Bodyweight Exercise Pull Ups Strength

Benefits Of Pull Ups For Women — Build A Beautiful Upper Back & A Tapered Waist

Written by shapeshifter

Flavia’s guest video on push ups for girls was a huge hit. So this week our women’s fitness expert is back with her take on the benefits of pull ups for women. She also discusses how to do both chin ups and pull ups properly. If you can’t pull yourself up to the bar yet, you might want to check out our post on assisted pull ups.

Perhaps the nicest fringe benefit of pull ups for women is how smashing you’ll look in an open backed evening gown. Pull up movements do a great job of toning and building the muscles of the upper back and rear part of the shoulders. Don’t worry, you won’t get “bulky.” But you will build a beautiful shape that guys will drool over when you let your upper back show. (we speak from experience… :))

The other selling point for including pull ups in your training is the nice tapered effect you’ll get. By toning the lats, you’ll make the waist look smaller. This creates beautiful lines and a very proportionate physique that’ll look great in tighter cloths or in your swimsuit.

But enough talk, let’s hear what Flavia has to say…

Wow, see what I mean. Flavia’s upper back development is phenomenal. And you can imagine what she’d look like in open backed evening attire. ¡Ay, caramba!

In the video, Flavia demonstrated both chin ups and pull ups. Chin ups are done with your palms facing you and involve the biceps muscles to a greater degree, making it an easier option to start with. Pull ups are done with the palms facing away, isolating the back muscles to a greater extent and making it a more challenging option.

But as Flavia pointed out, you can use assistance from a training partner to help get you started. Simply have your partner cup their hands under the tops of your feet and press into your partners’ hand as much as needed as you pull the bar towards your upper chest. You can also do band assisted pull ups.

Finally, here are a few extra cues that may help…

  • Think of pulling the bar DOWN towards your upper chest
  • Imagine driving your elbows down towards the ground
  • Keep your abs and butt tight throughout the movement
  • Exhale throughout the pulling portion of the exercise

So gals, if you’d like to create a sleek looking midsection and an upper back to drool over, start incorporating both pull ups and chin ups into your routine. If you have any questions for Flavia, drop them into the comments. Also, if you have your own pull up tricks for women, share those too. Look forward to hearing from you!


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  • I’m no female but I really appreciate the post. Benefits of pull ups definitely extend further than just men. Great post and am looking forward to seeing more than just guys embracing this great move.

  • Another great post! Since getting a pull-up bar for my birthday last year I have really been working on them. I can now do 5 pull-ups and as many chin-ups. I really have to be consistent with doing them or the numbers drop off quickly. I like the tip on doing short pulses when you can’t do anymore. I’m going to try that – thanks!

  • Since when did Vince’s wife become a fitness expert. Did I miss something or did she become one by marrying Vince?

    • Jeez Clyde, we already covered this…
      Anyway, I’ll just paste what Flavia answered last time.
      “…I am a certified personal trainer who has also been working out with weights since 2004 after hiring a personal trainer who taught me almost every basic move out there.. meaning I had a lot of time practicing before I became certified. I also am a certified nutritionalist with a mater level certification and a Registered Nurse, which has given me an extensive knowledge of how muscles function.”

    • I think the fact that she has an awesome body and has been able to keep it is proof enough of that. Certifications and stuff is only for getting a job, I know WAY too many people with papers but they are fat and know less than me a guy who loves working out. My $0.02.

      • Thanks guys! When two people are passionate about a certain lifestyle is when they tend to bring the best out of someone. I obviously had a huge passion for fitness before I met Vince, otherwise I don’t think we would have hit it off. Sometimes we just need someone to model and a little boost 🙂

      • Thanks everyone! I very much enjoy coming on and reading all your comments! Keep training hard and living a fitness lifestyle. I will be on throughout the week if there are any more questions.

  • Great Video Vince, Flavia.

    Great explanation of the grips. Nice to see two indivduals who have a commitment to Strength Good health and to each other. Stay Strong, Live Strong and Grow Strong. Herc.

  • Thanks for the tips! Especially about the pulses. When I was first able to do pullups and chinups I was on a roll! I got up to 8 chinups and 5 pullups but it just seemed I couldn’t budge past those numbers. I will try those pulses that Flavia showed to help increase those numbers….of course after I have this baby of mine. Am currently in my 3rd trimester so I now use a band for pullups and chins but can’t wait until delivery so I can go back to my fav exercises!

  • Wow! I always had issues with this exercise.
    Any tips on increase grip strength? not only for chin/pull-ups, but for practically anything?

    • Hanging onto the bar will help with grip strength as will lifting heavy weights. Since bodyweight is the focus here, using a band for pulling exercises will also be very effective . Incorporating some resistance against stabilizer muscles in the wrists and forearms with wrist curls will be sure to help.

  • Pull-ups are really good compound exercises. Another option for getting started is to try the assisted machines available in most gyms. I know that using machines isn’t as effective as your own bodyweight, but this option remains a good way for beginners to start.

  • Flavia is awesome. I really enjoy seeing a woman with good muscletone putting on videos. She explains the exercises really well and she obviously knows her “stuff”. Keep up the videos with Flavia. If there is another place to see her videos, I would be really interested.

  • Great video. It showed me that I need to do some work! LOL

    Why is a ‘chin up’ going to the chest and the ‘pull up’ going to the chin? Sort a makes them misnamed doesn’t it…

    Like some of the previous post this vid is not just for the gals!


