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I have a problem with my pull up; When I'm pulling myself from the bottom position my right elbow seems to be more flared out than my left, it also happens when I'm doing close grip pull up. During the pull ups, I have no idea it's uneven, I just feel they are normal (even). Maybe posture problem? Or muscle imbalance? May you give me solution or advice to fix this problem?

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It also happen when I do close grip pull up.. My right elbows always seems to want to flare more than my left as you can see in the second picture.

  • I'd say a muscle imbalance between your left and right sides. Try doing some negative pulls ups (eccentric only motion, jump up to the top position, hold for a sec, then lower yourself down under control), see if it still happens. If not, I'd suggest drilling those for a while, to try and even things out. How about on horizontal rows, does the same issue occur?
    – Dark Hippo
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:26

4 Answers 4


The problem lies in the position of your shoulders.

You can clearly see on both pictures that your right shoulder (left in the picture) is slightly higher and more opened up (as in your arm is rotated further out) than the left shoulder. This causes the rest of the body from that point on (so arms, elbows, hands) to act different from each other.

I wonder, do you do any shoulder work? And by shoulder work I don't mean your typical fitness exercises like shoulder pressing with dumbbells. I mean stretching the shoulders in multiple ways, doing scapular pull-ups, scapular push-ups and scapular dips. This is all very important to do if you want to do a proper pull-up. You need to strengthen the muscles that support the upper back while doing a pull-up.

EDIT: I've seen many answers about the back and those are correct in some way, but the problem lies earlier in the body/posture. The fact that there is imbalance in the hands isn't the main problem here. That's what it looks like in my opinion anyway.


Look at the last picture and observe that even though Your hands are held together the right elbow is pointing outward.

This means that You're not using muscles evenly. In that case I would try doing some exercise targeting the muscles that are perceived to be weaker which results in such compensation.

One of the other ways would be also to enchance Your sense of the body. Most of the gyms have mirros not for showing off that big muscles but exactly for the purpose of performing perfect technique why observing how our body reacts to a stimulus provide.

Ask someone to record the pullup from behind without a shirt.

Also I have bold prediction that it might mess up with Your shoulders in the future as this continues.


Judging by the picture it's just starting position. The hand on the left of the picture is further out and the hand on the right is positioned a lot closer to your body. You can see this from your feet too, one foot is hanging a lot lower than the other meaning you're leaning to that side because of your hand positioning


I'm not sure how long you've been doing pullups, but you have some faulty movement patterns ingrained and no matter how much weak point training you do, you'll always revert to that faulty movement patter.

I'll give you two methods in fixing these faulty movement patterns.

Method 1 Greasing the Groove: This works great if you have a pullup bar at home or near you. Essentially what you want to do is lift as a submaximal level but with perfect form. So for example, if you can do a total of 5 pullups in a row, do 1 pullup. You read that right 1 perfect pullup. And do that every hour. Once one pullup becomes too easy, do 2 pullups every hour. And keep building from there. This may seem like it's extremely low volume, but over time it builds up QUICK. Say for example for 8 hours out of the day you do 1 perfect pullup. That's 8 pullups a day and by the end of the week that's 56 total pullups. PERFECT pullups might i add. And as you get stronger the total weekly workload will increase.

So why the submaximal reps? Well it allows you to ingrain perfect movement patterns and you stop before fatigue settles. This is the quickest way to ingrain proper technique.

Method 2 Dynamic Effort Pullups: Similar to the previous method, dynamic effort does the same thing but within a workout. So for example, say you can do 5 clean pullups. Great! Now do something like 10 x 1. That's 10 sets of 1 rep. Rest 30-60 seconds and do another set. The point here is to practice a perfect pullup every rep without fatigue becoming a factor. Once 10 x 1 is easy; Not when you can do 10 x 1, but when 10 x 1 is really easy, the reps are fast and the form is good, progress to 10 x 2, then 10 x 3; hell even 20 x 1. Essentially higher sets lower reps.

Technique When doing pullups, your first contact are your hands. So when you do each rep, make sure you squeeze the bar. This will engage your forearms more and you'll be blown away how much more stable you feel with just this simple tip. Next, when you pull, imagine pulling using only your two ring fingers (this is the finger between the middle and pinky). Idk why, but I've found that people can engage the proper muscles more with this cue. Finally, I really think you should checkout Brian Alsruhe's channel on pullups. He has a pullup technique guide that is stupid simple.

To summarize, you practice perfect technique and stop before fatigue hits. Keep doing this for months and watch as your form, strength and size explode with each week you do this.

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