From the days of gym class to your first workout at a gym, the pull-up has been a nemesis for many of us. They are tough to do but feel so good when we pull our chins over the bar. The accomplishment felt from doing pull-ups is like no other.
I have met more people who want to do just a pull-up or be able to do more pull-ups, than any other #exercise. Unfortunately, I think people usually go about it the wrong way.
When people are looking to improve their pull-ups, they usually think about accumulating more reps. I also see too many people using bands as assistance. I am OK with this for a few workouts but I have news for you: it’s probably not going to make you stronger but it will help you with the proper form. So in the beginning, the band is useful but should be quickly put to the side once you get your form down.
Here is a list of common mistakes when trying to improve the pull-up:
Your #elbows and shoulders will get banged up from all of the reps, especially if you are kipping or using a band. Less is more for the pull-up.
You will start to cheat on a range of motion or start to flop around and kip to get your chin above the bar.
You won’t get stronger by just focusing on getting more reps.
Bands are like training wheels. They will help you get the hang of it and build up your #confidence but at some point, you just have to get the courage to do the real thing.
I like the following method instead. Perform this workout two to three days per week. You can use a bench if you need to jump up to the top portion of the rep.
Start with five sets of one rep. Rest as much as you need to in between sets.
Add one rep to each set on each successive workout until you reach five sets of five reps.
OTHER EXERCISE CONSIDERATIONS
Trying to improve your pull-up using just this method will help but if you want to further enhance your potential to improve your pull-ups. I also suggest incorporating the following exercises somewhere in your program.
I would actually perform these exact exercises on your pull-up workout days and do nothing else and save your squats and pressing movements for another day.
FARMER’S CARRY: Three sets for 40-40 meters with heavyweight
AB WHEEL ROLLOUTS OR HANGING LEG RAISES: (If your grip is still working) – Three sets of 10 reps
ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROWS: Three sets of 10-15 reps
These three exercises will help with your grip, upper back, lat, and abdominal strength. Combining these exercises with the pull–up program is sure to produce some results.
Jump or pull yourself until your chin is above the bar and hold at the tip for 10 seconds. Lower yourself slowly until you are at a dead hang on the bar. Hold for 10 seconds.
If you are only doing one rep, simply come off the bar and rest. If you are doing more than one rep, either pull yourself back up to the top (if you can), or jump back up.
Performing pull-ups this way will help many of the limiting factors of the pull-up, most notably your grip strength, bottom range of motion strength, and to a range of motion strength.
Most people don’t go all the way up or down, so you need to work on those portions of the reps. Most of us tend to have weak grip strength, so let’s work on that. As you improve your pull-up, this method is sure to strengthen your entire upper body.