Jumping Pull Ups: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More

Published by Debbie Luna
Last Updated: January 1, 2022

A variation on the calisthenic exercise known as pull ups, jumping pull ups are a form of bodyweight exercise primarily performed by individuals in a gym or similar training environment so as to accrue some level of muscular hypertrophy in their upper and lower body.

The jumping pull up is somewhat uncommon, however, owing to the fact that it may be quite difficult, and occasionally falls under the purview of cardiovascular exercise instead of resistance training due to its high repetitions and low mechanical resistance.

The jumping pull up is considered an excellent calisthenic exercise for the majority of individuals seeking to condition their cardiovascular system, muscles, joints, and even their neurological movement pattern recruitment.

What is the Jumping Pull Up?

Though partially explained at the start of this article, the full definition of the jumping pull up is that of a highly dynamic closed chain exercise that utilizes a variety of muscle groups located both on the upper and lower sections of the body.

the jumping pull up

The jumping pull up is primarily performed through the use of multiple repetitions per set, or as prescribed by an athletic coach or physical therapist. 

This equates to the jumping pull up primarily utilizing the endurance portion of an individual’s training, though quite a bit of resistance may still be applied to their upper body, depending on said individual’s bodyweight and technique.

How is the Jumping Pull Up Performed?

To begin performing the jumping pull up, the exerciser will place themselves beneath a suitably high enough pull-up bar or similar object that they may grip on to. 

A distance of approximately two to three feet or two thirds of the exerciser’s maximum jump height is best, as this will provide the fullest range of motion.

The exerciser will prepare themselves to jump and grip the bar by spreading their hands upwards, angled towards the pull-up bar, before producing force from their hips and knees and thrusting their body towards the bar by jumping.

The exerciser will then catch themselves by gripping the bar with their hands at an even distance apart, prior to pulling their chest towards it by contracting their latissimus dorsi, biceps, forearms and abdominal muscles simultaneously.

This will produce the intended effect of drawing the exerciser’s chin at or above the bar itself, completing the concentric portion of the movement and reaching the apex of the pull up.

Squeezing their entire upper body for a moment in order to maximize training stimuli and muscular hypertrophy, the exerciser will then lower themselves slowly until their arms are fully extended above them, causing them to essentially hang by their hands.

The exerciser will then release their grip on the pull up bar prior to returning to the starting position, completing the eccentric portion of the exercise and finishing one repetition of the jumping pull up.

Certain things to keep in mind are for the exerciser to keep the momentum of their jump in measured control, as jumping pull ups can be dangerous for individuals with a poor sense of balance or impaired eyesight.

It is also important for the exerciser to realize that the use of jumping pull ups is not as effective as ordinary pull ups in the facilitation of certain types of training, such as in direct latissimus dorsi activation or practice of proper form in regards to traditional pull ups.

What are the Benefits of Performing Jumping Pull Ups?

Like all forms of cardiovascular and resistance exercises, jumping pull ups can provide a myriad of positive effects to any individual who performs them on a regular basis and with proper form, making the jumping pull up an excellent exercise to add to any workout plan or rehabilitation routine.

Training Benefits

Perhaps the most common reason why individuals are prescribed or choose to perform the jumping pull up, the myriad of training benefits provided by the explosive full body movement are numerous and quite effective, whether in professional athletes or ordinary gym goers.

Performing the jumping pull up will induce measured levels of muscular hypertrophy to practically any muscle group involved in the exercise, causing an increase in potential force output and in actual muscle size over certain periods of time, so long as proper rest and diet are also followed.

Additionally, the simple neurological adaptation to repetitively performing the jumping pull up can aid in a variety of other exercises normally involved in the playing of sports, or even simple day to day tasks that any one person can do.

Systemic Benefits

As the jumping pull up is generally performed with high numbers of repetitions as well as the usage of nearly every muscle group, it is by no extension of logic that the jumping pull up provides many cardiovascular benefits that can be applied to practically any other form of exercise.

This is further compounded by the flexibility accrued through the use of proper form during the performance of jumping pull ups, wherein such joints like the ankles and shoulders will be reinforced and develop an increased range of motion so long as proper stretching is done before and after the exercise.

General Health Benefits

Though most of the benefits under the purview of general health are not solely reserved for the jumping pull up, there is no doubt that such things like a reduced risk of cardiac disease and certain other maladies are direct effects of performing jumping pull ups.

