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Eccentric Pull-Ups For Strength & Size

Pull-ups are one of the most well-known and challenging exercises out there, and while they are effective at building your upper body, other variations of this movement yield greater results.

An eccentric pull-up targets the descending phase of the pull-up, also called a negative, which stimulates unique adaptations unique to an eccentric contraction.

Eccentric pull-ups are a great addition to any workout looking to strengthen the upper body and can be performed by anyone with a pull-up bar at hand!

What Are Eccentric Pull-Ups?

Eccentric pull-ups, also known as 'negatives,' are the part of the movement where one lowers themselves down from the bar. They are referred to as closed chain exercises by coaches and trainers because the hands remain on the bar throughout the entire movement.

You can do eccentric pull-ups by descending in a pull-up slowly, staying in control, and keeping total body tension throughout the entire movement; or with the Exerfly.

Muscles Worked During The Eccentric Pull-Up

Eccentric pull-ups primarily target your lats, but the secondary movements involved in the movement include abs, biceps, shoulders, and upper back. If you've never done eccentric pull-ups before, you'll feel which muscles were worked the following day because of the soreness.

Benefits Of Eccentric Pull-Up

Overload The Lats And Arms

Overloading your lats and arms has many benefits which translate to our upper body. It is a type of strength training that progressively increases tension on the targeted muscle groups, resulting in muscle growth and strength gain. This will protect and stabilise your shoulders, spine, develop back strength, and support your upper body posture.

Develop The Strength To Get Your First Pull-Up

Eccentric pull-ups help those who are not strong enough to do a regular pull-up, as it teaches the muscles in the range of movement how to perform the exercise. We are stronger under eccentric contractions, so if you cannot perform a concentric pull-up, you can develop strength from lowering yourself under control which transfers to concentric strength.

This improves the body's awareness and control, facilitating the execution of the upper (concentric) phase of the pull-up. Eccentric exercises effectively build muscle, especially when targeting lats and arms to perform a full pull-up.

How To Do A Negative Pull-Up

  • Stand under the pull-up bar and on top of a box. Make sure your arms are parallel with the ground when you grab the bar and grip it overhand, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • When you jump off the box, secure your chin over the bar, brace your core, tuck the tailbone and squeeze your glutes.
  • Prevent swinging by keeping your torso stable and slowly descending by extending your elbows until your arms are straight.
  • Use the box to bring your chest back up to the bar, where your elbows should remain fixed on either side.
  • Pause.
  • While keeping your composure, slowly straighten your arms and control your torso to descend to the bottom.
  • As you build your upper body strength, begin adding concentric repetitions to the start of the exercise until you can perform a full pull-up.

How To Do An Eccentric Pull-Up With The Exerfly

The Exerfly provides a unique opportunity to perform eccentric pull-ups. Generally, an eccentric pull-up is performed as a negative, as shown in the previous section. However, the Exerfly flywheel training device acts as a weighted pull-up then drags you through the eccentric phase. Here's how to do it:

  • Wear the shoulder harness with the rope attached.
  • Have the Exerfly Platform directly under the pull-up bar.
  • Perform the pull-up with the Exerfly attached so it drags you down during the eccentric phase, which you will have to resist.


Your muscles are at your strongest in the eccentric part of the movement, so eccentric pull-ups are an excellent exercise for people of all experience levels. They require a tremendous amount of time under tension from your muscles, are challenging, and will generate extensive and long-lasting gains.

Eccentric pull-ups are a fantastic addition to any upper body workout and can be easily incorporated into all settings with the only weight required to be the body itself. The Exerfly can take the eccentric pull-up to another level.

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