How to do archer pull ups

Archer pull ups will strengthen your one hand strength, therefore they are a great way to master the one arm pull ups. In this article, you will learn how to do them, progressions, and tips.

What are the archer pull ups?

The archer pull up is an advanced pull up variation, that consists of pulling yourself with one arm to the side while keeping the other arm straight and supporting your pull up.

Because archer pull up focuses on one hand strength it’s a great progression towards the one arm pull up.

Muscles worked during archer pull ups

The archer pull up works most of the major muscles in the upper body

The primary muscles worked in archer pull ups are:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • trapezius
  • biceps brachii

Additional secondary muscles worked include:

  • forearms
  • rhomboids

Step-by-step guide on how to do archer pull ups

  1. Grab the pull up bar or rings with the width grip
  2. Pull yourself up with one hand to the side while keeping the other one straight
  3. Slowly lower yourself down
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions alternating sides


3 progressions to help you master archer pull ups

Negative archer pull ups

Negatives are the downward half of the pull up, where you lower yourself from the bar. You get over the bar with your legs touching the ground (where the pull up bar is low) and jump where it’s too high. From that position, you lower yourself with slow and controlled movement.

Assisted archer pull ups

You can do them in 2 ways – with legs touching the ground (or something else, eg. elevated on a chair), and supporting the movement. or with the resistance band if you have one. To practice with the resistance band, place a band around the pull up bar, and place your foot inside the other end. With a band assisting you, exercise requires significantly less strength.

Typewriter pull ups

You start with a regular wide grip pull up and in the upper part of the movement, where your head is over the bar you go from side to side. The final position of the typewriter pull up is the same as in the archer pull up, just the way go went there is different.

Archer pull ups tips

Few tips to help you progress faster

grip width

The grip should be wider than the shoulders, but how wide it depends for everyone. Try different grip widths, and find the one that suits you best.

Generally the wider the grip the harder it will be because it’s harder to assist with the straight arm and your weight puts more pressure on the bent arm.

Gymnastic rings

With gymnastic rings, you have a greater possibility of adjusting the grip. You can choose if you want to train with an overhand, underhand, or neutral grip.

Also, you can set one ring lower than the other, which will make it much easier. That’s the best progression, you have the same movent pattern but the exercise is easier.


Proper technique is much more important than the number of reps. Training is not about the number of reps, but a slow and controlled movement.

Archer pull ups put a lot of stress on your shoulders, bad technique or rushing can cause shoulder pain. Be careful while training them and remember to warm up.

Common mistakes

  • training without the warm up
  • Not fully extending elbows
  • moving too quickly
  • too narrow grip

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