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When doing pull-ups (not chin-ups), I find it harder to get up when I look up and my chest is sticking out and back is titled. On the other hand, these harder pull-ups feel more intense and satisfying, for the few reps that I can do. I feel pumped up afterwards.

When I instead just look straight ahead and not look up at the bar, then I find that I can do more pull-ups, more easily.

Is the "proper form" looking up or looking straight ahead, when pulling yourself up?

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Extension in the neck is naturally associated with extension in the back (the opposite way - back extension and neck flexion, or vice versa - is also possible, it just feels unnatural).

So usually, when people extend the neck (ie. look up), they also extend the spine.

As far as the spine and body position is concerned, there are two main ways you can do a pull-up:

  • Hollow body: the spine neutral or even a bit flexed, emphasizing muscles in the front. It has the advantage, that the abs are more engaged.
  • Arched back: the spine extended and the back muscles are emphasized. This has the advantage of engaging the posterior chain more, which is why you feel more energy in the pull-up.

Both are correct ways to do pull-ups, it's a matter of preference.

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Looking up gets the arch in your back when hanging and engaging your lats and core more. If your head is forwards it's easy to tilt your body with it and engaging your biceps more.

There are some examples Here

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