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Are Pull-Ups Dangerous? (Explained For Beginners)

Pull-ups have a reputation that they may potentially be a dangerous exercise.

(Or at least, an exercise that can cause injury.)

Obviously, avoiding injuries will be important if you want to work out as effectively as possible.

That’s why we look to answer the question of whether pull-ups are actually dangerous in this article.

Are Pull-Ups Dangerous?

Like all exercises, pull-ups come with a certain element of risk.

They are a challenging exercise that puts quite a lot of stress on multiple joints and muscles.

As a result, injury can happen during pull-ups with a common one involving your elbows. 

That being said, if you use proper technique, are properly warmed up, and you’re gradually increasing the intensity of each set, pull-ups can be a highly effective muscle-building exercise with minimal risk of injury.

Safety Considerations When Doing Pull-Ups

The main safety consideration for doing pull-ups (as with all exercises) is to ensure your technique is correct.

As several body parts are working during pull-ups, even small mistakes can cause bigger issues than you might expect.

Another element of pull-ups that needs careful consideration is the condition of the equipment being used.

If a pull-up bar is unsafe, there’s a risk of it falling and causing you an injury while you’re performing the exercise.

You should also consider your current fitness and strength levels when deciding whether to add pull-ups to your workouts or not.

A good base level of strength and fitness will be required to do pull-ups safely.

If you’re new to training, they might not be the best exercise for you.

Can Pull-Ups Cause Injury?

Yes, but all exercises can if they’re not performed correctly.

Elbow injuries can be a fairly common consequence of pull-ups, so care needs to be taken that you’re using the correct technique and that suitable adaptations have been made if possible.

For example, you might need to wear an elbow sleeve (support strap) if you already have a weakened elbow from a past injury.

You may also need to think about using a different grip or hand position to minimize stress on certain body parts.

Are Weighted Pull-Ups Dangerous?

No, but they can bring an increased injury risk if you don’t do them properly.

Any weight you add to your pull-ups needs to be increased gradually.

It also needs to be secured safely using equipment designed for the purpose.

Homemade or improvised straps and equipment can certainly increase the risk of injury.

Your technique needs to be good and you’ll need to have built up good levels of strength by doing regular pull-ups before even considering adding weight to the exercise.

(Here’s a short vid below showing you how to do weighted pull-ups correctly…)

Are Door Pull-Ups Dangerous?

Pull-up bars that get attached to a door frame are usually completely safe as long as you have followed all the instructions and installed them correctly.

Are Butterfly Pull-Ups Dangerous?

The added momentum generated in butterfly pull-ups can make them a bit harder on the working muscles and joints.

While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, you’ll need to be extra careful to ensure you’re doing everything correctly to minimize the risk of injury.

Are Kipping Pull-Ups Dangerous?

Like butterfly pull-ups, quite a bit of momentum is generated during kipping pull-ups. 

This can add increased stress and pressure on your working muscles and joints, so there’s somewhat of an increased risk associated with the exercise.

That being said, the correct technique and gradual build-up to the exercise go a long way in keeping things as safe as possible.

Are Pull-Ups Suitable For Beginners?

Pull-ups aren’t usually suitable for beginners but that isn’t always the case.

As they’re a challenging exercise to perform correctly, you’ll need to do some work to build up the strength required to do them.

A basic understanding of which muscles should be working and how exercises should feel can also be very beneficial in exercises like this.

If a beginner is working with a qualified fitness professional, then pull-ups may be suitable.

They may incorporate different variations that can be better suited for people with less gym experience.

They may also need to perform assisted pull-ups instead of going straight into full reps.

These are normally done either on a machine or by using a resistance band as support for lifting and lowering your body under control.

Can Pull-Ups Tear Your Bicep?

Not normally, although sometimes accidents happen that can cause more serious injuries than you might expect.

The most common injuries that happen with pull-ups tend to involve your elbows or shoulders as these are the working joints of the movement.

While bicep injuries could happen, they are usually minor injuries so a bicep tear would be unlikely.

Can Pull-Ups Hurt Your Neck?

While serious neck injuries are very unlikely during pull-ups, it can be quite easy to strain your neck and cause yourself some quite severe pain and discomfort.

Neck injuries during pull-ups tend to occur when your neck is taken out of alignment with your spine.

This is usually due to you turning your head to one side or looking down during the movement.

It all comes back to making sure the correct technique is used throughout the exercise.

Just one rep being performed with your neck out of alignment can be enough to cause you to stop doing the exercise because of the pain it caused.

Your neck probably won’t get seriously injured but it can cause some pretty nasty pain and discomfort. 

If there is one part of your body you want to avoid injuries in at all costs, it will probably be your neck.

Even small injuries in this area are not only extremely painful but they can severely impact your ability to move as you need to.

Sources

Kipping Pull-Ups Injuries