Australian Pull-Ups – All Things You Should Know

Australian Pull Ups

Pulling workouts are essential whether you are a weightlifter or a gymnastic athlete. Although these exercises, particularly chin-ups and regular pull-ups, have many benefits, they can be challenging.

A practical solution in this situation is the Australian pull-up. But what is it? Other names include bodyweight row, inverted row, and horizontal pull-ups.

It is among the ideal calisthenic exercises for people trying to perfect a regular pull-up.

Also, Australian pull-ups can help you improve muscle, so you will perform more great workouts like planches and dragon flags.

You can create a regimen that you can practice almost anywhere without cost by combining them with squat leaps, lunges, or side planks.

Let’s dive into this article to explore everything related to this exercise.

What Muscles Do Australian Pull Ups Work

What Muscles Do Australian Pull Ups Work

Australian pull-up is a compound workout. It requires many joints and different muscle groups to cooperate while you exercise.

How do muscles work when you do this exercise? Australian pull-ups mainly include the following muscular groups:

Latissimus dorsi

It’s the primary muscle or the agonist while you do Australian pull-ups and is commonly referred to as the lats.

Latissimus dorsi extends and adducts the shoulder joint. If properly developed, it makes the upper back wider.

Biceps brachii

This muscle is on the upper arms’ front and flexes the elbows. While this workout focuses on the upper back, it is also suitable for the biceps brachii.

Middle trapezius & rhomboid

The middle trapezius is across the shoulder blades, while rhomboids lie between the scapulas. The principal function of these muscle groups is retracting or pulling the shoulder girdle back.


One of the principles while doing Australian pull-ups is to keep the body straight as much as possible.

The core muscles, including obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and transverse abdominis, will stabilize the midsection for proper alignment.


Australian pull-up requires a firm grip to build muscles. It involves the forearm muscle groups.

It’s essential to achieve grip strength because several sports and daily activities will be more straightforward thanks to this muscularity.

Gluteus Maximus

The gluteus maximus is a large, powerful, and primary extensor single muscle of the hip. Thus, it doesn’t work hard when you perform an Australian pull-up, but it will be contracted.

This muscle cooperates with the butt muscles and core during the exercise to keep the body straight.

How To Do Australian Pull-Ups?

How To Do Australian Pull-Ups

The Australian pull-up is beneficial for building muscles when you do it properly. If it’s your first time performing this exercise, let’s check the simple steps below!

Step 1: Position Your Body Correctly

Slide under the horizontal bar while you should ensure to reach it comfortably. It’s better to select a lower bar, which is easier to pull up.

Make sure your shoulders are parallel to the bar. It assists in your targeting while lifting your body toward the bar.

The pectoral muscles should be directly in the center of the bar when you contact it. Remember to keep your heels on the floor.

If you exercise with a high bar, you should ensure your feet are flat on the floor.

Step 2: Get A Bar Grip

You can change the difficulty levels of Australian pull-ups with some grips. But how do you put your hands? What is the distance between them?

If you focus on scapular retraction, your hands should be shoulder-width apart on the bar.

It’s relatively challenging when doing a closer grip. That’s because the scapula can’t be flexible when you place your hands close together when reaching the sternum.

Ensure your hands are shoulder-width apart so that the scapula can effortlessly move. This act creates the movement of shoulder muscles towards the backbone, which is among the main benefits of this exercise.

Step 3: Keep The Body Straight

When you put your feet flat on the floor and the grip is in the correct position, you can see a straight line from head to toe.

Try to keep your body on a plane as you perform this exercise. Avoid letting your head fall back or lifting it to see your body.

One of the reasons why you should add the Australian pull-up to your regimen is that it requires you to maintain a straight body.

You must flex your midsection and pull your scapular blades back to support your body straight. Activate your core and contract your back. Engage your legs and also your glutes.

Step 4: Gently Pull Down The Bar

When you inhale, try to pull the bar toward your body, preventing you from putting all your effort into the latissimus dorsi.

