Ultimate Female Pull Up Program

Build incredible upper body strength without a single barbell in sight

Ultimate Female Pull Up Program two female athletes performing pull up variations

Performing a proper set of chin over bars is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. It shows the world that she is not only strong but is a master of her own body too. Use this ultimate female pull up program to progress yours to the next level and smash your strength goals.

One of the great things about this chosen exercise is its functionality. Being able to grab a hold of something and raise your entire body weight on command translates directly to real life.

You never know when you might have to channel your inner Lara Croft and scale a super high structure. Also, imagine the face of all the annoying gym bros when you’re handling the bar like the Queen of calisthenics. Pure jealousy and awe.

One of the best things about implementing pull ups into your fitness journey is that they’re so rudimental. Hey, we don’t mean that in a bad way either! More like, you can literally grab a hold of a bar anyplace, any time, and jump into a set.

There are not many exercises proven to be so successful in measuring and building strength that’s also so convenient. Every woman would love a squat rack right on her doorstep, but that isn’t always practical (or affordable). A bar on the other hand totally is.

What this program can offer you

female performing standard grip pull up

  • A total upper body workout
  • Increased upper body strength
  • Better grip strength
  • Learn how to hit different body parts with grip variations
  • Highly developed core strength

The above are just five main points this program can offer a dedicated lady who lifts. Upon completing this collection of workout routines, you should notice your entire upper body beginning to change.

Using different gripping variations, you will be specifically targeting multiple muscle groups. Traditional hand setups focus mainly on the latissimus dorsi, but you’ll be looking to work far more than that. Your goal is to create an athletic entire upper body, not just the back.

Consequently, by consistently defying gravity with nothing but a bar your grip strength will become much tougher than before. That’ll mean your forearms are less likely to give out when it matters the most, allowing for one more final rep.

Square One: The Perfect Pull Up

square one the perfect pull up demonstrationLet’s get the basics down first. As they say, “you shouldn’t run before you can walk”. So, our square one is getting that chin over the bar in the most effective way possible.

If you’re reading this panicking about your inability to perform a crisp clean pull up, don’t worry.

We’ve already thought of that and advise you look to bust them out assisted instead. Simply grab a rubber resistance band and away you go.

However, even if you eat bodyweight exercises for breakfast, don’t just skip this section. You never know what you might learn, and it never hurts to have a little crash course refresher.

How to do it:

  1. Grab hold of a bar with your hands only slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  2. Ensure you’re using a pronated (palms facing forward and down) grip with the thumbs wrapped comfortably around
  3. Hang so the arms are fully extended. This is where you will start the concentric ascending phase (going up)
  4. Pull your entire body upwards until your chin clears the bar. Brace that core, and keep control of your body throughout the whole movement
  5. Also, try not to kick your legs to help you get up there. Not only are you wasting energy, but any assistance in momentum gained is simply cheating
  6. Once you’re right at the top squeeze the working muscles. This’ll give you a better muscle fiber response AKA more gains, girl!
  7. Descend under control back to square one

Awesome! So now we’re all on the same page, let’s get to the program.

The Ultimate Female Pull Up Program

woman showing practicality of pull up in a park

As we have already mentioned we’re here to build empowering upper body strength. So, with that in mind, the team at SpotMeGirl have put together not just one, but three specifically designed workouts.

We decided to do this so that you can squeeze the absolute most out of every muscle and session. Trying to cram every single movement into one cookie-cutter routine leaves no space for recovery and can become stale.

Therefore, we suggest you hit one workout every other day. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday have been suggested, but it’s all down to your preference.

So long as you’re well rested, go get’em, girl. Accept nothing but your best on the journey to becoming a strong and powerful woman.

Here’s the ultimate female pull up program:

Monday (Day 1)

ExerciseRepsSetsRest
1a. Standard Grip Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
1b. Wide Grip Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
1c. Scapula Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
1d. Toes to Bar5,4,3,2,460secs

Wednesday (Day 2)

ExerciseRepsSetsRest
2a. Chin Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
2b. Close Grip Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
2c. Hockey Grip Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
2d. Active Hang20secs (+10 per week)260-90secs

Friday (Day 3)

ExerciseRepsSetsRest
3a. Side to Side Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
3b. Mixed Grip Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
3c. Archer Pull Up5,4,3,2,460-90secs
3d. Negatives5,4,3,360secs

Suggested plan of attack

female athlete performing strict pull upAs you can see we’ve seriously mixed up our approach to attacking the bar. We’ll break down how to do each individual variation in a moment. But first, let’s talk about planning.

We have designed this program so that the workouts increase in difficulty as the week goes on.

This isn’t because we’re trying to be mean or make it super hard. The idea was to save the best until last, so you can have a whole two days to recover.

SpotMeGirl suggests you hit each session on day one, three and five of the week. Leaving a day to rest in between gives your torn muscle fibers a chance to repair themselves. If we get our recovery on point, those micro-tears will grow back thicker and stronger.

To experience a noticeable change aim to carry out this program for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. It will work for less, of course, but the results won’t be quite dramatic.

Every week step the rep range up a notch. Increase by one pull up every time and soon enough you’ll be hitting 12 easy. What we’re doing here is increasing the volume of work to continually challenge the muscle. As it adapts, the program must adapt too.

Variation Breakdown Manual

Not everybody is a YouTube sensation bar star with an encyclopedic knowledge of pull up variations. So, we don’t expect all of our readers to know what every single exercise we’ve laid out is either.

