Archer Pull Ups: Everything You Need to Know to Master This Challenging Exercise

By Matt Walter
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Learn how to perform archer pull ups, an advanced pull-up variation

Ready to make pull-ups a whole lot harder? Here you go! Archer pull ups are incredible for building unilateral pulling strength and are a stepping-stone on your way to earning one-arm pull-ups. If you can perform 10 or more pull-ups, start working on these and experience a new level of development and body control.

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Table of Contents

Video: Archer Pull-Ups Demonstration

How to Perform Archer Pull Ups: Step-by-Step Instructions

There are two ways to perform Archer Pull-Ups. Here I will detail both methods, and both will be shown in the video at the end of this post.

Method 1 – True Archer Pull Ups

Step 1: Jump and grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip that is wider than shoulder-width.

Step 2: Pull yourself up and to the left, bringing your chin above the bar near your left hand. Your right arm will end up horizontal with the ground at the top of the pull-up.

Step 3: Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm.

Archer Pull-Up Completed Rep

Method 2 – Typewriter Pull Ups

Step 1: Jump and grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip that is wider than shoulder-width.

Step 2: Pull yourself up as if you are completing a standard pull-up.

Step 3: Keeping your chin above the bar, pull yourself toward your left hand. Your right arm will end up horizontal with the ground at the top of the pull-up.

Step 4: Like a typewriter, pull yourself across the bar toward your right hand, ending with your chin by your hand.

Step 5: Return to the middle and lower yourself back to the starting position as if you are finishing a standard pull-up. Or simply drop from the second arm position and then repeat.

Typewriter Pull-Up Demonstration

Archer Pull-Ups Tips

These are a great movement to master on your way to earning one-arm pull-ups. They will build the strength necessary to complete that exercise.

In the beginning, perform one rep to each side and then rest. Even a small rest of 5-10 seconds will help you prepare to complete a rep on the opposite side. Archer pull-ups require a lot of strength, control, and bodyweight capacity. So giving yourself even a small rest will really help as you’re learning these.

Try this movement both explosively and slowly under extreme control.

If you want to get better at these, do not take them to failure and practice them often. If you take these to failure, you’re going to be wiped out for days. But if you do a couple a day, with some rest between attempts, you will find yourself able to do these several times a week. Ultimately, you’ll be able to do more repetitions each week than if you try and do all of your reps in one training session.

Warm-up well! With pull-ups, we think a lot about warming up our lats, but for this movement, you want to pay special attention and make sure your shoulders and mid-back are loose and warm. The side-to-side action, coupled with vertical motion, creates a circular movement pattern that you may not be used to, so take the extra time to make sure everything is ready to go.

Rowing is a great way to get your whole body warmed up for this movement. Start with a 500m row at a moderate pace.

Rowing is a great way to warm-up for pull-ups

Then perform the following movement-specific warm-up routine:

  • dead hang from a pull-up bar to begin stretching the lats and shoulders
Dead Hang From Pull-Up Bar
  • scap pull-ups: hang from a pull-up bar and pull your shoulder blades down and in toward your spine. This will cause you to “pull up” just slightly, but without bending your arms.
  • Resistance band pull-aparts are a great way to warm up your rotator cuffs, rear delts, and the muscles of your upper back. Choose a light band and perform 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps between warm-up sets of pull-ups. I use the Rogue Fitness Monster Bands. Start with the orange, and then progress to the red.
  • perform some strict pull-ups or lat pulldowns to get all of the muscles involved in archer pull ups fully warmed up.
  • Stretch between sets to keep your muscles warm. Using an exercise ball is a great way to stretch your lats and shoulders between sets.
Exercise Ball Lat Stretch

Muscles Trained With Archer Pull Ups

Archer pull-ups target the lats, as well as the muscles of the middle back, traps, biceps, forearms, and shoulders

Archer Pull Up Variations

Archer pull-ups can be done with your hands supinated (facing your body), often called Archer chin-ups.

Other exercises related to archer pull-ups include one-arm pull-ups, wide grip pull-ups, and archer pull-ups using gymnastic rings.

Get the Gear for Your Home or Garage Gym

Power Racks

Titan Fitness X-3 Bolt Down Power Rack – if you’re going to use your power rack dynamic pull-ups like muscle-ups, you’ll definitely want a rack that can bolt to the floor.

Titan Fitness T-2 Power Rack – this is a great, inexpensive power rack! However, if you’re going to do dynamic pull-up variations, get the T-2 series 10-in extension kit to go along with it. The extension kit holds weight plates, similar to what you see in videos of me above. My rack can bolt to the floor, but I have enough weight added to the extension that I don’t have to worry about it.

Titan Fitness T-3 Folding Power Rack – save space but still get your pull-ups in.

Wall Mount Pull-Up Systems

Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar – don’t want a full power rack but still want to be able to do pull-ups? Get one of these.

Rogue Fitness P-4 Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar – I have this as well as a power rack. It’s incredibly sturdy and I do everything from pull-ups, to muscle-ups, to toes-to-bar on it.

Resistance Bands

Rogue Fitness Monster Bands – I use these to warm up and cool down for every training session. And I use them to stretch daily. These are amazing and they last!

Conclusion: Archer Pull Ups

Archer pull-ups are a fun and challenging way to push your upper body strength to new heights. If you can perform 12 or more unbroken pull-ups with great form, give these a shot in your next workout!

Read my article on pull-ups alternatives for more variations that will either help you earn your first pull-up or keep you getting stronger in new ways.

How long did it take you to earn your first archer pull-up? Share with the community and help keep everyone motivated!

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Earn your first pull-up or push your skills to new heights with these pull up alternatives
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AUTHOR

Matt has been a personal trainer for more than 18 years. He is also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, has a master's degree in teaching, and is a former competitive powerlifter and CrossFit athlete. His passion is helping others get in shape from mid-life and beyond.

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