Improve Your Pull Up | 3 Easy Tips
5 steps to become a pull-up pro
Level one: Lateral pull-downs
If nose-ups or perhaps even hair-ups would be a more accurate description of your attempts to lug your head above the bar, lat pull-downs should be your training start point. They work the same muscles and use the same range of motion as pull-ups, explains Mendelson. Head to the lat pull-down machine, sit down, and grip the bar with shoulder-width palms facing away and your arms fully extended above your head. Do not lean back as you pull the bar to the top of your chest and hold it there for two seconds. Imagine you are holding a grape between your shoulder blades, advises Mendelson. Control the bar as it pulls itself back to the start position, aiming for a three second ascent with no pause at the top of the movement.
Moving on upOnce you can execute 6-8 reps using 80% of your body weight, move on to the next level.
Level two: Negative chin-ups
Chin-up still proving a bit of a misnomer? Concentrate solely on perfecting the lowering phase of the movement. Over time the building of lowering (eccentric) strength will improve your ability to lift yourself up without assistance, says Mendelson. Stand on a bench and place yourself at the top of the chin up movement with palms facing towards you shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself over six seconds until your arms are fully extended. Then step on to the bench. Raise yourself to the start position. And repeat.
See an example of this move on .
Moving on upAfter around four weeks you should be able to complete 6-8 reps with perfect form. Move to stage three.
Level three: Palms facing pull-ups
Most people will find their grip is strongest when their palms are facing each other. The majority of gyms should have apparatus to accommodate this ideally two bars 8-10 inches apart. Raise yourself up in an accelerative fashion and lower over a three second count with no pause at the bottom of the movement. It is okay to make use of momentum as long as you are maintaining full control with proper form, says Mendelson.
Moving on upStart with three reps and try to add one more each week. When you hit six, youre ready for stage four.
Level four: Chin-ups
You should be ready for the real thing by now. But lets mix it up by adding an extra ¼ rep. With palms facing towards you, shoulder-width apart, pull yourself up ¼ of the way, pause for one second to reminisce about when this was as far as you could get, then return to the bottom before performing a full rep as normal. This adds 25% more work to the weakest part of the range of motion where trainees usually fail, says Mendelson. Building up this weak link will have you chinning like a champ. Make sure youre pulling your chin above the bar, rather than just tilting your head back like a pez dispenser.
Moving on upStart with four reps and add one each week. When you can execute eight youre ready for level five.
Level five: Wide grip pull-ups
Youve earned the right to be a bit of a wide boy. With palms facing away from you grip the curvature of the bar so your thumbs are a couple of inches wider than shoulder width. The wide grip and change of hand position will make this movement much more challenging than the prior stages, but well worth it for great back strength and development, says Mendelson. Lower over a three-second count with a one-second pause when your arms are fully extended at the bottom of the movement. Raise as fast as you can and pause for one second on top. . Go for four reps and add one each week for a total of eight, says Mendelson. Now marvel at the huge trunks where your spider monkey arms used to be.
Video: Can't Do Pull Ups? Just Do THIS!
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