Basic Calisthenics Training Program – Pulling exercises

This Article is for all the basic pulling exercises you can start with.

The exercises that I will discuss are:

  • Passive hang
  • Body-weight Inverted Row
  • Chin up
  • Pull up

Developing your muscles right is very important,so before you start your strength training journey, check your body posture before that. Your body posture will tell you, which joints you have to work on. If you have bad posture you are risking to slow your progress down. Work on your body first than on your muscles!

And if you don’t have a park with pull up bars near by, or you just don’t have the time to go the park you can look at the this review I did on some of the best home pull up bars. Best Doorway Pull up Bars

Passive Hang


I know this exercise looks harmless and easy. But for the people with weak grip, this exercise will be very challenging. The purpose of it is to hang on the bar as much as possible, relying only on your hands. So the main benefits are not just increase of grip strength, but also increased range of motion of the shoulder joints, healthier shoulders,elbows and wrists, only by doing this simple exercise(I am performing this exercise everyday, because of my tight shoulders). And it does not take a lot to perform it. Here is how: Grab the bar with your hands shoulders width apart, head between the shoulders and start hanging on the bar (without touching the ground, you can cross your legs behind if you want). You can start and also end every pulling workout with this exercise.

Inverted Row


The inverted row is a great exercise for building the strength for the pull up. If you can not perform a single pull up, this exercise is for you. It will increase your back strength and also core strength. If you are just starting out, start off with higher bars(like me on the picture) and slowly advance to the lower bars. And keep in mind that it does not take longer to start doing one arm rows(well it is defiantly faster than the one arm chin up 🙂 ). If you are up for a challenge you can try to do this exercise on rings or on the TRX.

Here is how to perform it(keep your back straight through out the exercise):

  • Pick some low bars or parallel bars, grab the bar with shoulders width apart grip.
  • Back straight, don’t forget.
  • Pull your body towards the bar, if it is very hard, hold for 3 seconds and lower your body very slow.
  • Repeat.

Chin up

Chin upsIf I have to compare the chin up and the pull up, this exercise activates your biceps muscles more than the pull up. When I started training calisthenics, I could not do one of those. So what I did was. Jump up, hold as much as I can and release slowly. And after the first rep, it gets easier believe me.

And here is how to do it:

  • Grab the bar with a underhand grip, shoulders wide apart. This is your starting position
  • Start pulling yourself to the bar by bending your elbows, bring your body as high as you can.
  • Release slower and bring your body to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Pull up


This is the next thing you want to do after the chin up. The pull up puts more emphasize on your forearm muscles, maybe that is why it is harder than the chin up. By doing pull ups you have a lot of different grip variations. You can put your hands wider than your shoulders or closer and it is more comfortable doing wide pull ups than wide chin ups. Performing the pull up is just like the chin up but with overhand(hand over the bar) grip.


You can see those are some of the grips you can use, but there are a lot more. You can try mixed grips, pull ups on towels, neutral grip and more.


So this is the list of basic pulling exercises, but I was wondering what pulling exercises are you doing right now in your workout, feel free to tell me in the comments bellow?


By | 2015-06-04T20:49:53+00:00 May 27th, 2015|Basic, Blog, Exercises, Pulling|16 Comments

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  1. John May 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    I have been doing the hang exercise for my back for years. It helps with the back stretching and keeps me from being tight. The pull up just comes natural after a while of hanging.

    • Lyubomir May 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      I give you props for your consistency John. Keep it up and thank you for the comment.

  2. Leola May 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    I tried this passive hang that you are saying today. And I feel good actually. I was expecting something else. I was feeling how both of my shoulders are stretching and also I felt the my forearm was really pumped after few sets of it. Am I doing it correct?

    • Lyubomir May 27, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      Hello Leola, it looks like you are doing it right 🙂 I am glad that you tried it, I hope you will do try it again.

  3. Kathy May 27, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    I don’t do workouts as such, walking and horses are my “calisthenics.” Pulling exercises look like they would really tone up the arms and shoulders, not sure if I could manage them now though!

    • Lyubomir May 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      I give you props for that Kathy. Congrats.

  4. Matt TheDopestMatrix May 27, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    pulls ups are hard! I can only do like 10 or so until i start getting tired! I have a pull up bar I should be utilizing I think a little bit more often!

    Matt TheDopestMatrix

  5. Heather May 27, 2015 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Hi! I really liked the way you show us how to do the exercise properly. That is so important. Years ago my mother was trying a new yoga exercise and she really hurt herself. She hadn’t learned how to do it properly first. Thank you for taking the time to show us.

  6. emily May 28, 2015 at 1:33 am - Reply

    those are good exercises! I can do pull ups and I was actually surprised that I could 🙂 I had been working out with a trainer for a while then I tried a pull up and I did like 10! Pulling or pushing your own weight is one heck of a good way to gain muscles

  7. Tony May 28, 2015 at 3:21 am - Reply

    I a big fan of working out and been doing it for the last 30 years at somewhat of a competitive level. Pull-ups, chin-up, and inverted row are really good exercises to build upper body strength. Father time has caught up with my shoulders, what other exercises do you recommend?

    • Lyubomir May 28, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

      When I mastered pull ups, I was doing 15+ reps and I added weight in a backpack to be more interesting, I gained strength but, I realized that my body got used to this movement. So I started learning the Front Lever, by doing Tucked Front Lever, and that really increased my upper body strength. After few months I will do a article about Front lever(I need to master it first 🙂 ).

  8. Cathy May 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I have been wanting to train for stronger shoulder, but passive hang makes my arms become fatigue very quickly. Do you have similar pulling exercises that you would suggest for ladies?

    Thank you.

    • Lyubomir May 28, 2015 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      You arms will get use to it, don’t worry. Keep going, if you don’t like it so much, you can try push ups and dips.

  9. Sarah May 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    wow what an amazing article! So thorough!! I’d never heard of passive hang O.O but I’ll try it right away! =) thanks!!
    I will definitely come back to find more exercices!
    Cheers =)

    • Lyubomir May 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Try it and share your experience with us. 🙂

  10. […] Body-weight rows […]

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