How to Perform the Single Leg Pull-Up for Increased Strength and Stability
The single leg pull-up is an excellent exercise for those who want to master the pull-up.
It offers a safe and scalable option to develop the correct body position, spatial awareness and strength to begin developing your pull-up technique.
Adjust the superfunctional bar to shoulder height.
Grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width and with an overhand grip.
Hang directly under the bar with arms straight. Ensure the hips are positioned under the shoulders with the legs comfortably in front of you. Your knees should be bent. Then, raise one leg and hold.
Begin the movement by pushing the foot into the ground and pulling the chin to the bar. Use as much leg strength to allow you to bring the chin to the bar.
Return and repeat for reps or time. Swap legs between sets.
It’s true that assisted chin-ups can also help you progress towards the full pull-up. However, the leg-assisted pull-up we have just covered allows you to apply more force – and this can be helpful if your pull-up is lacking some power. As your upper body strength increases, you can use less force through the legs, eventually working towards an unassisted pull-up.
The single leg pull-up not only adds additional demands on the core muscles; it also creates a rotational force in the core – which must be kept stable. This extra stability will usually come from the surrounding core muscles as well as the shoulder girdle. With this in mind, the single leg variation is a great way to train stability for this movement.
The superfunctional bar also allows you to find the correct body position directly under the bar. The bent hip position will allow you to engage better the abdominal muscles – which are essential during this movement.
As your upper body strength increases, you can switch from a flat foot position to resting on the heels – this will reduce the amount of downward force through the legs, requiring more upper body strength.