Perfecting the Pull Up

Last Modified March 23, 2017


Perfecting the Pull Up

Let’s face it pull up’s look cool; when you see someone doing them you assume that they’re fit….well they are because pull up’s are hard!

They are especially hard when you’re just getting started, if you can’t do one yet, how can you work on them to get better? 

We can help, follow the steps below, but dedication is the key to mastering this, you won’t get overnight results, but it will be worth it when you get there.

Step 1: Bent Over Dumbbell RowsPerfecting the Pull Up - Bent over portrait

Let’s start by going back to basics with a simple back exercise.

Start with a weight that you’re comfortable with can lift for 3 sets of 18reps with; when this gets easy, increase the weight and start again.

Keep doing this until you can complete the sets with a 10kg dumbbell - this weight is based on an ‘average’ person so should be adjusted accordingly - then move on to step 2.

Perfecting the Pull Up - Body WeightStep 2: Body Weight (inverted) Rows

Perfecting the Pull Up - Negative Pull Up's portrait

You can use the bar on the smith machine or the TRX straps to complete these exercises. Start at a height where completing 3 sets of 8 reps is a challenge; when it is no longer a challenge, lower the bar, and alternate between overhand and underhand rows. If you need to start a little easier, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground. When you can complete the sets at a 45oangle or lower, it’s time to move to step 3.

Step 3: Negative Pull Ups

Now you’ve established some back strength, negative pull up’s will help to increase it.

This part is all about control, jump up to the bar (or use a step or box to help) to start in the bent arm position at the top of the bar, then lower yourself slowly to the hanging position, then start again.

Do what you can, building up to 5, when you can do 5, rest for 2 minutes and start another set.

When you can complete 3 sets, making sure you are controlling them, move on to step 4.

Perfecting the Pull Up - Assisted Pull Up's portraitStep 4: Assisted Pull Up’s

You can employ a variety of techniques to achieve an assisted pull up, use a partner, use an exercise band, or use a machine, which ever works for you.

As you get better reduce the amount of assistance you’re getting, ask you friend to help less, or use a band with less tension.

When you can complete 3 sets of 8 with minimal assistance, you’re ready for step 5.

Step 5: Chin Up’s & Pull Up’sPerfecting the Pull Up - Chins & Pull Ups

It’s time to put all that hard work into practice. Depending on how much ground work you have put in, you may want to start with chin up’s (palms facing towards you), but if you’ve been committed then try a pull up (palms facing towards away). Just remember to keep your arms shoulder width apart, your core tight and control the movement. Now just increase the reps and sets and they’ll be no stopping you.