How to do tarzan pull ups

Tarzan pull ups are pull ups variation that can build upper body, improve grip strength and core stabilization

What are tarzan pull ups?

The tarzan pull up, also called commando pull up is a variation of a regular pull up, with a similar level of difficulty. The main difference between these exercises is the grip. This pull up variation requires narrow mixed grip – overhand and underhand grip. Because of the smaller space between your hands and mixed grip, you’ll have to fight rotational forces in order to stop your body from twisting around. That engages your core muscles and core stability more than regular pull ups.

Benefits of tarzan pull ups

Tarzan pull ups due to their uncommon grip offer many benefits that you won’t get with any other bodyweight exercise

grip strength

Tarzan pull ups increase grip strength evenly in both grips – over and underhand. Therefore you don’t have to worry about imbalance. For example, if you only do pull ups, and never do chin ups your underhand grip would be very weak compared to your overhand grip.

core stabilization

In Tarzan pull ups you have a narrow and neutral grip. This causes your body to naturally want to rotate to one of the sides. This requires the activation of the abdominal muscles to keep the body stable.


Pull ups are the basic exercise everyone knows. If you’re already bored of them you can add tarzan pull ups to your routine to try something new. This will make your workout more challenging and enjoyable

How to do tarzan pull ups?

  • Position yourself sideways to the pullup bar and grab it with a mixed grip, with one hand behind the other.
  • Lower down to full elbow extension
  • Engage your core muscles and lower body to stabilize
  • Pull yourself up to one side, keeping elbows close to your body
  • Slowly lower yourself down until your arm are fully extended
  • Repeat that process, alternating sides until you hit your desired number of repetitions


Common mistakes

While doing tarzan pull ups many people forget about:

  • warm up to avoid any injury
  • narrow grip – hands close to each other
  • full elbow extension
  • keeping elbows close to the body
  • alternating sides and which hand is over/under – to avoid any muscle imbalances

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