Workout Tips

How to Do the Commando Pullup Variation

Wider lats, a more stable core, and stronger grip strength are a simple pullup away.

Man Doing a Pullup
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine

As a veteran at the gym you’ve already nailed pullup variations like overhand, underhand, and neutral-gip. However, have your utilized the Commando pullup? This specific variation increases lateral instability, which in turn will help boost your core, and widen your lats. Toss this move into your body-weight workout, and start to reap the benefits.  

Why Do It: 

“For this variation, you’ll have to pull yourself toward the side on the way up in order to avoid hitting your head,” says Al Kavadlo, author of the best-selling books Get Strong and Street Workout and lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC) program. “This creates a unique challenge for your trunk as well as your grip due to the increased lateral instability.”

How to Do It: 

Position yourself sideways to the pullup bar and grab it with one hand just in front of the other. From here, lower down to full elbow extension, and then pull yourself up so your head clears the bar to one side. Lower back down, and then ensure your head clears the opposite side of the bar. Alternate sides every other rep. 

Pro tip: Squeeze your abs so your trunk doesn’t rotate during the move.

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