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Negative Pull-Ups – Build A Muscular Back And Arms Properly

There is a lot of information about Negative pull-ups. Certainly, it’s an effective exercise for the upper body. Negative pull-ups are great for developing a powerful back and creating a beautiful V-shaped body. Exercise is popular among professional bodybuilders and healthy lifestyle lovers. Unfortunately, progress slows down at some point. It happens when you have already gained experience on the horizontal bar. And the muscles are used to the stress. Then various experiments (for example, with the width of the grip), variations, and complications come to the rescue. One of these options is Negative pull-ups, which we’ll consider below.

Features of Negative pull-ups

Classic pull-ups have two phases: lifting to the horizontal bar and lowering to the starting position. In the case of negative pull-ups, the emphasis is on the second phase. The key moment is the transition from the top point back to the hang-on straightened arms.

Concentrate your efforts on the second phase, trying to do the movement as slowly as possible. In this case, your muscles will receive a powerful load and impetus for further active growth. Thanks to that, you’ll take an unusual load on your muscles. This will give tangible progress for the classic pull-ups.

What muscles have a load?

During Negative pull-ups, the same muscles work as in classic pull-ups with different grip options. The wide grip loads the latissimus dorsi. A narrow grip puts more stress on the biceps and chest. The reverse grip works for the biceps. The direct grip loads the brachialis. And the parallel grip affects the lower lats.

Thus, Negative pull-ups increase the load on the biceps in almost all cases. Therefore, change grips. Or focus on the option in which you want to make progress.

Exercise technique

You can add negative lowering into classic pull-ups. Use usual technique. During the negative phase, when you lower yourself to the starting position of the hang on the horizontal bar, try to do it as slowly as possible. Focus on those moments when you feel a peak load on the target muscles.

If you want to do only the negative phase, you need to make some adjustments. Try to get help from a partner to eliminate the moment of lifting to the bar. Let him push you to the upper point of the exercise. Another option is to use a bench of a suitable height.


Let’s take a look at the exercise technique of the most common option – negative pull-ups from the bench:

1Stand on the bench. It should be high enough to bring your chin to the level of the horizontal bar. In other words, you should be at the upper point of the exercise

2Take the bar firmly with the correct grip

3Bend your knees and lift off the bench, relying on the bar

4Do the negative phase. Lower yourself as slowly as possible until your arms are straightened. It’s the starting position for classic pull-ups

5Stand on a bench and straighten your legs when you reach the bottom point. You have returned to the starting position. Do the required number of reps


The number of sets and reps depends on your training goals. On average, try to do 3 sets of 6-10 reps.

Remember, the more slowly you move, the more effective it will be. The number of reps doesn’t matter to the result.

Useful tips and tricks

There are some helpful tips to increase the effectiveness of negative pull-ups:

  • Think about your training goal. What pull-ups do you want to make progress on? What muscle groups do you want to load harder? Adjust the width and direction of the grip depending on the purpose

  • Experienced athletes can further complicate the exercise by adding additional weights. In addition, they can do the exercise on one arm. It’s lifting to the upper point on two arms and lower only on one

  • It’s not recommended to include exercise frequently in your workouts. Otherwise, the muscles will get used to the load, and progress will stop. Use negative pull-ups if you get stuck and want to make progress


Thus, negative pull-ups are an excellent exercise for the training program. Use it wisely. Then you will be surprised at the result!

I'm a professional fitness instructor and nutritionist, runner, husband and father. I do my best in providing the right guidance when it comes to the grounds of sexual health, nutrition and common fitness.

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