Pull Up Variations For A Shredded Back

Pull Up Variations for Building A V Shaped Torso

While most modern gym equipment is based around technology, the simple pull up remains one of the most effective strength-building exercises that you can do, engaging your core, lats, biceps, forearms, mid-back and delts.
By familiarising yourself with some pull up variations and incorporating them into your regular exercise routine, you can really push through the barrier to the next level and achieve that shredded V-shaped torso that everyone wants!

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Please bear in mind that you should be capable of getting through a standard set of pull ups before trying any of these variations, to ensure that your fundamental technique is sound and that you have sufficient strength to perform them without injuring yourself.

Four Effective Pull Up Variations

Wide Grip

Grab the bar at slightly more than shoulder width apart, and pull yourself up in a smooth, controlled motion until the top of your chest touches the bar.

Slowly and still under control, lower your body back down until your arms lock. Keep your body rigid throughout the pull up, and aim to increase your reps with each session.

The wider grip focuses on your lats and other muscles in your back and will help you achieve the V-shaped torso you are working towards.


Plyometrics is an explosive exercise technique that can have incredible results on sculpting a ripped torso and wide shoulders.

Keeping your arms straight and locked while hanging from the bar, propel yourself upward with force, trying to get as much of your upper body over the bar as possible.

Near the peak of the pull-up, let go of the bar very briefly, then grab it again as you start to descend.

Go into the next rep immediately to maximise the benefits of firing those fast-twitch muscle fibres.


Kipping is a variation of pull-ups that is disliked by traditionalists, but which has been popularised by proponents of circuit training.

Pull-ups should normally be done under control with a rigid body, relying entirely on your own strength to complete the motion.

With the kipping variation however, you intentionally swing your legs back at the start of the motion, then kick forward as you push yourself up, using momentum to generate lots of force and power.

If you can perfect this technique, you will be able to complete a much higher number of reps than usual, and it is a variation which is guaranteed to help you achieve wide shoulders, strong lats and that perfect V shape.

L-Sit Pull

Throughout this exercise, you should focus on keeping your body rigid and in the correct L position, and on keeping your movements slow, deliberate and under control.

Hang from the bar with your arms straight and your legs held straight out in front of you.

Whilst maintaining this hanging L position and keeping your midsection tight and engaged, pull yourself upwards, complete the pull-up, and keep the L-sit position as you lower yourself back down.

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Get To It!

Incorporating some of these pull up techniques into your routine will help keep your workouts interesting and varied, and avoid boredom, fatigue and injury.

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When done regularly and correctly, these variations will absolutely help you sculpt that V-shaped torso you have always dreamed about. Get to it!