One Arm Australian Pull-ups and More!

When doing a one arm Australian pull-up, you are down under the bar

When you do a one arm Australian pull-up,
you wind up down under the bar!

Last month I gave you some tips to get started on building up to one arm pull-ups. Here are three more tools to have in your arsenal along the way.

The One Arm Australian

The one arm Australian pull-up is a worthwhile exercise in its own right, though it’s never been one of my favorites. However, it can be a useful tool to help build towards a classic one arm pull-up. Since at least one leg stays on the ground, it is a little easier to perform than a regular one arm pull-up.

When attempting the one arm Australian pull-up, concentrate on engaging your abs and your back muscles–don’t just focus on using your bicep strength. Remember that when you do a one arm Australian, it’s natural for your body to roll a little bit in the direction of you arm.

Keep your whole body tight when performing a one arm flex hang

Keep your whole body tight when performing a one arm flex hang


The One Arm Flex Hang

The flex hang, which involves holding your body at the top of a pullup position, is commonly used to build strengh and endurance in the upper body. Female marines are required to perform a flex hang in order to prove themselves worthy of that title.

The flex hang can also be performed using only one arm. At first, I recommend keeping your legs tucked close to your body as it will allow you to engage more core strength. As you get better you can try practicing with your legs extended.


Weighted Pull-ups
Weighted pull-ups are another great way to build the strength that you’ll need to perform a one arm pull-up. Just like the one arm pull-down, pick a weight that you are only able to get around 3 reps with. Going for a one rep max on this is also beneficial, but make sure that you are warmed up first!

Don’t assume that you need to be strong enough to pull double your body weight with two arms in order for it to carry over into a one arm pull. Once you can do weighted pull-ups with around 65-75% of your body weight, that will roughly translate into a one arm chin-up.

Keep in Mind
It’s important to mention when discussing one arm pull-ups (of any kind) that your secondary arm does not touch your primary arm in any way. It can be stiff against the body or it can be out in the air, but if you are holding your arm or wrist you are not doing a true one arm chin.

The one arm pull-up (or chin-up) is a very elusive move and requires a lot of patience, consistency, and dedication. So the question you need to ask yourself is this: How badly do you want it?

Watch this video for demonstrations and more!
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmiv4tkyxK8

16 thoughts on “One Arm Australian Pull-ups and More!

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  • By mpdavidson81 -

    We were shooting a mid back row on the smith machine like the Australian pull-up, but it was in an overhand grip instead of an under. And of course it was a double arm instead of a single arm. I am curious to know how the muscle activate different when changing the hands from an over to an under grip in this position, single or double handed. Any idea?

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Well for starters, the overhand grip typically takes some emphasis off the biceps and puts more of the work on the muscles of the upper back, which most people find harder. Making it a single arm exercise also requires a lot more core stability. I actually shot some footage today demonstrating a plyometric version of the Australian pull-up that involves switching grips between reps. I'll probably get around to posting that next week.

  • By dannykavadlo -

    I'd recommend getting your lats to a certain size before doing this excercise: When doing an Australian pull-up, you dont want to look like a Shrimp On The Bar-bie!

  • By mpdavidson81 -
  • By Al Kavadlo -

    I have seen this clip before–this guy is on a whole different level! People like this keep me motivated to continue training hard every day.

  • By mpdavidson81 -
  • By Al Kavadlo -

    I have seen this clip before–this guy is on a whole different level! People like this keep me motivated to continue training hard every day.

  • By Mark Martinez -

    just wanna know if doing the one arm Australian pull-up is more effective to shape the arms than to the common two arms pull-up?
    Mark Martinez
    your hypergain test lab

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    The short answer is probably not.

    The one arm Australian pull-up is not necessarily a bodybuilding exercise, but if you were strong enough to do at least 5 or 6 reps on each arm for a few sets I suppose that it could be.

    Why don't you try it in your routine for a while and tell me how it goes?

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  • By Ty -

    Even though you don’t need your whole bodyweight added to try the 1-armed, aiming for that seems good since we’d have that excess of strength and just need to focus on form, plus it would train both arms at once and save some time right?

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Sure.  I guess so.

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