Ready for an epic arms day? Pull-Ups are an incredibly effective exercise that can help you get ripped, toned arms and a strong back. In this blog post, we’ll review top tips on how to do more pull ups or get your first one!
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran looking to push yourself further or beginning your journey toward serious arm gains, these tips will give you the information necessary to take your training up a notch. So grab those iron bars and let’s get started!
When it comes to calisthenics, progressions are the steps you can take to progress your way to performing a particular exercise. For example, when learning to do a push-up, one might start on their knees to build enough strength until they can achieve a proper push-up.
By mastering the progressions, you can build up strength and understanding of the movement that will eventually turn into the actual exercise. Even if you can do a pull-up, lowering your progression can help build your strength with a more moderate and achievable exercise.
In this case, there are a few progression when building up to your first pull-up.
1. TRX Rows or Doorframe pull-ups
To perform a TRX band row, stand parallel to the bands. Then as you have a hold of the grips, take 1-3 steps forward depending on your skill level.
The further you stand, the more difficult.
Then pull the handles to your chest to perform the exercise. Focus on squeezing your back as you get closer to the handles.
This can also be done with a doorway if you don’t have TRX bands.
2. Negative pull-ups
Negative pull-ups are great for increasing your reps. Start by grabbing a box, chair, or something stable to step onto. To perform the exercise, you want to be at the top position of a pull-up and slowly lower yourself.
When doing pull-ups, there are 2 motions:
Performing negatives are great for increased control of your body weight, endurance, and strengthening your back to eventually perform a pull-up or increase your repetitions.
3. Scapular pull-ups
A scapular pull-up can be a beneficial exercise for those looking to strengthen their back and shoulder muscles. It is an isolated shoulder movement that helps create stronger muscle definition, as well as improve the stability of the shoulder joint.
To do the exercise, start in a static hanging position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. While squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly lift your upper body until it’s almost parallel to the ground and hold for 3-5 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
As you get stronger you can adjust your grip width and add extra resistance such as a dumbbell or weight plate held between your legs. Incorporating scapular pull-ups into your workout routine is an excellent way to target and build strength from one of the most important areas of our bodies: the upper back and shoulders.
Assisted pull-ups are great for performing the exercise without having to pull your whole body weight. This can be done in multiple ways:
4. Standing Pull-ups
Find a low enough pull-up bar or a stable box or chair to stand on. While your feet on planted on the ground, do a pull-up. The idea is to not use your legs while doing this. You want to simulate an actual pull.
This will be an easy way to get the motion of the pull-up while alleviating a lot of your body weight. You can use both feet or just one foot to make it more difficult.
5. Machine-assisted pull-ups
Many gyms will have an assisted pull-up machine. Simply put the amount of weight you want to be taken off your body weight and perform a pull-up.
With this machine, you’ll have a consistent amount of weight alleviated through the whole movement compared to a resistance band.
6. Assisted/Resistance Bands Pull-up
Using a resistance band, place your feet onto the band a perform a pull-up. Unlike a machine-assisted pull-up, the banded pull-up will provide a different level of difficulty as you pull up to the bar.
The band will be at its strongest the more it is stretched so as you rise to the bar, the band will go back to its resting form making it more difficult at the top position of the movement. You can increase the difficulty by getting a lighter/thinner band.
Holds are great for improving grip strength and endurance. At the start of your pull-up journey, you’ll often find yourself losing grip before your muscles give out.
This is a simple fix are can be done in a couple of ways.
7. Dead Hangs
To do a dead hang, start with your hands shoulder-width apart while grabbing onto the bar. The position of your grip should be a standard double overhand like the image below. Then simply hang for time. Keep your core tight and try to keep your body from swaying back and forth.
Regardless of your fitness level, dead hangs carry tons of benefits.
Improves Grip Strength
Improves Forearm endurance
Decompresses your spine
You can make this exercise more difficult by adding weights with a weighted vest or weighted belt.
Just like dead hangs, holds are great for strength training and endurance. You can hold the top position or any position you feel you may be lacking.
If you’re looking to increase pull-ups quickly, then try to add variety. This can be done by:
9. Changing up your set counts for bodyweight pull-ups
We often like to do 3-4 sets of as many pull-ups as we can. A great way to add some variety could be to increase the sets we do while perfecting the reps. For example, if you can do 10 pull-ups, then performing higher sets of 5+ of 5 reps can be beneficial.
Doing your pull-ups like this can help perfect your form and decrease the level of fatigue you feel earlier on.
10. Weighted pull-ups
Weighted pull-ups are great for developing strength. By adding weight with a vest or weight belt, you can make it much more difficult than just performing a standard bodyweight pull-up.
11. Change the tempo
You can change the variety by performing your pull-ups at a different speed. A great way could be exploding up while coming down slowly. Or even pulling up slowly and decreasing slowly.
Doing a pull-up slower will make your time under tension increase while also increasing the intensity.
12. Change your grip
Chin-ups (underhand grip), close grip, a grip slightly wider, or even neutral grips. There are a number of ways to change up the grip from a standard double overhand grip. Each grip will target different back muscles more or less so it can be beneficial to change up your grips.
13. DO MORE PULL-UPS!
As obvious as this seems, many people don’t do pull-ups enough to get the results they want. Try incorporating more pull-ups into your routine if you want to see the outcome you’re looking for.
The introduction of new training methods, along with patience and consistency are essential when increasing pull-up reps or achieving your first unassisted pull-up. results will not come immediately, but by following the proper steps laid out in this blog post, you can see an improvement in your strength and endurance. Trust the process and have faith that your hard work will pay off!
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