How to do typewriter pull ups

In this article, you will learn about typewriter pull ups – What they are, how to perform them, progressions to master them, and tips for your workout.

What are typewriter pull ups?

The typewriter pull up is an advanced pull up variation, that consists of a regular wide grip pull up and moving from side to side along the bar in the upper part of the movement, where your head is over the bar.

The final position of the typewriter pull up is the same as in the archer pull up, just the way you got there is different. Typewriter pull ups are essential to learn archer pull ups, later one arm pull ups, and airwalk pull ups.

Muscles worked during typewriter pull ups

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

The primary muscles worked in typewriter pull ups are:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • trapezius
  • biceps brachii

Additional secondary muscles worked include:

  • forearms
  • rhomboids

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

  1. Grab the pull up bar with the wide overhand grip
  2. Pull yourself up as you would in a normal pull up
  3. Move your body towards one of the sides and straighten the opposite arm
  4. Support yourself with the opposite arm by pushing down on the bar
  5. Repeat it with the other side
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions alternating sides


3 progressions to help you master the typewriter pull ups

Wide grip pull ups

Wide grip pull ups are the base of the typewriter pull ups, it’s necessary to master them first. They will get you used to a wide grip and build needed strength for the movement, especially shoulders.

Negative typewriter 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 typewriter 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 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 movement 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.

Typewriter 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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