Why You Should Be Performing The Weighted Pull Up

This article is written for those individuals who can already perform over 10 pull ups with perfect form and are looking to move towards performing weighted pull ups. I will discuss the benefits of weighted pull ups and also discuss how you can implement them into a more broader pull up programme.

4 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
Last updated
Upper Body
Vertical Pull

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In This Resource
  • Increase Vertical Pulling Strength
  • Progressive Overload
  • Variety and Long Term Progression
  • Grip Strength
  • Move Towards Complex Gymnastics
  • Shoulder Health
  • Common Mistakes
  • Incorporating Weighted Pull Ups into a Training Programme.

Increase Vertical Pulling Strength

The first and most beneficial effect of performing weighted pull ups is increasing the strength in vertical pulling movement pattern. Strength is when we increase the maximal force production of the muscle.

This increase in strength will be beneficial both in the weight room and in any athletic endeavour where strength metrics are important for performance. Increasing the strength in this movement pattern is rarely worked on progressively, unlike the squat, deadlift and bench press. We can see how much powerlifting has influenced resistance training for the general population when we look at how rare it is to work this movement pattern in an organised, progressive manner.

Progressive Overload

Weighted pull ups are the only way to successfully use progressive overload in the pull up movement once we can perform high numbers of body weight pull ups. This is because once we start to be able to perform a high number of repetitions in body weight pull ups we are no longer improving our strength, but working on our strength endurance and muscular endurance. It is obviously beneficial to continue to improve these physical characteristics, but it is also beneficial to improve the strength of the vertical movement pattern in conjunction with the endurance.

Variety and Long Term Progression

Variety and novelty is often not considered something beneficial, but it can be the difference between consistency and inconsistency. This makes it an essential part of a well designed training programme. Constantly using the same exercise to improve on a specific movement pattern will usually result to stagnation and boredom. This is why using weighted pull ups instead of traditional pull ups can be an excellent idea.

Grip Strength

Weighted pull ups are an extremely effective way to improve grip strength, along with weighted hanging. Grip strength is an important attribute for health and wellness and becomes more and more important as we age.

Move Towards Complex Gymnastics

Complex gymnastics, such a strict ring muscle ups or bar muscle ups, require very high levels of vertical pulling strength. Weighted pull ups will allow you to develop the strength required to perform these sorts of complex gymnastics exercises, as long as they are performed alongside the technical aspects required to perform the actual gymnastics exercise.

Shoulder Health

Finally, strengthen the joint of the shoulder to such an extent where you can perform weighted pull ups will only be beneficial to long term shoulder health. For contact sports athletes, this can be the difference between mitigating a shoulder injury or not, making it extremely important for certain athletes.

Common Mistakes

The most common mistake when performing weighted pull ups is using the momentum from the completed repetition to help with the next in order to make it easier. You need to come to a dead stop, completely stop moving and then move into your next repetition. This will allow you to track accurately how many repetitions your actually doing. If you change your technique every sessions or from set to set, you cannot systematically improve because you never know where you actually are.

Incorporating Weighted Pull Ups into a Training Programme.

I have written a very in-depth article that outlines the ultimate pull programme for advanced individuals who are looking to perform high numbers of pull ups. If you want to dive deep into how to design a pull up programme make sure you read through this article. The key thing to improving pull up ability is performing 8-16 working sets in the week of vertical pulling. Weighted pull ups should make up 4-6 sets of these. The others can come from different vertical pulling variations, or you could perform weighted pull ups on training another day, but personally I like using different variations.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach to sean@programme.app.

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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

Sean Klein


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