Archer Pull Up Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Bodyweight
  • Compound
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Intermediate
  • Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Lats Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Archer Pull Up Overview

The archer pull up is a more advanced variation of the traditional pull up and is used to target the lat and bicep muscles.

The archer pull up incorporates a slight unilateral effect, allowing the lifter to emphasize one lat at a time. This allows the lifter to really focus on the concentric hold of each lat to help develop the mind-muscle connection. The hold and shift also increases the time under tension of the muscle, which can help in building bigger lats.

Archer Pull Up Instructions

  1. Using a pronated grip, grasp the pull up bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.
  2. Take a deep breath, squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. Depress the shoulder blades and then drive the elbows straight down to the floor while activating the lats.
  3. Pull your chin towards one side of the bar until the lats are fully contracted, then slowly shift to the other side of the bar without changing the height of your body. Once the shift is complete, lower yourself back to the start position and repeat for the assigned number of repetitions.

Archer Pull Up Tips

  1. To decrease bicep involvement, use a false (thumbless grip).
  2. Try to keep a neutral head position (looking straight ahead or slightly up) as hyperextending the neck can lead to compensations throughout the spine.
  3. If the bar is high enough, keep the legs straight and in front of the body in a hollow body position.
  4. Avoid falling into overextension of the lumbar spine by squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs.
  5. The pull up is completed when the lats are fully flexed, don’t continue pulling and compensate with the pecs. When this occurs, the elbows will flare up behind the body, the shoulder will round forward, and you’ll begin to feel pressure in the front of your shoulders.
  6. A lifter’s segment length will determine whether or not they can actually get their chin over the bar, it’s not an absolute for everyone.
  7. Lower to almost full extension of the elbow but avoid locking out completely as this can place excessive strain on the ligamentous structures within the elbow and shoulder.
  8. If you can’t complete a single bodyweight pull up, start with slow negatives (add weight when these can be accomplished under control) or flexed arm hangs in the top position.
  9. Ditch the straps and kips, neither one is necessary or recommended.