Two questions that we keep getting asked is, 'how do I correctly do assisted pullup using bands' and 'I'm getting board of the same old pullups, how do I add variety?'

Thought we'd try and take that bull by the horns and break it down for you in plain English. Let's have a look at proper pull up technique and then we'll get into the fun part [which obviously includes pull up assistance bands].

Girl Pullup PowerPull up assist band training for calisthenics and pole fitness

For pull ups place the hands on the bar with the palms facing away from the body (A chin up would have the palms facing towards the body). How far apart the hands are placed is personal preference but approximately shoulder width apart is recommended to start with. The wider the grip is the more difficult the pull up is.

Keep the shoulders engaged throughout the entire range of motion. To keep the shoulders engaged think about pulling your shoulder blades down your back and creating as much distance between your ears and shoulders.

Use a full range of motion for your pull up going from straight arm hang and pulling all the way up to bring the chest or sternum to the bar.

Assisted Pull Up Bands To the Rescue:

If you are unable to do a pull-up then we have your back... plus arms, shoulders, chest and core : )

To start out, just fasten the band around the bar, using what is knows as a girth hitch knot, as shown below and place one or both feet in the bottom loop.

RubberBanditz Assisted Pull-Ups with Elizabeth BlanchardAssisted Pullup BandWhich band you use depends on your strength level. Pick a band size that allows you to do around five pull ups in a set. Once 2-3 sets of 5 pull ups becomes easier transition to a smaller band as your strength increases. We have a handy selection guide on our site right here if you need it.


Want to add some flavor to your pull-ups? Here are a few ways to spice them up:


Wide Grip Pullups

1) Wide Grip Pull-Ups:

Try widening your grip on your pull ups to alter the muscle engagement. It is still a lat and bicep dominant exercise but the arms will be in a less mechanically advantageous position making it a more challenging exercise.

*Note: These can be done with or without a resistance band for assistance

2) Explosive Pull-Ups:

Try adding explosive dynamic movement to your pull ups by thrusting yourself upward vigorously. This is helpful help if you are working toward achieving your muscle up as well.

Instead of using a slow and controlled motion while pulling up, focus on exploding with more power and speed to bring the chest to the bar. If you are able to add enough explosive 

Close Grip Pullups

power try taking the hands off the bar to clap your hands at the top of the pull up in that brief weightless moment before descending from the pull up.

*Note: These can be done with or without a resistance band for assistance


3) Clapping Pull-Ups:

Once pull-ups are to the point of being able to do at least a few without a band assist this is a great way to develop explosive power and prep for muscle ups as well.

Instead of doing a slow, controlled pull-up the goal is to pull up with enough power and acceleration so as to get the hands off the bar at the top of the pull up.  The end goal is to eventually be able to clap the hands at the top of every pull up but in the beginning it might start as only a finger touch.

Wide Grip PullupsTypewriter Pullups


4) Typewriter Pull-Ups

These are great way to challenge yourself and take your pull up strength and coordination to the next level.

Start with a wide hand grip, significantly wider than shoulder width. Grip with the thumbs next to the fingers not separately encircling the bar.

Pull up as you would for a regular pull up until the chest/sternum reaches bar level.

Once at chest height slowly straighten out one arm, pushing the body towards the other hand.

As the arm straightens it also internally rotates bringing the palm of the hand and the forearm up to rest on top of the bar. Once the arm is fully extended, pause briefly before switching to the other side.

Repeat this left to right and right to left “typewriter” motion. 

Let us know what other bodyweight training questions you have. Here to help make you stronger and love the smell of rubber. If you love this article and can think of someone who could benefit from reading it, then don't hold out on them : )



This article was largely written by Elizabeth Blanchard (@elizabeth_fit). In additional to being a phenomenal person, an elite athlete, and a good pal of RubberBanditz, Elizabeth is also a highly knowledgeable authority on mixed discipline training modalities. Check out her ebooks at