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Australian Pull-ups: In-Depth Analysis

What are Australian Pull ups?

Australian Pull-ups (also called an inverted row) is a bodyweight exercise that targets your:

  • lats
  • traps
  • biceps
  • Rear delts.


The exercise is horizontal pulling movement where you grab onto a low bar or pair of gymnastics rings and pull your torso toward the bar/rings while your feet remain on the ground.

Australian Pull ups Benefits

There are many benefits of the Australian Pull-ups, and would be considered an undervalued and under-utilizied exercise. Here are several reasons why the Austrailian pullup is a great exercise:

1. Beginner friendly

It is a great exercise for beginners since they are easier to perform than a pull-up. There it is a great accessory exercise for those that can’t perform more than 10 pull-ups yet.

2. Adjustability

Just because the exercises is beginner friendly, doesn't mean its not good for advanced athletes!

The Australian Pull-up is great because it is very easy to change the difficulty of the exercise. Lowering the bar or rings closer to the ground makes the exercise more challenging.

The height of the bar is usually between your hip (easier)  and your knees (more difficult).

To make it extra challenging you can place your feet on a box to make them higher.

To make them easier you can also bend your knees to lower the lever.

Another way to increase the difficulty is to add a weight vest to your body.

Pro tip: The Smith machine is great for setting up the Australian pull up!

3. Ideal Resistant Curve

When doing a barbell row, it’s easy to lift the bar off the floor but hard to touch it to our belly.

When you perform the pull-ups, it’s easy to start the movement but hard to bring our chin all the way up over the bar.

This is because both these movements have a constant resistance curve. You’re pulling the same weight at the top of the movement then at the bottom.

In contrast, our pulling strength is not constant. Pulling movements follow a descending strength curve.

The benefit of the Australian pull-up is that the resistance is less at the top than the bottom. This descending resistance curve matches the descending strength curve. According to research, exercises that  have a resistance curve that better match the strength curve are more optimal for hypertrophy.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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