Australian pull-up is an upper-body workout rather than a curl. It would be best to let other body parts like pecs, shoulders, and back engage in this exercise.

Moreover, ensure your biceps participate in this workout. Your arms can’t flex without this muscle, but you shouldn’t neglect the other upper body parts.

Step 5: Return To The First Position

Maintain a firm, straight body when gradually lowering yourself to the movement’s bottom.

You will get stronger as a result of this action. The eccentric part enhances the Australian pull-up techniques and strength.

Benefits of Australian Pull-ups

Besides the primary purpose of building muscle strength, the Australian pull-up has various health benefits. Let’s see!

Benefits Of Australian Pull-Ups

Great Workout For The Lower Body

It is challenging to perform a workout that simultaneously works the lower and upper bodies.

However, this workout ensures your hamstrings and glutes work together when pulling down the bar.

This training is ideal if you want to train your hips legs and back more quickly while getting ready to reduce the time you spend working out.

Engages Your Lower Back

The Australian pull-up is also good for your lower back if you perform enough sets and reps.

It will take some extra effort to activate your Latissimus dorsi muscle However, after the complex contraction of muscle groups, you can easily pull it off.

Develops Your Grip Strength.

Because the Australian pull-up technique is less challenging than the traditional pull-up, you will find it easier to develop grip strength.

Endurance is more crucial than muscle size when mentioning grip. You should maintain your gripping muscle group under tension.

Also, you have a higher chance of improving the total grip if you exercise different grips while performing the Australian pull-up.

Targets Your Mid Back

The Australian pull-up is one of the ideal solutions if you are looking for exercise for your back at home.

You can adjust the bar to increase or decrease the difficulty level or activate your mid back.

Increasing your body’s angle with the floor is a good idea to activate the mid back effectively.

Involves Little Equipment

Instead of searching for or purchasing a specialized pull-up bar, it is much simpler to buy a bar for the Australian pull-up.

Both pull-up workouts provide several similar advantages, but the Australian pull-up requires no dedicated equipment.

Therefore, this pull-up variant can be the ideal choice if you want to add to your weightlifting regimen.

Improves Muscle Imbalances

Your back is among the body parts with the least muscular mass. With this exercise, you can provide an overall workout quickly.

If you often use computers, your muscles may develop an imbalance. For instance, a weak back muscle group may cause poor posture and rounded shoulders.

This pull-up exercise is an excellent way to enhance your back muscle and modify your posture.

Involves Plyometric Applications

Plyometrics are intense and fast-paced workouts. Australian pull-ups have various types; one of them can be plyometrics.

You can modify between widths, grips, and many other factors. It will maintain your arms and back in shape.

Enhances Core Strength

When performing this workout, you must prevent your body from falling. This movement requires much core strength.

For this reason, the Australian pull-up is ideal for improving core muscles. It also helps you enhance your overall core activation.

Works Arm Muscles

The activity concentrates on the muscle of your biceps, brachii, and forearms when you utilize the underhand grip.

As you can see, weightlifters often have greater strength in the arm instead of the back, so you should switch grips to perform some sets and reps to build muscles.

Australian Pull Ups Variations

If you find traditional Australian pull-ups challenging, you can try other variations, as shown below!

Australian Pull Ups Variations

Suspension Trainer Australian Pull-Ups

If you have equipment like a suspension trainer, it’s possible to do this workout at home.

This suspension variant is more straightforward and comfortable on your elbows and wrists than the original version, as you can turn your hands so that the palms are facing inward.

Before training, check the manufacturer’s directions carefully and ensure you fasten the anchor point tight and strong to hold your body weight.

Band-Assisted Australian Pull-Ups

This variant is suitable for anyone who is overweight, has recovered from an injury, or finds it hard to do traditional Australian pull-ups.

You have to prepare nothing but a resistance band before practicing this exercise.

It’s a good idea to use a strong resistance band at first. After that, utilize a lighter band when your muscle strength increases.

Just wrap the band over your thoracic spine to ease the pressure off your arms and keep it in place.

Single-Arm Australian Pull-Ups

If you want a workout to improve your arm strength at a time, nothing is better than this pull-up variation.

