Pull-ups are a classic and effective upper body exercise that target your biceps and back but can be particularly challenging for tall guys due to our longer limbs. However, with the right approach and form, tall guys can conquer the pull-up bar and build impressive upper body strength. 

In this article, I’ll explore the benefits of pull-ups and provide a step-by-step guide specifically tailored for tall guys seeking to master this fundamental exercise.

Table of Contents

Understanding The Challenge Of Pull-Ups For Tall Guys

Tall guys, we often face challenges when performing pull-ups or any movement that focuses in on our lengthy limbs. Our longer limbs can make it harder to lift our entire body weight, which usually is more than a shorter human. However, with a focus on proper form and technique, we can turn these challenges into aids for building some serious upper body strength and size throughout our arms and backs.

How To Do A Pull-Up For Tall Guys

Pull-Up Advantages For Tall Guys

Upper body strength

Pull-ups target various muscle groups, including the lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps, and forearms, contributing to overall upper body strength.

Core engagement

Pull-ups engage the core muscles, promoting stability and strength in the abdominal region.

Functional fitness

Pull-ups are a functional exercise, mimicking movements used in daily activities and sports.

Versatility

Pull-ups can be performed with minimal equipment, making them accessible for home workouts or at the gym.

Pull-Up Disadvantages For Tall Guys

None

Other than the already talked about issue of longer limbs than other gym goers, the pull-up doesn’t put us into any positions which could lead to injury. Which is why its so great!

Tools You'll Need

  • A pull-up bar
this is a pull-up bar for pull-ups

How To Do A Pull Up For Tall Guys

1. Pull-up grip placement

  • Start by choosing an overhand grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Ensure your palms are facing away from you.

Tall guy tip: Take extra time to recognize how wide your hands are placed. With your long levers, being an inch or two off could lead to a far harder pull-up then your last.

I have found that a narrower grip allows me to execute a smoother pull-up.

this is a photo of tall Paul choosing an overhand grip to do a pull-up
this is tall Paul ensuring his palms are facing away from him for a pull up

2. Hanging position

  • Hang from the pull-up bar with your arms fully extended, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • You will most likely need to pull up your feet behind your knees to keep them from hitting the floor, if your pull-up bar isn’t tall enough for you.

Tall guy tip: Once you have gotten good enough to rep out 3-4 pull-ups try moving your legs from tucked under you to split like scissors. If the bar is high enough this will allow you to engage your abs far more and also get a different angle on your lats and back, while still keeping your feet off the ground.

this is a photo of tall Paul hanging form a pull-up bar to do pull-ups
this is a photo of tall Paul tucking his feet to do a pull-up
this is a photo of tall Paul doing a scissors to do a pull-up

3. Engage your core

  • Tighten your core muscles to create a stable base.
  • This engagement will help control your body movement throughout the exercise.
  • You may find this hard with your legs tucked behind you, so to counter that add in as much as a pelvic thrust as possible and hold throughout the lift.

4. Initiate the pull

  • Begin the pull by retracting your shoulder blades and pulling your chest towards the bar by your lat muscles.
  • Focus on using your back muscles to initiate the movement.
this is a photo of tall Paul beginning the pull up
this is a photo of tall Paul beginning the pull up by focusing on his back muscles

5. Elbow position

  • Keep your elbows pointing down and close to your sides as you pull up (hint, why the closer grip works well)
  • Avoid flaring your elbows outward, which can place unnecessary stress on your shoulders and make it a much more laborious lift for us tall guys.
this is a photo of tall Paul keeping his elbows pointed and close to his side for a pull-up

6. Full range of motion

  • Pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar.
  • I like to aim for the top of my pecs to touch the bar.
  • Ensure a full range of motion to maximize the benefits of the pull-up.
this is a photo of tall Paul pulling himself up until his chin clears the bar for a pull-up

7. Gradual progression

If you’re a beginner or find pull-ups challenging, start with these variations and work your way up to a body-weight pull-up.

8. Consistent training

  • Incorporate pull-ups into your workout routine consistently to build strength and improve performance over time.
  • I create tall guy workout plans, click through and message me your fitness goals and I can tell you the reps and set you will want to hit.