Pain With Pull Ups?

The pull up exercise is very daunting to most people, however; it is a very simple exercise to master when broken down into steps. However, before we even think about stepping up to a pull up bar we want to ensure that our shoulder girdle is in the good a position to be able to properly perform the exercise.

The pull up is a great upper body exercise to help build the strength in your back and shoulders. This exercise specifically help build your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and deltoids.


How to perform correctly

Top 3 cues to be thinking about:

  • Before even beginning the movement set your shoulder blades down and back toward your back pockets; this will be a very small motion but important to protect your shoulder girdle from injury.

  • Drive your pinkies toward each other as if you are trying to bend the bar.
  • Think about pulling the bar down toward you as opposed to pulling yourself up to the bar.


Some symptoms you may be experiencing if you are performing this movement incorrectly are:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Elbow pain

Perform the following drills if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and to help decrease your risk for injury while performing the pull up.


The pull up is a great exercise to help build overall upper body strength, however; can be the cause of many shoulder and/or elbow injuries if performed incorrectly. You can use the drills provided in this article to help decrease your risk for injury and/or improve your pull up mechanics. If you are still having trouble or experiencing pain call us for a free discovery consultation.

-Dr. Chelsea Schuman, PT

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