How to Use a Resistance Band for Pull Ups: A Full Guide

The pull up is one of the most complex physical exercises you can do. While they do not typically involve using weights, they can be very challenging, even though you might be in good physical condition. Pull ups are based on you sustaining your own weight while you pull yourself up on a high bar. This is not only beneficial for your biceps and lats, but also your trapezius and rhomboids. Nonetheless, managing to do only one can be extremely challenging. 


Fortunately, resistance bands are useful to use for most of the physical exercises you do. They are helpful, cost-effective, and extremely versatile. However, it takes some practice and training to find out how to use them properly, especially if you plan to use them for pull ups. Improper use can easily lead to muscle aches, spasms, and even worse — torn muscles. So take a couple of minutes to go through the following guidelines on how to use a resistance band for pull ups. 

Challenges of Pull Ups

One easy way to start is to go for assisted pull ups. They are beneficial because they support your weight, and they make pull ups much more manageable than usual. So, by following this guide, eventually you will be able to do your own pull ups unassisted. The primary consideration, before you begin, is that the thicker your band is, the more of your weight it will be able to sustain. So if you find pull ups tricky, this might be a good starting point.

Another aspect is to consider how much strength you have in your biceps and lats. The only moment this might be difficult would be if you cannot do at least one pull up, so you have no clue about it. However, start with your own body weight and, with continued practice (in maximum safety conditions), you will be able to go on with it, especially with lots of practice and willpower. 

As mentioned, the main challenge of pull ups is actually doing them. If they are extremely difficult, consider first trying with a bar which is lower (about half of your body size), and go for a thick resistance band that will take half or more of your body weight. However, it defies the purpose of the pull up (to sustain your own weight), so you should progressively move towards full pull ups. 

Assisted Pull Ups With Resistance Bands

Fortunately, resistance bands can ease your work if you want to do full pull ups, and you find yourself struggling. The resistance band is easy to use – all you need to do is place it around the bar you plan to use for pull ups so you can put your knees into the band. 

Even if you are more than a novice, with a good resistance band and if you have experience with doing pull ups, this can still be beneficial to you. The main reason behind this is that if you usually do 10 reps, for instance, with the resistance band, you can do about twice that much. This will slowly increase your muscle endurance and muscle size, also known as hypertrophy. 

Other Tips

To successfully achieve pull ups using resistance bands, you need to properly warm up before attempting to do such exercises. You should also warm up your muscles before you start any physical activity.

Secondly, make sure that the resistance band suits your needs. Often, you can find them in various colors that indicate their resistance, such as yellow with the weakest resistance and black with the highest. You can purchase lighter ones as you get better. The bands for doing pull ups are usually circular (as opposed to straight bands which could be attached to a door).

Additionally, the next step is to loop and secure the band around the pull up bar and make sure it's very secure. You can quickly test it by pulling the band down to make sure it will not come undone.

Next, place one of your feet (whichever you are most comfortable with) on the bottom of the band, while you flex your other leg behind it, or for safety purposes, place your other foot on top of the foot in the band. Place your hands on the pull up bar, making sure your hands are a bit wider than your shoulders.

For novices, this could also be done from a chair if you cannot reach it. Lower your body step by step, ensuring your arms are completely straight and do at least five reps.

Wrapping Up

Resistance bands are extremely useful accessories in our daily sports routine. Now that you know how to use a resistance band for pull ups, take it to the next step and try to do your pull ups using the resistance band. Or, if you can already successfully do this, go ahead with regular pull ups; you can use the bands to enhance your body resistance and perform more sessions. They are simple to use, and they can sustain your body weight, however, make sure you warm up before and that the resistance band can handle your bodyweight.

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Last Updated on by Adam Smith