It is time to get down and under…with the Australian Pull-Ups. The Australian Pull Up is also known as the bodyweight row or the inverted row.
It is a great exercise that requires very little equipment and is absolutely perfect for everyone from beginners to the gym junkies.
However, it can be a little confusing and many struggle to master it. But, not to worry, we have you covered! Here is everything you need to master the Australian pull-ups!
Australian Pull Up Steps
When it comes to completing the Australian Pull Up it is rather simple and extremely effective. It is actually called an Australian Pull Up because you are underneath the bar and pulling your body up toward it.
This is a great chance to balance out your workout, build your pull muscles and improve your strength to complete a traditional pull-up.
Firstly, you need to decide what type of equipment you are going to use, don’t worry it doesn’t require a lot.
There are a few main options, either secured barbell bar, a squat rack or ring rows. The rings are slightly more challenging, so probably best to avoid for the time being. For the examples and instructions, we will be referring to a bar.
Set your bar around waist height. This is an ideal starting position.
Lay down underneath the bar on your back, so you are facing upwards. You should be able to reach the bar with your arms fully extended.
Grab the bar. It is best, to begin with, an overhand grip’ this is when your palm is facing away from you. Gave your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
Check your form. Your body needs to be in a straight line, like a ruler. Everything from your ears and shoulders, to your hips and feet. Tense your abs and bottom to work them out as well.
Using your arms only, you need to pull yourself up so your chest is an inch or two before it touches the bar. Ensure your body stays straight while you are pulling yourself up. When you reach the top, squeeze your muscles slightly.
Lower yourself back down, slowly until your arms are fully extended. Make sure you stay in control of the movement the whole time and don’t let gravity do the work for you.
Here are a few additional pointers that could really help you out!
- When you pull on the bar you need to make sure that you pull towards the middle of your chest. You don’t want to pull towards your throat or down to your stomach.
- Keep your abs and bottom tense. This assists you in working out your muscles and keeping you in proper form.
- You should only be moving your arms. If another part of your body is moving, check your form or change your bar height to make it a little easier for you.
- Pull your shoulders back. Imagine trying to hold a pen between your shoulder blades and keep it from falling.
- When completing this exercise it is best to do it in sets of 3. Ideally, you want to aim for around 10-12 reps, however, if you don’t have the strength to bust that many out, decrease the number of reps you do per set.
Then you can build up the number of reps over time as you increase your strength.
If you seem to be struggling, move the bar higher around chest height is usually a great option.
The increase in height means you are decreasing the amount of bodyweight you have to lift. As you progress and become stronger, you will be able to move the bar back down.
Step it up a notch
If you have been doing this exercise for a while or already have sufficient strength you may get a little bored. But, not to worry there are many ways you can step it up and make it interesting again.
You can try these examples by themselves or in combination with each other if you are up for it. Below is a great video demonstrating the pull up with a few of the below variations!
- Change your grip from wide to narrow on alternate reps
- Change your grip from overhand to underhand, or better yet on alternative reps switch your grip back and forth
- Put your feet on a chair
- Put on a backpack that has a few weights in it on reverse So, the bag is against your stomach and then to the exercise.
Things to look out for
When performing this exercise you need to ensure you are safe. Ensure that the bar is secured and sturdy enough to be able to hold your weight. A loose or insecure bar could potentially cause you an injury or even fall at the worst of times!
If you often struggle with aching knees, you may feel a bit of pain and tension when completing an inverted row. If you want to alleviate this you can bend your knees just slightly. This is also great for engaging your hamstrings more!
Why the bodyweight row?
The inverted row is a great exercise as it works out your back muscles, your biceps, forearms, grip and those important stabilizer muscles that make everything work together!
Not to mention you can get a great core and glutes workout as well. There is an emphasis on your mid-back, upper back, and biceps being worked.
Compared to a traditional pull up which can be quite difficult when you first start out, these calisthenic pull-ups are much easier and work your muscles from a different angle.
Besides that, you get the bonus of improved posture, especially if you sit at a desk, over a keyboard all day long.
The Australian Pull-Ups strengthen the muscles responsible for your posture which decreases upper back pain!
This is probably the simplest and most effective calisthenics exercise for a beginner to work your pull muscles and build strength; that being said it is also great for seasoned gym junkie.
Can I do an inverted row at home?
Now, if you don’t necessarily like going to the gym, you can do this exercise in the comfort of your own home. You need to be extremely careful when doing this as you don’t want to cause yourself an injury!
Take a really thick dowel that is made of a sturdy material ie wood or metal. You need this to be strong enough to support your weight.
Lay the dowel across to chairs or stools – you just need something for the bar to lay on (make sure they are the same height!).
Then secure the bar, ensure it is sturdy. It is best to test it out by pulling on it quite hard before you begin the exercise, so you know that is isn’t going to fall, break or slip.
The Australian Pull Up is great no matter where you are with your calisthenics or strength training. It is vital to know how to master the inverted row otherwise, you could cause yourself more harm than good.
But, not to worry – you now know everything you need from the steps, to how to step it up a notch or take it easy. Now, it is time to get down and under and see what you can do!
Ricky is the Founder of Exercise With Style with over 10 years of healthy lifestyle experience. He dedicated a website with the best information on health, fitness, weight-loss, muscle growth and product reviews. Rick is always looking for expert contributors to better serve his loyal readers.