Best Pullup Leg Position (GET MORE REPS!)

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The pullup is one of the most classic upper body exercises that you can do to build a bigger back and wider lats. That said, is there a difference between the pullup depending on how you position your legs during the movement? In this video, I’m going to show you how to perform the pullup best and what to do with your legs to allow you to get more reps starting in the very next set you perform.

The pullup can be done with your legs straight, knees bent behind your body, knees bent in front of your body and with your legs straight but slightly in front of your body (in what is called a hollow body position). There are advantages to each of these positions, but there are also disadvantages. I want to try and make you aware of each so you can make your best decision when it comes to knowing where to place your legs during the pullup.

First and most common is to cross your feet, bend your knees and place your legs behind your body. This is often done because of the need to shorten your body when doing pullups in a doorway at home. There just isn’t that much room and height in the doorway to allow you to keep your legs straight when performing the pullup. That said, this introduces two problems to the mix. The first is that you are creating the opportunity for swinging back and forth because of the position of the legs. The second is that you are avoiding the opportunity for a prestretch on the lats because of the anterior tilt of the pelvis that occurs with this posture.

If you want to get a great prestretch on the lats then you would rotate your pelvis posteriorly and get your knees up in front of your body. Here you can literally feel the difference in the stretch on the lat muscles just by hanging from the bar in this position and alternating between the two knee positions. That said, this is infinitely more difficult to do if you don’t have the best ab strength (which is common if you already struggle doing pullups).

That brings us to our third and best option for pullups. That is to perform them with your legs not just straight but a little bit out in front of your body. Here you can do the most important thing when it comes to the pullup…you can plug the energy leaks. You see, when you are getting ready to do this exercise you are generating force through your hands into the bar. This energy travels down your body and revolves around the core.

If your body is loose in this position, you will lose most of the force production you are going to need to power your body back up to the bar. This isn’t good. It is literally costing you the opportunity to do many more pullups than you can right now. The fix is to contract your quads as hard as you can by straightening out your knees. Follow this with a contraction of the calves, by pointing your toes downward as hard and far as possible. Finally, contract your abs and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can. This will create a rigid body that will feel like a feather when you go to pull it up to the bar.

This is the best position for your legs during pullups for these reasons. It doesn’t make the other positions wrong at all, just not as good as this for getting you to start getting more reps of the exercise and more benefit from it in the long run. If you are looking for a program that tells you what to do on every exercise to get the most out of it, be sure to head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System.

For more videos on how to do more pullups and how to get stronger at pullups, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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