Many other benefits from performing the jumping pull up can be seen and measured, taking the form of improved bone density, quicker recovery via improved metabolic and anabolic responses, lower serum blood cholesterol levels and even an improved emotional mood in some cases.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that these effects are generally accrued over longer periods of time wherein the jumping pull up and similar exercises are performed repetitively over the course of day long intervals alongside proper rest and a healthy diet.

Weight Loss Benefits

Though situational and is highly variable between individual lifestyles or diets, the potential weight loss benefits from the jumping pull up are significant, especially if performed over longer periods of time.

This is due to the fact that the jumping pull up and similar exercises normally performed with high repetitions and multiple sets place significant stress on the cardiovascular system of the body- hence the term cardio exercise- and as such incur significant caloric requirements, directly translating to weight loss over time.

This increase in bodily caloric requirements will only equate to a loss in general fat composition if combined with a proper diet, however, and as such it is best to consult with a certified diet specialist as well as a physical therapist or coach if weight loss is the individual’s primary goal.

What Muscles Does the Jumping Pull Up Train?

Unlike the more common standard pull up wherein only the upper body itself is activated during the exercise, the jumping pull up is the very definition of a compound movement, as it involves the use and training of not only more than one muscle group but practically the entire body.

Despite this, however, the jumping pull up does not activate all muscle groups in the body equally, with certain other groups acting in a stabilizing or accessory capacity and as such receiving significantly less training stimuli than the primary movers behind the exercise.

These primary movers are the muscle groups of the latissimus dorsi, the quadriceps femoris, the biceps brachii, the trapezius atop the shoulders, the three deltoid heads, the various smaller muscles located in the calves as well as the abdominal stabilizers at some level.

It is important to keep in mind however that the particular level of which the resistance and training stress is distributed among these muscle groups will depend on the individual's particular biomechanics as well as the sort of exercise form they are using.

What Sort of Training is the Jumping Pull Up?

Though the particular type of training the jumping pull up is classified as can depend on whether extra resistance has been added or taken away, it is usually considered to be a calisthenic type exercise utilizing body weight or less than body weight stressor loads due to the fact that it is commonly performed with no extra weight added.

However, this classification does not end there, as the jumping pull up is also considered a cardiovascular exercise due to the nature of how it is performed and the fact that it can place significant training stimuli on the cardiovascular system.

By extension, the jumping pull up is also known as a plyometric exercise wherein it utilizes a controlled level of speed and force so as to induce training stimuli in the muscles, unlike non-plyometric training wherein the majority of the exercises are performed at a slow pace so as to increase the time under tension trained muscles will undergo.

Who can Perform a Jumping Pull Up?

The jumping pull up is considered a medium impact exercise due to the relative level of stress it places on the connective tissues and bones of the body, potentially inducing microfractures or tears in individuals with certain conditions or of a certain age.

As such, it is best to first consult a physician or physical therapist prior to performing any sort of exercise like the jumping pull-up, as not doing so may result in injury or severe strain.

However, safety issues aside, the jumping pull up is an excellent exercise for practically any healthy member of the population, regardless of training experience, gender or goals.

This is due to the fact that the sort of benefits imparted by the jumping pull up to the exerciser can have a variety of uses, from improving the efficiency and function of ordinary people as they go about their day to maximizing the amount of explosive force and muscular strength released by an athlete during exercise.

Therefore, practically any individual with enough mobility and bodily strength to perform a jumping pull up may do so, much to the benefit of their health and training.

References

1. Snarr RL, Hallmark AV, Casey JC, Esco MR. Electromyographical Comparison of a Traditional, Suspension Device, and Towel Pull-Up. J Hum Kinet. 2017;58:5-13. Published 2017 Aug 1. doi:10.1515/hukin-2017-0068

2. Davies G, Riemann BL, Manske R. CURRENT CONCEPTS OF PLYOMETRIC EXERCISE. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(6):760-786.

3. Zghal Firas, Colson Serge S., Blain Grégory, Behm David G., Granacher Urs, Chaouachi Anis. Combined Resistance and Plyometric Training Is More Effective Than Plyometric Training Alone for Improving Physical Fitness of Pubertal Soccer Players  Frontiers in Physiology DOI=10.3389/fphys.2019.01026 ISSN=1664-042X   

4. Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006;174(6):801-809. doi:10.1503/cmaj.051351

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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