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Single-Arm Inverted Pull-ups on Smith Machine or Squat Rack

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Do a one-armed, angled pull-up to develop back strength. Make sure to hold on with an overhand grip for maximum back work.

Muscles Worked
Back, Core

Starting Position
On a Smith machine or squat rack, position the bar so that it is either on the fourth, fifth, or sixth rung, depending on your height relative to the rack. With your feet hip distance apart on the floor, grip the bar with one hand, palm down. Hang from the bar with your body flat and your arm fully extended.


  1. From the starting position, bend the extended arm to lift your body up until your chest is nearly touching the bar. Keep your body straight and flat as you do so. Think about pulling through the pinky side of your hand to help your back do the majority of the work.
  2. Once your chest is at the bar, lower yourself back to the starting position, again using your back and core to keep your body straight—no drooping.
  3. Do an entire set on one arm, then switch to the other hand.
Advanced Versions
For an advanced version, try lowering the bar closer to floor so that your body is more parallel with ground. For a more advanced variation, do this exercise with your heels supporting your lower body on a flat bench several feet in front of the Smith machine. For an even more advanced version, do the exercise with your heels on a stability ball several feet in front of the Smith machine.

About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is co-founder of the award-winning Diakadi Body personal training gym and creators of RealJock's 12-week Workout Programs. Billy is a certified Level 1 Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach through the Paul Chek Institute as well as a Certified Personal Trainer through The National Academy of Sports Medicine. Have burning questions about your fitness that you want Billy and Diakadi co-founder Mike Clausen to answer? Send an email to