The bodyweight row or Australian pull-up places you “down under” the bar in a horizontal position to hit your muscles from a different angle than the traditional pull-up.
By hanging below a bar that is set just above waist height with your heels in contact with the ground, you’ll wind up at an angle that’s almost like an upside-down push-up.
From this position, brace your entire body as you pull your chest toward the bar and be careful not to bend your hips or shrug your shoulders. Pause briefly when your chest is an inch or two from the bar, then lower back down with control.
Because it is a different plane of motion, this exercise works the muscles from a different angle than standard pull-ups or chin-ups, placing additional emphasis on the muscles of the mid-back, as well as the biceps, abs and upper-back.
Using the Australian for Beginners
If you aren’t strong enough to do a pull-up, this is a great way to start to build toward your first rep. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 Aussies without struggling, it won’t be long before a pull-up is within your grasp.
The higher up the bar, the better the leverage, so if performing an Aussie on a waist-height bar is too difficult for you, then start with a bar that’s closer to chest height instead.
Using the Australian in a Superset
The Australian pull-up is a great exercise to use in a superset with push-ups, since they work opposite muscle groups. You will get a great pump from doing this and it also allows you to keep your heart rate up. Due to the fact that you’re allowing certain muscles to rest while you are using others, you can maintain that elevated heart rate without burning out your muscles too quickly.
The Australian pull-up can also be used in a superset after the standard kind if you are trying to increase your reps on pull-ups.
Plyometric Australian Pull-up
As you progress with this exercise, you can turn the Australian pull-up into a plyometric movement by switching from a wide grip to a narrow grip on alternating reps. You can also switch back and forth from overhand and underhand grips in an explosive fashion to further increase the difficultly of this exercise.
Watch the video below for more about Australian pull-ups: