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By: Todd Kuslikis
I am a huge fan of pull ups. The nice V shape in the back is a goal of many guys and doing pull ups is a great way to develop it. Though sometimes pull ups can get a bit stale. I've put together my Top 10 list of some of the most difficult and crazy pull ups out there. Some of them may be easier than the normal pull up and some of them are much more difficult.

Let me know what you think of the below pull ups, if you can do any of them or if you have any you would like to add to the list.

10. Narrow Grip Pull Ups

This type of pull up uses a narrow grip device so you can work a different part of your back. Place it over the bar and grip both rungs. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Repeat.

9. Towel Pull Ups

This type of pull up is similar to the narrow grip pull up but you'll be using either one or two towels. Here's how to use one towel: Swing the towel over the bar. Grip both ends of it and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. If you use two towels, then you'll be working more outer lat. Swing two towels over the bar. Grip both ends with one hand and pull yourself up.

8. Kipping Pull Ups

In the Kipping Pull Up, you'll be utilizing momentum to do the pull up. It's not an isolator movement but a whole body one. You should be able to do more of them. Here's how to do it: Get in the normal pull up position. Pull all the way up by kicking your feet. You'll be using the momentum of your feet the entire time. Like I said, it's not an isolator movement like a standard pull up.

7. Side to Side Pull Ups

There are two variations in how to do the side to side pull ups. For the first, get in a normal pull up position. When you lift up, lift to one side bringing your chin above the bar by your right hand. Then come down and repeat on the other side. The second variation is a bit different. Lift up like with the other one, but stay in the top position and shift from one side to the other. Repeat. This will increase the intensity.

6. Barbarian Pull Ups

I love this one though if you have neck problems, I would highly recommend not doing it. Get in a standard pull up position. Lift your body up as usual but instead of going in front of the bar, you'll be lifting your head behind the bar so that the back of your head is right next to the bar. Great exercise for traps though again. Heed the warning that if you have neck problems. Don't do this exercise.

5. Clap Pull Ups

Many people can do clap pushups, but few people can do clap pull ups. The require use of your fast twitch muscle fibers tremendously. Start off in the normal pull up posture. Lift yourself up very quickly bringing yourself quite a bit above the bar. While you are in the air clap your hands together quickly right in front of you. You need to do it quickly because you'll be hanging in the air.

4. One Finger Pull Ups

If you can do the one finger pull up, I would be truly impressed. Grip the bar with just one of your fingers, preferably your index or middle finger. Lift your body up just like normal. This is a killer for your arm and finger. Make sure you have good finger strength or you could cause joint problems.

3. Weighted One Armed Pull Up

This one is impressive. Grip a heavy weight in one hand and the bar with the other hand. Lift yourself up doing a pull up like normal. Repeat. The heavier the weight the more difficult the exercise. Start off with a light 5-8lb weight, then work your way up to a heavier one.

2. Human Flag Pull Ups

This one impresses me every time I see it. Grip a vertical bar with both hands. One will be lower, the other will be high. Lift your body into a normal flag position (legs and body will be exactly horizontal with the ground). Bring your body in until your chin touches the bar. Then bring your body back out to the flag position. Repeat.

1. Kipping Clap Pull Ups

This is the hardest pull up I have seen, by far. Get in a normal pull up position. Similar to the kipping pull up, elevate your body so you come quite high up. Clap your hands behind your back and then grab the bar. This one is excruciating so you'll probably only be able to do a couple. Though it's a nice goal to work up to and very impressive at parties.

Well, there you go! No longer can you say that you are bored with the pull up. Some of the pull ups on this list are easier than other but choose one and work at it. Then slowly work your way down the pull up list and you'll be at the Kipping Clap Pull Up in no time!


Todd Kuslikis
Founder of
Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Expert

By following just a few key principles and by using uniquely designed extreme exercises, you can cut your workout time in half and double your you the body of your dreams faster. Visit to learn how.
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