Pull Ups are one of the best exercises you can do to build a strong, muscular upper body. All you need to perform them is a sturdy bar that’s above head height to grab onto and you’re set. This makes them perfect for all of us that train at home.
The only problem with pull ups – if you can do one – is that they’re really hard to do properly. Most men and women struggle to do 1 pull up with good form. If this includes you, don’t worry. This article will solve your pull up problem.
After reading this article you will have 2 new exercises to add to your workout that will help you become strong enough to perform pull ups unassisted. Within a couple of months of doing either of these exercises you will be able to perform sets of 10 or more pulls ups and then be ready to move onto more advanced variations. You’ll also build your back and biceps faster than exercises like lat pull downs and barbell curls ever will.
Pull Up Progressions
1. Band Assisted Pull Ups
This is one of my favorite ways to teach someone how to perform pull ups. All you need is a resistance band and a pull up bar and you’re good to go.What you do to use them is tie the band onto your pull up bar so that you can put your foot into the bottom part. It should hang down from the bar so that when you bend your knee to a 90 degree angle you can place your foot into the loop the band makes. When you do a pull up the band will work with your body and give you a little boost to make doing the pull up easier.
As you get stronger, you can use a lighter resistance band or lengthen so that it provides less assistance. I like SuperBands which are sold at PerformBetter.com. If you cannot do a single pull up start with a band that will use a 50 lbs. band. If you can do 3-5 pull ups with no assistance use a 25 lb. band so you can perform 8-10 per set. As you become stronger you can use a 10 lb. resistance bands.
Once you can perform 3 sets of 10 reps with a band that offers the least assistance you should be able to do 3-5 unassisted. When this is possible you can progress to performing a set without assistance for as many reps as possible and then use the resistance band to give you enough assistance to perform additional pull ups and finish your set.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how to perform pull ups with resistance bands.
2. Negative Pull Ups
This is the best way to increase pull up strength if you train alone and don’t have access to resistance bands. You don’t need any extra equipment. This method involves performing the lowering or negative phase of the movement only for several repetitions. The key is to lower yourself to the ground as slowly as possible. While this is the least difficult part of the pull up to perform it will increase your pull strength quickly.
Start by standing on a chair or bench, grabbing onto the pull up bar and raising yourself to the top position of the pull up exercise. Your chest should be even with the bar. Then, lower yourself from the top position of the pull up to the bottom for 5 seconds. Increase the amount of time you take to lower yourself by 2 seconds every workout. Do this until it takes 15 seconds to perform 1 rep. Your goal is to be able to perform 10 pull ups this way.
Once you can perform 15 second negative pull ups for 10 reps you should be able to perform at least 2-3 sets of 3-5 pull ups. Make it your goal to add at least 1 more pull up to your workout every week. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 pull ups, you can begin to add weight or perform more difficult variations.
Here’s A Video That Demonstrates Negative Or Eccentric Pull Ups
Now you have 2 great ways to strengthen your back and biceps so you can quickly progress to doing unassisted pull ups for reps with great form. I recommend performing either or both of these exercises at least 2-3 times a week. Give yourself 1-2 days between workouts to allow your body to recover completely. This will allow you to become stronger, faster. Performing exercises like barbell, dumbbell, and inverted rows will increase the strength of your back and biceps and help you progress faster too.