You might be dedicated to good health by working out, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same old exercises over and over again. Why not try to do some interesting variations on a mainstay of the super-fit, the pull-up? You might as well, right?

Before we go into the types of pull-ups, first keep in mind that if you can’t do very many pull-ups, it is a good idea to start with a lat pull-down machine so that you can build up your back muscles. While the different variations will work different muscles, a strong back is the key to being successful at pull-ups.

Now, let’s move on to the different types of pull-ups. First, consider the “palms-up” grip. In this pull-up, your hands are facing you. Keep your body firm and pull yourself up until your chin is just over the bar. Exhale, and then lower yourself with control while inhaling. This is considered the easy pull-up, especially if you keep your hands close together on the bar. This one relies more on your biceps than your back muscles, and you’re more likely to have developed biceps than back muscles unless you have been deliberately trying to strengthen your back through workouts.

Next, there is the “palms-down” grip. You’ll want to have your hands facing away from you, and for a greater challenge you’ll want to spread your hands out farther across the bar. This is the standard pull-up, but that doesn’t mean that you will be able to do even one unless you have been hitting the weight room regularly. Pull-ups are not easy. However, they are one of the most effective ways to build up the muscles in your upper body and back.

Once you’ve mastered the first two types, you might try the commando grip. In this one, have one palm facing one way and your other palm facing the other, so that your body is parallel to the bar instead of perpendicular. Then, pull yourself straight up and have your head move to one side, then do the same maneuver for the other side. These aren’t necessarily more difficult, but they are different and work different muscles, so it’s good to mix them in to your rotation when you feel ready.

The staggered pull-up is starting point to one-arm pull-ups, because it has you putting one hand a shoulder-width apart, while the other is two shoulder-widths or positioned with alternative grip style. This overload on one side can help correct for one arm being stronger than the other. Also, in preparing to do one-armed pull-ups, having extra weight placed on one arm is a good way to get used to doing that.

If you want a strong grip, try towel or sponge pull-ups. For this, take two large sponges or roll two towels over the bar a shoulder-width apart, and then grab a towel with each hand. Instead of pulling up from the bar directly, you will pull up while gripping the towels. You’ll feel it. Your forearms will improve in strength in response due to the increased demand of the difficulty of the grip.

Finally, there is the one-arm pull-up. In order to prepare to do a one-arm pull-up, you should use all the other types of pull-ups to maximize the strength of the different muscle types. Because of the amount of strain you’re putting on one arm, if you develop tendonitis in your elbow, you should listen to your body and rest. Good luck on your new pull-up routines!

Author's Bio: , aka, Emile Jarreau is 31 year veteran fitness professional and co-owner of in Long Beach, California. Also having 19 years of bodybuilding and figure coaching experience, he specializes in fat loss and all its aspects and freely shares online resources to the world.