10 Hardest Pull Up Variations Of All Time

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
October 02, 2021

hardest pull ups

Pull Up exercises have been used to give men and women a beautiful and muscular back for ages.

Before pull-up bars existed I’m sure that limbs of trees and other horizontal items were used by the extreme exercise pull-upers to get their back workouts in.

Though aren’t you sick of seeing the same old pull-up exercise? Lift up and down, up and down.

I don’t mean to say that this isn’t a good exercise.

It is, I do them in my workout routines.

Though how about something different? Something extreme?

I have put together a list of the Top 10 Most Difficult Pull-Up Routines On YouTube.

These Pull Up Routines are unusual and unbelievable. Review the list and comment below on which you think is the most extreme and difficult.

One of the reasons I love pull-ups so much is because it does NOT incorporate isolation.

Many of your upper body muscles are required to pull your body up so you are developing whole-body strength.

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Hardest Pull Up Variations

10. Narrow Grip Pull-Ups

A great variation to the normal pull-up routine using a close grip.

via Gfycat

Video by Scooby1961

9. Towel Pull-Ups

If you want to develop greater forearm and hand strength, use a towel.

You’ll have to grip it tight to keep your body from falling, thereby increasing grip strength.

via Gfycat

Video by cfinn1973

8. Kipping Pull Up

This Pull Up Routine uses bodyweight to get up.

It’s unique and cool and gives you the ability to do more pull-ups.

7. Typewriter Pull Up

Most people don’t realize how many variations there are to the normal pull up. This one increases focused attention on very specific parts of the lat muscle.

6. Archer Pull Up

This one is similar to the typewriter pull-up.

5. Clap Pull-Ups

These are very impressive and can be done in a few months once you get the hang of the normal pull up.

4. One Finger Pull Up

Few people on the planet can do the one finger pull up. This one is very intense.

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Video by Matt Russo

3. Weighted One Armed Pull Up

Depending on the amount of weight you use, this could be progressively difficult.

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Video by Cisco Gonzalez

2. Human Flag Pull-Ups

The Human Flag Pull Ups are so impressive. Watch this video to learn how to do it.

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Video by Cisco Gonzalez

1. Kipping Clap Pull Ups

One simple variation on the normal Kipping Pull Up and you have one of the most difficult pull ups on earth. Check this video out!

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Video by Cisco Gonzalez

Show/Hide Comments (23 comments)
  1. Isaac Robertson

    Human flag pull-ups are insane!

    My goal is to be able to do that without a sweat. LOL

  2. noa man

    Have you tried these exercises yourself? All of these exercises are far, far, FAR from the hardest pullup variations, and are in improper order. Kipping pullups are completely ridiculous, narrow grip pullups are basically regular pullups, and the one finger pullup is by far the hardest pullup on this list(weighted one arm pullup could be harder if a lot of weight was used). Here is a list in my opinion of the hardest pullup variations: (no muscle ups, no weights, no grip changes)

    explosive one arm pullup
    slow controlled full ROM back lever pullup no momentum
    slow controlled full ROM front lever pullup no momentum
    clap front lever pullup
    backclap(kuki) front lever pullup
    one arm front lever pullup full ROM no momentum without side bending
    one arm back lever pullup no momentum(not perfect form)

  3. Calvin

    I am looking for something that can get me better forearm and wrist training. Instead of the towel training, I do pull ups on my finger tips and that works out my hands out pretty well. One of my variant is bulking up the biceps but I want my forearms and wrist to look a little more symmetric.

    I appreciate the web site and the different variants.

  4. Faiq

    I’m 15 and I’m able to do the pull ups from number 10 to number 5. Although I have to point out that you missed out 360 pull up. where you basically do an explosive pull up, do a 360 turn and grab the bar coming down.

  5. Viking

    Kipping pull ups?! You retarded? Everyone can do them, its the easiest “pullups”

  6. Joel

    Should add one of my favourtes I do at the park: vertical bar pull ups. I stand between two vertical bars, grip them high and pull up between them. Doing neutral grip pull ups on monkey bars is fun too.

  7. ????

    surprised the front lever/ one arm front lever didnt make it in the list. i want the human flag one though

  8. george

    i do 10/9/8/7

  9. george

    i can do 10,9,8,7

  10. sumit

    Great, barbarian is the new challange ..>!!

  11. sylvain

    Come on now, don’t put kipping movements on any ‘hard’ lists. Kipping Are movements where u rely on momentum, therefore ur muscles Are not working just as much as if u did it with proper form.

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Sylvain,

      Great point. Momentum is definitely used to get above the bar. This is list is meant for fun along with one of my later posts 27 Different Types of Pull Ups.

  12. Devon

    Yeis, the towell pull up is EASIER than the normal.

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Really? I think most people would probably disagree. You are engaging extra forearm and hand muscles that you aren’t using in the normal pull ups. You must have forearms like Popeye!

  13. Devon

    And also now I can do the easier than normal pull up towell pull up

  14. Devon

    I can now do side to side(though I still have normal hand position, cause they are normal length always) and i can also do narrow grip

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Great Devon!

  15. Devon

    Can not do any of these, though I can do one normal pull up.

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Journey of a thousand miles…. 🙂

  16. Kenneth

    Any good alternatives to Pull ups Todd?

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Kenneth,

      If you don’t have a pull up bar I recommend doing stretch pushups. They will help build strength in your upper back, though they don’t strengthen your biceps. You can make a “make-shift” pull up bar at home if you like. Here’s a link on how to do it.

      Thanks for the comment.


  17. Wilson

    This is wickedly awesome i love this.

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Wilson,

      Glad you like it! 🙂

      Can you do any of these? Some of them ARE truly difficult!


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