Sat Jun 22

Key to improve your Pull Ups: control and optimize the swinging

Yerai Alonso

Yerai Alonso

Key to improve your Pull Ups: control and optimize the swinging

When we do strict pull-ups there is a small sway, a minimum swing that may barely be perceptible, but which is much more important than it might seem, because if we do not manage it well, it can become something that prevents us from progressing. However, if we know how to control it well, it can help us get more and better repetitions.

Poor balance coordination in pull-ups is one of the most common mistakes and the one I have never seen the least talked about, being a mistake that lowers your performance, preventing you from performing all the repetitions you could, making the execution less clean. and, if you do it with weight, making your lift poorly executed and therefore being able to lift less weight.

And be careful, I'm not referring to a noticeable swing like there may be in freestyle movements or kipping pull-ups, I'm referring to managing that minimal sway that occurs when we are doing strict pull-ups.

You see, if you start your set of pull-ups hanging completely on dead stop, you will not have initial swing, but from the moment you lower the first repetition, a certain forward inertia is produced, which, if you do not control it well, turns into a swing that can reach be increasingly stronger and make each repetition more difficult or force you to pause to regain control.

However, if you learn to control it and execute the pull-up at the right time, you can prevent this swing from getting worse and make it a factor that works in your favor and helps you get more reps.

What are the common mistakes and their consequences

The first mistake is to start the pull-up when we are swinging forward, this makes it more difficult for us to go up, because we have to use our pulling force to counteract that forward inertia at the beginning of the movement, and it also means that while our body goes up, Our hips and legs continue to move forward, making the technique very ugly and causing us to have more and more swing if we continue making the same mistake.

And the second mistake is to start the pull-up when you are going backwards, this obviously has the opposite effect to the previous mistake, our legs and hips carry inertia backwards, which will make the upper part of the movement especially difficult, where we will have to counteract that inertia with our strength. Furthermore, this error generates a very powerful swing that if you chain it in two or more repetitions becomes unsustainable.

The correct swing in pull-ups

So what is the correct way to manage the swing? Well, it's very simple, you simply have to start the pull-up right at the moment when the forward swing has finished and the backward swing is going to begin, right at that small micro-pause that exists at that moment. This way, you will go up without having to fight against any inertia and will make the rocking that occurs when you go back down minimal and easily controllable.

Over time I have even realized that raising the pull-up at this point in the movement, cutting off the swing, is more effective than raising it from a completely static position. This is because since the forward swing has already been completed and the backward swing is beginning, there is a very slight backward inertia, which makes the initial part of the movement easier, but does not complicate the final part.

You can see it for yourself if you look at advanced athletes who are doing a series of pull-ups close to failure, you will see that when they are already at their limit, sometimes they intentionally try not to start the pull-up completely static but instead generate a small swing to start it at the exact point that we just described.

Before finishing, I remind you that at Calisteniapp we have routines and training programs to improve pull-ups, get more repetitions, pass police exams and much more.

By Yerai Alonso,


Join our newsletter



Learn everything you need to know about calisthenics


Start training calisthenics and street workout