How to Progress on Your Pull-Ups

Fitness, Strength Workouts, Upper Body Workouts, Training Advice, Training Tips

By: // August 15, 2015


You walk into a gym, see someone hacking it out on the pull-up machine and your first thoughts might be:

1. How did they get themselves up so high on that bar?

2. How are they pumping out so many pull-ups?

3. Hmmm, that doesn’t look so bad, let me give it a try.

And so you do.

Okay hands on the bar, let’s pull myself up … Oh, my, this sucks, never mind, getting down now.

If this is you or sounds like something you might do, fear not. We have some amazing exercises to get you progressing on your pull-ups. With some patience, consistency and determination, you will be on your way to performing full-blown pull-ups! Yes, you!

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

Why Should I Do Pull-Ups?

Pull-ups are the ultimate total-body exercise. Not only will you develop amazing upper-body strength, but your core also will reap all the benefits.

Your lats, rhomboids, rear delts, and the rest of your backside will tone-up which means better posture and the illusion of a smaller waist! Bonus.

Exercises To Progress On Your Pull-Ups

Make sure you warm-up properly. Anytime you strength train, you want to focus on warming up your spine and targeting the large muscle groups.

Some of my favorite ways to warm-up before working my upper-body include a five-minute jog, incline treadmill walk, or jump roping; followed by 5 minutes of sun salutations or a 30-second plank hold on my knees.  Last, 30 seconds of knee push-ups.

Try incorporating the exercises below into your workouts.

We can’t tell you exactly how many weeks it will take until you can do the full pull up. But usually in 4 weeks or so, you will gain enough strength to pump one out and be super proud!

Suspension Trainer Pull-Up

We have got some great exercises for you to progress on your pull-ups.

A) Grab a TRX suspension-training strap (Familiarize yourself with suspension training here.) and bring it to a fully shortened length. Place yourself directly underneath the anchor point and extend your feet straight out in front of you and grab both handles with your arms straight, palms facing each-other.

B) Bring your shoulders down and back and, without arching your lower back, think about using the strength in your upper back to bring your chest towards the handles. Slowly lower back to starting position.

C) Do 8-10 reps; 3 sets; 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few reps as you get stronger.)

Band Assisted Pull-Up

We have got the exercises for you to progress on your pull-ups.We've got the exercises for you to progress on your pull-ups.

A) Secure a Superband (most gyms should have these) around a pull-up bar. (If you are new to strength training try the 1 ¾” wide superband. If you can already do pushups, try the 1” superband.) Grab a chair or step to place yourself underneath the bar. Carefully, bring one knee in to the banded loop. The band should be secured a little past your knee (shin area) to prevent it from flying up. Take a medium to wide grip on the bar with palms facing down.

B) Bring your shoulders down and back and, without arching your lower back, use your upper and middle back muscles, pull your chest towards the bar. Try to attempt to get your chin past the bar. With control (no swinging movements) return to starting position.

C) Do 8-10 reps; 3 sets; 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few reps as you get stronger.)

Horizontal Pull-Up/Inverted Row

We've got the exercises you can do to make progress on your pull-ups.

A) Find a bar that is waist-high or a little lower. You can use a secure smith machine or barbell on a squat rack for this exercise. Place yourself directly underneath the bar so that your chest is directly underneath the bar. Place your palms in an over-hand grip position in a wide grip position. You can place your legs straight out in front of you or you can bend your knees with feet flat on the ground for less resistance.

B) Bring your shoulders down and back and without arching your lower back, bring your chest towards the bar while flexing your elbows. With control, slowly lower yourself back to starting position.

C) Do 8-10 reps; 3 sets; 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few reps as you get stronger.)

Related: The Playground Workout For Parents

Extended Arm Static Bar Hang

Try an extended bar hang to make progress on your pull-ups.

A) Using a chair or step, place yourself directly underneath a pull-up bar. Grab the bar with a wide to medium overhand grip and slowly bring your feet off the step.

B) Engage your upper-back, shoulders, core and squeeze your glutes as you hang for 5-10 seconds. With control place your feet back on the step.

C) Try this 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few seconds as you get stronger.)

Flexed Arm Static Bar Hang

Try the Flexed Arm Static Bar Hang to make progress on your pull-ups.

 

A) Using a chair or step, place yourself directly underneath a pull-up bar. Grab the bar with a wide to medium overhand grip with your elbows flexed and chin above the bar or close to it.

B) Engage your upper-back, shoulders, core and squeeze your glutes as you hang for 5-10 seconds. With control, lower yourself back to down to the step.

C) Try this 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few seconds as you get stronger.)

Lowering-Phase Bar Hang

Check out the exercises you can do to make progress on your pull-ups.

A) Get yourself into flexed arm static bar hang (same description as above). Without any swinging or jerking motions, slowly lower yourself towards the step, taking about 7 to 10 seconds to reach full-arm extension.

B) Do 8-10 reps; 3 sets; 3 times a week. (Keep adding a few reps as you get stronger.)

How To Do Pull-Ups

(Once you feel comfortable with all other exercises listed above!)

We've got the exercises for you to make progress on your pull-ups.

A) Grasp a pull-up bar with a wide to medium overhand grip (You may start out with an underhand grip-this will be a little easier as you are using more biceps, a stronger muscle group for most people).

B) Bring your shoulders down and back and without arching your lower back engage your upper back muscles and bring your chest towards the bar. Attempt to bring your chin above the bar.  With control, slowly lower back down to reach full-arm extension. Remember to inhale on the way up and exhale on the way down. Whoo hoo- you did it!

Proper Form of Pull-Ups For Beginners

  • Extend fully. It’s important that you fully extend your arms in between reps. (Yes it’s harder, but correct.)
  • Lead with your chest. Keep your shoulders back to avoid injury.
  • Try to get your chin above the bar. It’s super hard but I see lots of people release the movement before the chin is lifted fully above the bar.
  • Bend your knees.  Otherwise, your feet may touch the ground when your arms are extended.  Plus, it makes it easier to focus on your upper body.

Pull-ups are an effective way to sculpt your core, improve your posture and increase your strength! Challenge yourself and get ready to feel confident and strong as you progress your way to pull-ups!

READ THIS NEXT: 15 Push-Up Variations You Are Going To Want To Try


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

Leave a Reply


(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
Send this to a friend