One Arm Lateral Pullups


by Nick Nilsson Brink Zome


I must confess, I absolutely LOVE hard back training…even better than chest training, to be honest! And if you’re a fan of challenging back training, too, you’re going to REALLY enjoy the exercise I’ve got for you here.


I call it a Lateral One-Arm Pull-Up…and it’s essentially a mash-up between a chin-up, a pull-up and a human flag…all in one exercise.


You’re going to use a very specific bar setup to force the majority of your bodyweight onto ONE lat at a time.


And yeah, as you can imagine, the growth and strength potential of this type of training is UNREAL.


Fair warning…it LOOKS absolutely insane…but you don’t come to me for normal, do you? 


To perform this one, you’ll need a power rack. It CAN be done with a normal horizontal chin-up bar as well…I just find it more effective with the angled bar set-up that I’m going to show you (and I’ll tell you why below).


First, set one of the rails (or racking hooks) as far up as it can go. Then set the other rail or racking hook a couple of notches down so that when you have a bar on it, it’s angled downwards.


You’re going to grip the high end with an underhand grip. This is going to be the “pivot” point of the exercise. Grip out wider to the side with a pronated (palms-forward) grip with the other hand. This is the working side. So essentially, you’re taking a mixed grip on the bar.


You also may need to bend your knees to keep your feet off the floor, as I do in my rack, since its not a tall rack.


Now, with that wide arm as the focus, use lat power to pull your body up laterally (i.e. directly to the side) as high up as you can and hold briefly.


This is going to be TOUGH…I promise you that.


You’re using one arm to leverage almost your entire bodyweight up and directly to the side, which is a movement pattern your body is likely not used to and has probably never experienced before.


THIS is where the angled bar comes into play. I’ve done this exercise with a straight bar and it’s quite a bit harder. It’s tough to get your body up at a high enough angle to really engage and get a strong contraction in the lats.


With the angled bar, you’re basically starting with your hand down lower, giving you better leverage and allowing you to get your body higher for a stronger contraction and more direct lateral resistance on the lat of the working side.


This exercise is also going to work the side wall of the abdominal area as well (the obliques)…very strongly.


As well, this starts to turn the exercise into a Human Flag type of movement…though it’s easier than a full Human Flag because you’re not grabbing a vertical pole and not holding your body horizontally. You could consider it a progression to moving towards a Human Flag, though.


You can do this exercise as a normal set for reps, or you can do it as a static hold, keeping that contracted position for as long as you can.


This exercise is an advanced bodyweight back exercise…you’ll need to be able to perform at least 12 to 15 chins or pull-ups before being able to do this one. If you’re ready for it, however, give it a try. It will hit your lats from an angle they’ve NEVER been hit from before…and with plenty of resistance!


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