Building Up to Your First Pull Up
Pull ups are probably the single best thing you can do to get stronger and build muscle, especially in your upper body. The problem is that a lot of people can’t do them - not even a single one. But that doesn’t mean that this great exercise is out of your league. In this article, we’ll uncover a fantastic progression that will allow anyone - man, woman or child - to work up to their first perfect pull up.
Exercises to Graduate Towards Pull Ups
Dumbbell holds will help you to develop grip strength, which is often a limiting factor in the pull up. Simply grab hold of pair of heavy dumbbells (a little heavier than you would use for the dumbbell bench press) and hold them at your sides for 30 seconds. Do 3 sets of 30 second holds.
Hang from a pull up bar with your hands hanging straight down and your feet together and just a few inches off the ground. Hold for ten seconds, and then slowly work up to 30 second holds. As you hang focus on internally rotating your shoulders.
Kettlebell Bottom Up Press
Hold a kettlebell upside down by the handle in one hand with a bent elbow and at shoulder level. Now press the bell directy up overhead. Do 15 reps on each arm for 3 sets.
Lie underneath power rack with a barbell loaded racked at arms length. Reach up and grab a hold of the bar at shoulder width distance. Keeping your legs straight as you pull your body up to the bar. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and your elbows in close as you smoothly go up and down. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
2 Ways to Your First Unassisted Pull Up
(4) Single Leg Assisted Pull Ups
Once you can comfortably perform 3 sets of 8 reps with both feet in the resistance band, then start doing pull ups with just one foot in the band. This will mean that you are taking more of the load of your own bodyweight. Again, you should work up to doing 3 sets of 8 reps on this exercise.
(5) Partner Assisted Pull Ups
Remove the band completely but have a training partner ready to assist you to perform your pull ups. Your partner should place a hand on your hip and another under your shins to help you on the way up.
(6) Unassisted Pull Up
Perform the pull up without the assistance of bands or a partner. Once you can do 3 reps, begin to practice with an overhand grip (palms facing away).