This exercise is beneficial for determining and repairing the strength imbalances from the left hand to the right one.

Additionally, it makes your core more active since you need to work harder to keep your body from twisting.

Some inexperienced exercisers find this type is challenging than the traditional Australian pull-up. One helpful tip is to feel free when lifting the bar or bending your legs.

Weighted Australian Pull-Ups

While the Australian pull-up is a bodyweight workout, there is no limit to using your weight as resistance.

You can use a resting weight plate or wear a body weight vest to make your exercise more challenging.

Putting extra weights on the body will increase biceps and back activation while improving the core muscles.

Bent Leg Australian Pull-Ups

If you are a beginner, look no further than this variation. It allows you to stretch your set past its typical failure point with mechanical drop sets.

Remember to straighten your legs while doing mechanical drop sets. If you can’t continue, pump out repeatedly after bending your legs.

Decline Australian Pull-Ups

If the regular Australian pull-up is too easy for you, you can increase the difficulty level with this variation.

The upper body will be under additional strain if you raise your feet and stoop. Consider using a plyo box or an exercise bench. Putting your feet higher will make the workout more challenging.

Partner Australian Pull-Ups

You must have a skilled companion for this variation because they will support your body weight on their legs, arms, and back during this workout.

Australian Pull-Ups Between Chairs

You need to prepare two durable chairs. After that, put a sturdy pole between them and pull up as usual.

Be careful not to tip your chairs. Try to move gently and softly to prevent unneeded jerks.

This workout is good for building abs as you must keep your abdomen straight during pull-up reps.

Tabletop Australian Pull-Ups

This variant is ideal for building your latissimus dorsi muscle at home without any dedicated equipment. All you need is a solid table to do this exercise.

Australian Pull-Ups Tips

Australian Pull-Ups Tips

Follow these tips to perform the Australian pull-up like a pro!

Keep The Chest Up

Try to keep the chest up to maximize back activation. Also, remember to straighten the wrists and pull the elbows backward. This way, the rhomboids, and mid-trap will achieve the best result.

Chalk The Hands

Chalking the hands to ensure they are not sweaty and slippery while you lift or lower the bar.

Make Your Whole Body Tense

While this exercise focuses on the upper body, you can still get more benefits by tensing your whole body.

To straighten your body, try to contract your glutes, core, and quadriceps. If your body is stable, you can generate more force with your biceps and back.

Consider Underhand Version

This technique enables you to perform more sets and reps. Moreover, you can also raise more weight with the palms-up grip.

Frequent Asked Questions

What Muscles Do Australian Pull-Ups Work?

This workout mainly targets the upper body’s muscles, including the biceps, latissimus dorsi, abdominal muscles, rear deltoids, and forearms.

Moreover, the lower body muscles also involve this workout to stabilize your body, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.

Why Is It Called Australian Pull-Ups?

No one knows exactly the origin of the name. Some people suppose it reflects the posture of the exercisers (the body is under the bar, and you must try to pull your body toward it) when doing the workout.

Moreover, this physical activity is popular in Australia. For all these reasons, people call it an Australian pull-up.

What Are Australian Pull-Ups Good For?

This exercise offers various benefits, like building muscles in the shoulders, thoracic spine, and arms.

Also, it strengthens the lower body muscles, such as the hamstrings or glutes.

Australian Pull-Ups Are The Same As Inverted Rows?

Yes! The inverted rows are known as Australian pull-ups. It’s also other name for bodyweight rows.

Do Australian Pull-Ups Work Effectively Forearms?

The answer is yes! This workout is practical for building the posterior and anterior forearm muscles.

Final Thoughts

The Australian pull-up is an excellent workout for anyone who wants to build muscle groups in the upper body.

This exercise brings numerous benefits, like developing grip and core strength and improving muscle imbalances.

If you find this traditional version challenging, you can try different, more accessible variations mentioned above, depending on your fitness level.

Hopefully, you can perform this pull-up efficiently and build your muscles. Thanks for reading!

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