Here we will do a short and snappy breakdown for each one. Feel free to refer back to this if you find yourself a little stuck on key points. However, it’s a good idea to wait until both feet are back on the ground to reach for your phone.

1a. Standard Pull Up

standard pull up demonstrated by femaleKey points:

  • Hands slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core
  • Try not to use momentum to cheat through the reps

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Trapezius
  • Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis major
  • Core

1b. Wide Grip Pull Up

woman performs wide grip pull upKey points:

  • Hands 2x shoulder width
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Core

1c. Scap Pull Up

female showing hot to scap pull up as part of ultimate pull up programKey points:

  • Standard pull up grip width
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core
  • Do not flex the elbow
  • Pull shoulder blades together to lift the body
  • Hold at the top for a second or two

Main muscles used:

  • Rhomboids
  • Trapezius Iii
  • Trapezius Iv
  • Core

1d. Toes to Bar

toes to bar being demonstrated by female crossfit athlete for ultimate pull up programKey Points:

  • Standard pull up grip width
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core
  • Start hanging from the bar
  • Raise the knees to towards the chest before extending the legs
  • Remain controlled on the eccentric descending phase
  • Do not perform this exercise assisted with a band (hit a set of negatives instead)

Main muscles used:

  • Obliques
  • Hip flexors
  • Abdominals
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Serratus

2a. Chin Up

demonstration of strict form pull up

Key points:

  • Grip slightly narrower than shoulder width
  • Use an underhand/supinated/reverse facing grip
  • Keep trunk as straight and stable as possible to better engage the biceps
  • Remember to squeeze once you hit the top to maximize muscle fiber reaction
  • Put your mind into the muscle and concentrate on those biceps

Main muscles used:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis major
  • Core

2b. Close Grip Pull Up

close grip pull up demonstrated by femaleKey points:

  • Grip the bar so your hands are around 6 inches apart
  • Employ an overhand/pronated/forward facing grip
  • Engage core throughout the movement
  • To stay strict, try not to use momentum to complete any reps

Main muscles used:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Trapezius m.
  • Pectoralis Major
  • Core

2c. Hockey Grip Pull Up

female athlete doing hockey grip pull up with rubber resistance bandKey points:

  • Grip the bar with hands close together in the same way you’d grip a hockey stick (or baseball bat)
  • Engage core throughout entire exercise so that you can safely move side to side
  • Raise the shoulder under control until it touches the bar
  • Be careful not to hit your head!
  • To ward off potential imbalances, start on each side twice

Main muscles used:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Core
  • Brachioradialis (elbow flexor)
  • Obliques
  • Remaining core

2d. Active Hang

female athlete performing strict pull up with great form

Key points:

  • Standard pull up grip width
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core
  • Do not flex the elbow
  • Remember to breathe
  • Keep trunk aligned and eyes facing forward

Main muscles worked:

  • Hands
  • Wrist flexors
  • Forearms (Brachioradialis & Extensor Carpi)
  • Shoulders (Deltoids)
  • Core

3a. Side to Side Pull Up

side to side pull up demonstrated by female bodybuilderKey points:

  • Standard grip setup
  • As you pull up head towards the right-hand side of the bar
  • Hold the position once you reach top right, return to the starting point, pull back up towards the left
  • When you’re at the top remember to squeeze
  • Descend under control as to not cheat your way back up with the momentum
  • Feel free to find a resistance band for assistance if needed

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Bicep Brachii
  • Core
  • Rotator cuff
  • Core

3b. Mixed Grip Pull Up

alternate grip pull up demonstrated by female crossfit athleteKey points:

  • Standard grip width. However, mix up the hand positions by grasping the bar with one pronated and the other supinated.
  • Complete both the ascending and descending phase just like a regular pull up
  • Switch up the hand setup after each set to counteract the potential for imbalances

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis major
  • Core

3c. Archer Pull Up

female athlete archer pull up demonstrationKey points:

  • Standard grip set up
  • Overhand/forward facing/pronated grip
  • Engage core
  • As you reach the summit, bend one elbow whilst extending the opposite arm across the bar
  • Imagine an archer drawing a bow. This is how you should look at the top
  • Descend just like you do in a standard pull up
  • Alternate sides at the beginning of each set to create symmetry in your workout
  • Switch sides each rep

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis major
  • Obliques
  • Remaining core

3d. Negatives

negative pull up demonstrated by muscular and sculpted female athleteKey points:

  • Standard grip set up
  • Do not pull yourself to the top of the movement
  • Jump and grab the bar, landing with elbows flexed ready to hit the descending phase
  • Lower your body slowly under control
  • Eccentric loading is the strength training element we’re shooting for. Make the most of your time under tension on the way down
  • Keep the core braced throughout

Main muscles worked:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Trapezius
  • Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis major
  • Core

Endnote: Summary

female performing pull up showing highly developed back muscles from ultimate program

No one said the ultimate female pull up program was going to be easy. Even seasoned pros might find it difficult.

So, take your time and if you have to take a rest from the bar that’s fine. Just catch your breath, shake the lactic acid from your pumping arms, and go again. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to get strong AF!

Remember to warm up effectively before taking on any workout. Get the blood pumping and a sheen of sweat on your forehead first.

We recommend you pay close attention to getting those shoulders nice and mobile too. Hit up a few mobility instructionals online if in doubt. Not only are they fun, but they’ll keep you performing at your absolute best.

See you at the bar.

 

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