Australian Pull Ups

What is the Australian Pull Up? 

The Australian pull-up is a calisthenics exercise that builds your upper body strength, especially your pulling strength. This is great for beginners as it can be used as a preparatory exercise for pull-ups. It uses less bodyweight as you'd have to lie underneath the bar with your arms straight and heels on the ground which puts your body at an inclined slope. Still, this exercise uses the same movement path as the pull-up which will build muscle in your back, shoulders, and arms.

Australian Pull-Up Muscles Worked

The Australian pull-up targets the upper body muscles including the latissimus dorsi, biceps, rear deltoids, abdominal muscles, and forearms muscles. It also targets the lower body muscle groups such as the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings as these muscles will have to be engaged to help stabilize the body. 

The Men's Health suggests that the Australian pull-up is a great exercise for strengthening back muscles to build a better posture - especially for those who spend most of the day sitting. I agree, and this should be the included into your pull workouts.

How to do the Australian Pull-Ups?

1. Body Position

Position yourself under a low bar with your hands gripped tight at shoulders-width apart, and arms straight. Line your shoulders with the bar so that when you pull up, your middle chest touches the bar.  Straighten your body out by keeping your feet together, and recruit your glutes, and quads to keep your body tight. Your body should be at an inclined slope. 

2. Grip The Bar Tight

There are many grip variations you can do to perform this exercise, but for now, you would have a tight pronated grip shoulders width apart with your thumbs underneath the bar. Stay in an active hang with your scapulars retracted as this will provide you with additional support for the shoulder and increase power and muscle mass. 

You can use six different grip positions and widths to work different muscle groups. The close grip emphasizes your biceps and chest muscles more than the wide grip, which means you may be able to perform more repetitions. The pronated grip is better for working the lower trapezius and lats, whereas the supinated grip is better for working the biceps and the pec major.

3. Pull Straight To Your Chest

 Exhale as you pull the bar straight to your chest and engage your rear deltoids and your biceps, whilst keeping your body in a straight line. You should feel resistance in your upper body muscle groups such as the upper back, chest, shoulders, and arms doing the work, as well as the lower body muscles, the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Retract Your Scapulas

As you pull up, make sure to retract your scapulas (pulling your shoulder blades together) as this will improve the muscular contraction and strengthen your shoulder blades. Other than this, it will assist in improving your posture and create efficient arm movement and joint stability.

4. Return To Your Starting Position. 

Inhale as you lower down into a starting position, and lock both elbows out before pulling back up. This maintains a full range of motion which will result in better muscle balance, joint stability,  proper activation of working muscles, and overall better movement quality. 

Australian Pull Up Benefits

Increases Grip Strength

The Australian pull-up is great for building the anterior and posterior muscles of your forearms. Your grip strength is important because you require it for almost every activity, whether it’s opening a door or lifting up a box, they all require grip strength. One of the most efficient ways for higher reps, bigger lifts, muscular hypertrophy and serious training gains all starts from your grip strength.

Target Your Middle Back

The muscles that are in use in the middle of your back are the traps, rhomboid, and lats, this is great for those who are looking to sculpt their body and build muscle. Don’t be surprised if your back feels sore during the day you perform lots of Australian pull-ups, and even more sore the following day. This is because your muscles are working harder than they’re used to or in a different way which inevitably grows your back muscles, giving the body a V-shape physique that looks enchanting and powerful. 

Minimal Equipment Needed

The Australian pull-up can be performed almost anywhere with minimal equipment needed, you can perform this exercise by using a doorway pull up bar, a low bar at the park, a side of a dip bar, gymnastics rings, TRX,  or any study elevated surfaces in your home (such as two chairs parallel to each other or even under a four-legged table). You can blast your body anywhere using only body weight and exercise that only requires your body weight is considered calisthenics!

A Progression For The Pull-Up

This progression has a significant role in achieving and strengthening your pull-ups and increasing your repetitions. It works on the same muscle groups as the traditional pull-ups. They’re a great way to build muscular strength for your upper back, shoulders, arms, and core. With every single repetition that you do, you are increasing your ability to isolate and engage the muscles involved in pulling your own body vertically upwards towards the bar above you.

What is the difference between the Australian Pull Up and the Pull Up?

The Australian pull-up is an exercise that is used as a progression toward achieving the pull-up. With the Australian pull-up, you are pulling your body horizontally upwards, which makes this exercise easier since there is less load on the upper body as your legs are on the ground, taking most of your weight away from your upper body.

Whereas, with pull-ups, you are pulling your body vertically upwards without the assistance of your legs which increases the load on the upper body, therefore, creating more resistance on the muscles. Australian pull-ups improve your posture by working on the erector spinae muscle group, along with engaging many muscles along the spine of your scapulars, such as your rear deltoids and your traps which is good for broadening your shoulders and straightening your back.

A 2020 study assessed the effectiveness of resistance training that is time-efficient and simple to perform, these exercises include Australian pull-ups, bodyweight squats, and push-ups. This study was conducted for 24 weeks on untrained individuals and the results suggest that resistance training is a health promotion and disease prevention strategy that is considered first-line treatment for nearly all chronic disease states.

The Takeaways: Australian Pullups

Australian pull-ups are a great addition to your back day workouts, they will help you to progress towards a pull-up and develop your compound strength. I have written a comprehensive pull up tutorial that will guide you through all of the progressions towards getting your first pull-up and improving your numbers for the pull-up. 

This exercise has many benefits and is easy to set up. If you feel like you don't have the strength for the pull-up, then Australian pull-ups should be your go-to exercise. Also, I highly recommend you to try this beginner's level upper back workout to further condition your back muscles.