  • Great to see a fit woman doing real exercises! Flavia is very fit and a real expert who knows and can demonstrate what she is talking about.
    More and more people should see this stuff and finally stop forcing women into useless and ineffective trainings which are a waste of time. Even from this viewpoint, she is a great model to follow.

  • Awesome Flavia – you rock! Pull-ups are my major fitness goal this year. I hope these tips will really help me achieve my goal. Thank you for the great video! 🙂 More from Flavia please guys!

  • Hi Flavia,

    I appreciate your post, including the previous one dedicated to pushups! Now, what I am following with may sound bitter, but I feel like I’m at a loss and unsure of how to proceed without resorting to sheer diet fanaticism that is just not a realistic way to live life. Although you clearly seem to work hard and put the time and effort into your fitness and nutrition regimen, I’ll be honest that I can’t help but think you’re likely also genetically blessed and, therefore, predisposed to having quick, responsive results from any amount of exercise. I wonder, however, if you could dispel this with a brief genesis of your fitness journey.

    At any rate, can you provide insight and guidance as to how I can achieve better results? I’m not quite sure how to describe my body type, but I exercise regularly incorporating HIIT both via bodyweight exercises (pushups, pedastools, lunges, etc. w/jump rope series) and treadmill sprint series. While my stomach, legs, and back (for the most part) seem to be responsive and show definition (I somewhat have the V-shape & two defined abs), I can never seem to get definition on my arms while hanging by my sides. I am very quick to gain muscle mass and when flexing, my arms look fairly toned (in particular, I have large tricep muscles). I can’t, however, seem to get rid of the extra layer of fat in my arms to show the definition I work so hard to achieve. I get discouraged to continue because I feel any gain I make in muscle seems to just exacerbate the issue because it just creates a larger muscle base underneath the fat. My nutrition is pretty fair, whereby I’ve been able to lose weight in other areas of my body. I keep reading that there is no way to spot reduce, but I know there are ways to train to complement your body type. So how the heck to I complement mine? – 5’3” w/proportionate chest to hip ratio (not an hour glass type of girl, but not quite a boy shape either) w/most of my weight held in my arms. I feel like I workout constantly with such intensity as compared to other girls who simply do cardio and yet they still have those slender arms that seem to mask any other body imperfections. Help please!!! – I’ll be honest, my motivation is waning a bit.

    Thanks for your time and way to be such an inspiration to work towards!



    • Hey Kris,
      I unfortunately cannot give great detail here as there is limited time and space but one thing I have learned is that “problem areas” are just the last places fat comes off the body. Once you get your body fat low enough, you will see those last areas shrink and the muscle revealed. My legs are still being worked on and I’m 13% body fat as we speak. Diet contributes more than people think…eating the right things at the right times….while following a structure d workout is the key to success. The good news is that once you strip that fat, you will be able to maintain it easier than it was getting rid of it.

  • Hi Flavia,
    The post from Kris sounds just like me except my problem area is my legs. I work hard but have very little muscle in my legs so they look shapely. I saw your legs when you gave the demo for push-ups and I was like WOW I want those legs! I’m doing some different leg exercises now but I’m almost to the point of just giving up. I’m 5″ 6″ & 131 lbs. but I have flabby legs but my upper body looks pretty cut. Do I need to use heavy weights when I squat or for any leg exercise? I don’t want to bulk them. I just want nice firm lean legs. Any suggestions? I would like to see more videos of you also.
    Thank You for you’re time,

    • Hey Darlene,

      What I am doing right now is keeping my heart rate up as I go through my workout. I combine 4-5 exercises in a circuit and make sure that the muscle I am focusing on is BURNING until I can no longer finish one more rep. I do each exercise with out a break and repeat the circuit 3 times….the goal is to fatigue the muscle while keeping your heart rate up. Keeping your heart rate elevated, keeps you burning fat.

  • Wow! Super cool video…thanks for the info, Flavia. One question – for pullups, how do you decide how far apart your hands should be on the bar? Hope it’s not a stupid question…Haha, I can’t even really do chinups properly yet – but I’m working on it! 🙂

    • Hi Kirby,

      No question is a stupid question. I would start with your hands shoulder width apart. The farther apart you place your hands….the harder it is and the more emphases you place on your lats and less on your biceps. Placing your hands farther a part is a great way to progress and challenge yourself. Pull ups are difficult..practice makes perfect…keep at them at least once a week to improve strength.

      • Hi Flavia,

        Thanks for your response – hey, I can now do 5 chin ups (new pb as of this morning 😛 ). Just thought I’d let you know. Thanks again for the great vid – it was really motivating!

  • Great post! I am very weak in the upper body and get very sore shoulders when I do weights, or even push ups or any bodyweight exercises. I find it hard to lock my shoulder down properly..even thou I try as hard as I can, I never seem to do it and I end up very sore. So I basically do just lower body exercises and upper body once every week or two weeks. Do you have any tips on how I can do more upper body without hurting my shoulders so much? I get treatment on them almost every week!!

  • Flavia, thanks for them information and education. I have always had a sort of obsession with pullup/chinups. I am a female and can now do 5 chinups and 3 pullups. I have been working on them for about 6 months now and they have not come easy. I started with zero lol. Lost 10 pounds and increased the weights. My goal is 7 chinups and 5 pullups.

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