How To Perform Your First Pull-Up

Dec 03, 2010

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises that you can do, but so many people don’t do them because they can’t do them.

Nevertheless, here’s a strategy that will help you do that first, key pull up. And once you can do one pull up you’ll be amazed at the progress that you will make…

If you can’t do one pull up, there are two very effective variations that should be used one after the other; the flexed arm hang (you may remember doing this in gym class) and the eccentric pull-up.

Start with the flexed arm hang. Boost yourself up – either have a friend spot you or step up on a bench – so that your chin is above the bar.  Once in this position, keep your chest up and tighten your lats before you take your feet off the bench. The idea here is to hold yourself in this “chin over the bar” position for as long as possible.  At first shoot for a 15 second hold and take a 2-minute rest before your next hold.  Four sets of holds is a good place to start before you move on to the eccentric pull up.

When you are hanging, bend your knees so that your feet are behind you and your torso and thighs form a straight line.  Don’t lift your knees up in front as this will develop a bad habit that will effect your progress.  Work to minimize or eliminate the body from swinging as this wastes.

Eccentric pull-ups will help develop the strength necessary to perform pull-ups.  Get into the “chin over the bar” position but instead of staying in the flexed arm position, you will lower yourself down to the “dead hang” position.  Try to lower your body on a 5-count and don’t just drop and flop.  There will be a point just before the dead hang position where there’s the urge to relax, but continue to exert control.

Use the same initial position and form doing the eccentric pull up that’s used in the flexed arm hang.  Lock in with your lats, bend your knees and keep your feet behind you.  Maintain control as you start your decent and keep your lats tight.  If you have a spotter they can help steady you before the drop.

The goal should be to do four single 5-count negative pull-ups with 2-minutes rest in between each.  As you progress – and as your confidence grows – add reps to the routine.

There’s no hard and fast rule as to when you’ll be able to crank out your first pull-up, but keep at it and you will do it.

Be patient and make use of this approach and you will be able to do pull-ups, and improve your level of physical fitness and health – before you know it.

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