Pull-ups are primarily an upper-body exercise, making it easy to dismiss your legs as extraneous parts along for the ride as you aim to get your chin over the bar. But there are several ways to use your legs to make the movement easier or harder.
“It totally depends on your unique physiology and what your objective is,” says Kaycee Dunfield, who manages Life Time’s Barbell Training group fitness program. Here are a few options, in order of escalating difficulty (whatever your preference, let comfort be your guide):
Legs supporting you with one foot planted on a box: A great option for beginners, this allows you to use your planted foot for support to pull yourself over the bar.
“If you’re going to swing the whole time, I’d rather you do fewer pull-ups” or choose an easier version, Dunfield says. She recommends focusing on form and control, increasing the variation and number of reps as you gain strength, and experimenting with your leg placement as you progress.