We get it, pull-ups are tough. In fact, this staple exercise can even be challenging for the most seasoned athletes. So even if you can’t perform a full rep yet, and it’s on your #bucketlist for 2020, don’t fret. We’re here to help you go from doing zero to performing full sets and even ones with weights (look at you go!).
Let's get started by taking baby steps (four, to be exact) and focus on easing you into the lift. Keep scrolling for the full breakdown. Note: We will be focusing on a medium grip pull-up.
1. If you have a membership, many gyms have an assisted pull-up machine, so we recommend starting here. With it, you're able to program it to off-set part of your own bodyweight so you can perform your repetitions with more and more of your own bodyweight until they are unassisted.
2. Another great option is to purchase exercise bands. These are inexpensive, portable and available in varying strengths to provide the assistance you need. Simply attach the band to the bar you are using overhead and then place your foot or knee in the bottom of the band hanging below. From here, you can begin your pull-ups.
3. Negative pull-ups are also a smart choice that don't require extra equipment. To do these, stand under your bar, jump up and grab the handles and pull yourself up using momentum. Here, you will be at the top portion of your pull-up position. Next, slowly lower yourself until your arms are fully extended. (Pro tip: It's very important to do this eccentric portion slowly.) Finally, return to the ground and repeat.
4. This fourth option is only possible if you have a training partner or friend available to help. To begin, place your hands on the bar. From here, bend at your knees and have your partner grab your feet or legs. As you breathe out and pull yourself up towards the bar, your partner can help you lift and offset your body weight.
Feeling confident enough to perform a pull-up without help? Let’s put your abilities to the test! For this, the only piece of equipment you’ll need is a bar.
Start with your hands on the bar approximately shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forward. With arms extended above you, stick your chest out and curve your back slightly. This is your starting position. Pull yourself up towards the bar using your back until the bar is at chest level while breathing out. Slowly lower yourself to your starting position while breathing in. This is one rep.