3 Ways to Do Assisted Pull Ups

Pull-ups are one of the most effective exercises to strengthen your upper body. They work your back, arms, and shoulders, and they also require a lot of core strength. However, pull-ups are also one of the most difficult exercises to master.

For many people, pull-ups can seem almost impossible. That’s where assisted pull-ups come in. Assisted pull-ups are a great way to build up your strength and eventually progress to doing unassisted pull-ups. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing 3 different ways to do assisted pull ups.

3 Ways to Do Assisted Pull Ups

Resistance Bands

resistance bands

One of the most popular ways to do assisted pull-ups is by using resistance bands. The thicker the band, the more assistance you’ll get. Start with a wider band and work your way down to a thinner one as you progress.

how to loop resistance band for pull ups

To perform an assisted pull-up with a resistance band, start by looping the selected band over the bar. Then grab one end of the band and loop it through to secure it in place. (Shown above)

how to do a resistance band pull up- bokey.co

Now using a chair, plyo box, or something to stand on, place your knees or feet onto the band.

foot over band - bokey.co

If you’re using your feet, place one foot onto the band and the other foot on top to make sure the band doesn’t fly off.

If you’re using your knees, be sure to keep them bent to avoid the band flying off.

Now perform a pull-up.

You’ll notice that as you raise your body closer to the bar, the resistance band will shrink making it much harder/heavier to pull yourself up the higher you get.

Resistance band-assisted pull-ups are great for progressing up to a real pull because they help alleviate your full body weight early into the movement. Out of the 3 ways to do an assisted pull-up, this will be the closest exercise to mimic a real pull-up.

Assisted Pull Up Machine

Another way to do assisted pull-ups is by using an assisted pull-up machine. These machines have a weight stack that you can adjust to provide assistance.

weight select- Bokey.co

You’ll start by choosing a comfortable weight. The heavier the weight, the easier the pull-up will be to perform.

machine assisted pull ups - bokey.co

Now place your knees or feet (depending on the machine) on the platform and use whichever handles you want to pull yourself up.

This form of assisted pull-up will give you constant weight alleviation, making it easier than doing a band-assisted pull-up.

The assisted pull-up machine is a great option for beginners who want to gradually build up their strength while working the same muscles in a proper pull-up.

Partner/Object Assistance

The third way to do assisted pull-ups is by having a partner or object assist you.

If you’re using a partner:

Simply have your partner hold onto your legs or provide support under your feet as you pull yourself up.

*It’s important to have a trustworthy partner who can support you and give you the right amount of assistance.

This method is great because your partner can adjust the level of assistance as you progress.

If you’re using an object:

pull up assisted - bokey.co

Have a chair, plyo, or something to securely stand on underneath the bar. As you pull up, you can use your legs to push off the object to assist you until you get your chin over the bar.

You can use two feet to start and progress to one foot or even just the tip of your toes.

This progression is often a good starting point for many to build upper body strength.

Pull-up Progressions

Exercise progressions are steps to build up to a particular movement.

In this case, you would be doing these movements to build strength and work your way up to a proper pull-up (with no assistance).

The best order of progressions for a pull-up would be:

  1. Object Assisted (Most of your body weight alleviated)

  2. Assisted Machine pull-ups (Consistent amount of weight alleviated)

  3. Resistance band pull-ups (Heavier as you lift your body higher)

  4. Partner pull-ups (Assistance just enough for you to get over the bar)

Other ways to help get your first pull up

Practice Dead Hangs

dead hangs- bokey.co

Dead hangs help improve your grip strength and endurance. Making it easier to hold onto the bar for long periods of time. They’re also great for strengthening your forearms.

To do a dead hang, literally, just hang onto the bar for time or till failure.

3 sets of 10-30 seconds is a good starting point.

You can do these after your workout as a cool-down or do them as a warm-up.

Practice Negative Pull-ups

Negative pull-ups are the second half of the exercise. So instead of pulling up to the bar, grab something to stand on and start at the top of the bar. Now practice slowly lowering yourself down while staying in control of your body.

This is known as the “eccentric” portion of the pull-up. This will help increase your strength and control.

Practice trying to do a proper pull-up

This one is pretty straightforward. If you want to do your first pull-up, work on getting your chin over the bar more and more with each workout.


No matter which method you choose, doing assisted pull-ups is a great way to build up your strength and eventually progress to unassisted pull-ups. As with any exercise, it’s important to start off slowly and gradually increase the difficulty level.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t become an expert at pull-ups overnight. But with patience, persistence, and the right level of assistance, you can work your way up to achieving your pull-up goals.

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