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Typewriter Pull Up [Exercise Guide]

typewriter pull up

What are typewriter pull ups, how do they work, and should you include them in your training routine? We’ll explain everything in this post.

What Is A Typewriter Pull Up

A typewriter pull up is a variation of the conventional pull up with a few differences. It consists of a one-arm pull up and slow moves from side to side over the bar. Typewriter pull ups are called thus because the body glides back and forth along the exercise bar like a typewriter while working. This movement is not as easy as it may seem. If you haven’t reached an intermediate fitness level, you would need to work through a couple of prep exercises.

What Muscles Does Typewriter Pull Up Work

A typewriter pull up is a compound movement that targets:

  • lats
  • biceps
  • rotator cuff muscles
  • rear delts
  • trapezius and rhomboids

The athlete gets many advantages since the exercise works out muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest, and back. In addition to the development of balance and strength, as well as increased calorie consumption, you will be able to understand which of the muscles is the weakest and requires improvement.

How to Perform Typewriter Pull Up

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Go pretty wide on a pull up bar with your hands. Maintain your thumbs’ position above the bar.

Step 2. Make one-arm pull up

Lift on the right arm while maintaining the opposite arm in a straight position. Imagine you are doing a pull up with one arm to accomplish this section properly.

Step 3. Keep your chin and shoulders above the bar

You should rotate your left hand so the palm rests on top of the bar. By retaining a firm grip on the bar with your right arm, you can hold your position above it. Leaning on the bar will help you maintain your balance. The necessary minimum is to keep your chin above the bar. But it would be best if you can lift your shoulders over the bar.

Step 4. Go from side to side

Slide to your left side, straightening your right arm. You should move your chest to the center and shift your weight to the right side of your body while straightening your left arm. Continue moving from side to side.

For safety reasons, you should be able to do normal pull ups before practicing typewriter variation. You shouldn’t feel pain in your shoulders while exercising. If you feel discomfort or are in pain, stop. It signals that you don’t have enough strength and stability for a typewriter pull up. Check out tips for typewriter pull up progression below to reach the needed fitness level.

What Equipment Can Be Used To Do A Typewriter Pull Up?

Standard equipment for this exercise is considered a horizontal bar. However, you can do the same movement with the help of gymnastic rings. This equipment will help you strengthen your grip for many other workouts.

Typewriter Pull Up Progression

Not all athletes are strong and mobile enough to perform typewriter pull ups on the first try. But your power is not static; you can always develop it. To prepare the body for typewriter pull up, you can practice:

  • Conventional pull ups – build the muscles of the core, shoulders, and back, making you stronger;
  • Wide grip pull ups – improve grip strength and activate your lats most;
  • Side-to-side controlled pull ups – enhance mobility and balance.

The idea behind this progression plan is to divide a typewriter pull up movement into parts and work on each separately. If you perform all three mentioned exercises with proper form, you are 100% ready for typewriter pull up.

4 Typewriter Pull Up Alternatives

1. Archer Pull Up

If you are already good at traditional pull ups and want to try something more challenging, archer pull ups are a good choice. This exercise targets the lats, biceps, forearms, middle back, shoulders, and trapezius muscles.

How to do archer pull ups:

  • Get on the chin-up bar using an overhand grip. The exercise becomes increasingly difficult as you widen the distance between your hands.
  • Pull up with your right arm till it is parallel to the ground while you lean upwards and to the left. The idea is to transition from the bottom of the bar to the working arm while pulling up diagonally.
  • Once you’ve finished with one arm, switch to the other and repeat.
  • Keep your core tight and legs straight throughout the whole motion.

2. Around The World Pull Up

The main feature of this exercise is a circular trajectory. Thanks to this feature, the exercise keeps the muscles at maximum tension throughout the whole workout.

How to do around-the-world pull ups:

  • Grab the bar with a wider-than-shoulder-width grasp while hanging from it.
  • Start by contracting your lats and lifting yourself up and to the right.
  • Return to the middle of the bar, and go left. Aim for continuous circling.
  • When your arms are fully stretched in the middle, you’ve finished.

3. Wide Grip Pull Up

The wide hand position on the bar makes the exercise more challenging compared to regular pull ups. Consequently, you’ll have a more sculpted and defined upper chest. In addition, it aids in the development of a firm grip.

How to do wide-grip pull ups:

  • Put your arms wide as you hang off the bar.
  • Feel your lats tighten as you lift your chest high and do a pull up. Keep your torso in a straight line and your limbs locked in place.
  • Maintain a broad grip on the bar with your hands spread apart and your elbows pointing to the sides.

4. Single Arm Inverted Row

The single-arm inverted row is one of the best ways to strengthen each arm separately and prepare muscles for one-arm pull ups on a horizontal bar. The movement simultaneously targets the back, biceps, forearms, and shoulder muscles.

How to do single-arm inverted row:

  • As you hang from the bar, adjust the height such that your feet do not touch the floor.
  • Lie on your back. Keep one hand on the bar and the other on your waist while doing this exercise.
  • Shoulders are lifted, knees bent, so legs are square, and feet firmly on the floor.
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, then lower yourself back down.


Typewriter pull up has the power to load your arms, shoulders, chest, and back. On top of that, it improves your mobility and spices up your workout routine. But the movement’s technique isn’t easy. Some athletes will have to practice a few prep exercises to perform typewriter pull ups with proper form. Luckily, the movement has many variations for any fitness level. Pick the one that suits you best and enjoy the benefits!