That last pic is a classic! [:)] That is how I got started!
JPH, do you recommend a under hand grip or a reverse grip when it comes to pull ups? Perhaps both? What different muscle groups do the different hand positions work?
My basic thought is that so few people do pull-ups that it is kind of silly to get all hung up about hand position. Some people will get really worked up about it. I do not.
I mix it up.
I do most of my pull-ups in the "palms away" position. It focuses most of the effort onto your back and shoulders and I find it a little easier on my elbows. One could also make the argument that it translates to the real world better than other hand positions because you will not pull yourself back into the stand with "palms toward".
When I reach failure in the "palms away" position I will sometimes go to "palms toward" which allows you to incorperate more of your arms (biceps). Another great variation is the "mixed grip" pull up, where one palm is toward and the other is away.
I also suggest doing rope or towel pull ups to work your forearms and hand strength.
But again, I never met a pull-up I didn't like.