Mistakes to Avoid

by | Aug 17, 2023 | 0 comments

10 min read



You might be thinking, “Pull-ups are simple, right?” Hold on to that bar because there’s more to it than meets the eye.🤯

You confidently grab the bar, ready to show gravity who’s boss. But as you begin your ascent, you feel a strain in your neck, and your body swings wildly. Suddenly, what seemed like a breeze turned into a struggle. This scenario is all too common, and it’s often because of those sneaky little mistakes that like to creep into our pull-up form.

In the article, we’re about to break down those six common pull-up blunders that might sabotage your gains and present fixes so you can nail your pull-ups leaving you accomplished.


😱 6 Common Pull-Up Mistakes

📍Pull-ups are a simple but sneaky routine that can challenge even the fittest. If you’ve ever attempted a pull-up, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of feeling like a fish flopping out of the water rather than a graceful athlete conquering gravity.

Let’s shed light on the six most 📍common pull-up mistakes that could hinder your progress, along with some comical solutions to get you back on track.

👎Mistake #1: Too Wide or Too Narrow

If your grip is super wide, your shoulders might get grumpy. And if it’s too narrow, you actually don’t fire up the lats well enough. These grip extremes can lead to some unwanted shoulder irritation and under-engaged lats.

too narrow pullup mistakes

too wide pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

Aim for a grip slightly wider than your shoulders to strike the perfect balance.

Related article: 📍Exercises That Will Help You Improve Your Grip Strength

👎Mistake #2: Not Squeezing Scapula Together Before the Arm Pull

Imagine starting with your arms fully extended but your shoulders hunched up. Pulling up without squeezing your 📍scapula puts all the strain on your arms, making the pull-up much harder.

not squeezing pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

Before you pull up, pull your shoulder blades down and back like you’re trying to tuck them into your back pockets. This small action changes everything. It gets your back muscles involved, sharing the work and making the pull-up smoother. So, remember to engage those shoulder blades before you pull up—your back will thank you, and your pull-ups will feel much easier.

👎Mistake #3: Incorrect Elbow Pathway

Letting your elbows out to the sides messes up the natural motion your shoulder blades want to follow. These blades are meant to move around your ribs, especially in the 30 to 45-degree range, helping you lift yourself up.

Incorrect elbow pathway pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

To perform a pull-up effectively, it’s important to maintain the right angle for your arms, around 30 to 45 degrees. This angle is similar to what you’d do in push-ups and handstand push-ups, where you keep your elbows from flaring out to the sides.

Just like 📍push-ups and 📍handstands, pull-ups have a correct form too. Remember, correct elbow alignment means a more effective pull-up.

👎Mistake #4: Straining the Neck to Get the Chin Over the Bar 

In an effort to complete a pull-up with a chin-over-bar position, we often jut our necks forward. However, this habit isn’t neck-friendly and can result in added strain. It might even trigger headaches due to the extra stress imposed on the neck. This often occurs due to arm fatigue, leading to compensatory movements.

straining the neck pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

Instead of throwing your neck forward, concentrate on bringing your clavicles and chest toward the bar. Begin by squeezing your shoulder blades together and creating a firm arch. Maintain a more neutral position, with your head slightly behind your shoulders and the bar.

👎Mistake #5: Not Returning to the Straight Arm Hang

Another common mistake when doing pull-ups is skipping the straight arm hang between pull-ups. Imagine this: rushing through pull-ups without fully straightening your arms in between, just like you’d do with push-ups if you didn’t lock out your elbows.

It’s quicker and seems easier because your muscles are already active. However, this robs you of the complete movement.

Not returning to the straight arm pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

After each pull-up, make sure you go back to that straight arm hang position. This engages your muscles fully and ensures you work through the whole motion. It may feel harder, but your muscles benefit from a wider range of motion unless you are injured or limited.

👎Mistake #6: Loose Body 

This means you’re not holding yourself firmly, making the pull-up less effective and wasting energy. Your muscles need to be engaged for better results.

loose body pullup mistakes

Here’s the fix:

Stay strong and tight. Keep your body rigid and engaged. Don’t let your legs spread or your form get wavy. This helps target the right muscles and gives you better gains. Remember that a strong body makes better pull-ups, whether you are finishing or starting.

Watch the Full video here:


🔥Why Fixing Pull-Up Mistakes is Important?

Believe it or not, these blunders could be holding you back from making the most of your pull-up routine and even causing unnecessary risks to your body.

Remember, nailing proper form isn’t just about checking boxes – it’s like finding the secret code to unlock all those awesome pull-up gains while ensuring you stay safe and rock-solid.

Continuing to make these common pull-up mistakes might result in the following:

1. 🏆Reduced Muscle Engagement

Mistakes, like not engaging your scapulae or having a loose body, can lead to improper muscle activation. This means you’re not targeting the right muscles effectively, resulting in slower progress and fewer gains in strength and muscle development. According to 2020 scientific research, performing full-range pull-ups helps you develop strength for better muscular and strength gains.

2. 🏆Increased Risk of Injury

Poor form, such as straining the neck or not maintaining proper alignment, can stress joints and muscles unnecessarily. This increases the risk of injuries like strains, sprains, or even more serious problems.

3. 🏆Plateau in Progress

Incorrect techniques hinder your ability to progress in your pull-up journey. You might find it hard to increase the number of reps or the intensity of your workouts because you’re not using your muscles optimally.

4. 🏆Inefficient Workouts

Pull-up mistakes can make your workouts less efficient. You might feel fatigued quicker or not get the desired results from your efforts due to improper form, leading to frustration and discouragement.

5. 🏆Uneven Muscle Development

Neglecting the correct pull-up form can lead to uneven muscle development. Some muscles might be overworked, while others are underused, creating muscular imbalances that can impact posture and overall body strength.


🧐Frequently Asked Questions:

🔎Can I fix pull-up mistakes on my own? 

Absolutely! Recognizing these common mistakes is the first step. To correct them, focus on proper form, perform regressions if needed, and stay patient. If you’re unsure, seeking guidance from a fitness professional can be valuable.

🔎Can I perform pull-ups if I have shoulder issues? 

If you have shoulder problems, it’s best to consult a professional before attempting pull-ups. They can help determine if modified versions or alternative exercises suit your condition. Your safety and well-being come first!

🔎Should I perform pull-ups every day?

Doing pull-ups every day without adequate recovery time increases your risk of injury. It can also result in overtraining, which can harm your overall fitness.



Even exercises that seem simple, like pull-ups, can lead to a lot of mistakes. With the knowledge of these six common mistakes, you’re ready to tackle the bar with newfound confidence.

Remember, fitness isn’t just about the destination; it’s about embracing the quirks and chuckles that come with the ride. So straighten your grip, engage those lats, and bid adieu to the days of loose-noodle performances. The pull-up world is yours to conquer, one perfectly executed lift at a time.

The Movement Athlete app provides a dynamic platform to embark on your training journey. It offers tailored workout plans, expert guidance, and a supportive community to keep you motivated and on track.

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