Why the Pull Up Is the Most Important Ectomorph Exercise (and How to Do One)

The pull up is considered one of the most difficult exercises for anyone to do, but for those of the ectomorphic body type it’s an incredibly important exercise that provides you with upper arm strength, improved grip (a particular weakness of all ectomorphs) and the desired ‘V’ look. But don’t be scared off by its difficulty, it’s not some impossible feat, you just need the right approach.

What is a pull up? Make sure you actually know what a pull up is because it’s easy to confuse them with chin ups. The simple but important difference is a pull up are completed with your palms facing outwards while with a chin up your palms are facing towards you.

Where do you do a pull up? There are often places in gyms, or even in public (playgrounds, trees etc) where you can do pull ups, but in the early days it can be embarrassing how few pull ups you’ll be able to do. Plus, your ineffectiveness is sort of a wasted trip the gym in the first place.

The solution is to buy what is known as a door gym pull up bar. These are fantastic and affordable devices (mine only cost $30) that lock into any standard door frames and transform it into the perfect station for both pull ups and chin ups. They’re easy to store away, can be as temporary as you wish and are just all around ingenious inventions.

How do you do an effective pull up? Here are some simple ways to do proper, effective pull ups:

  • Start from a dead hang, which means having your arms fully outstretched in line with your elbows. This’ll limit how many pull ups you can do, but they’ll be more effective.
  • Briefly pause both in the up and down position to eliminate momentum which can hinder the intensity of your training.
  • Just keep up with it. At first progress will be slow. In the early days I could barely do 1-2 pull ups. These days I routinely knock out 8 or so, and these are completely without momentum and using the dead hang position.