Perfecting the Pull-Up

Ever wonder how some people can perform hundreds and hundreds of pull-ups, but you can’t even do one? Or when you try, you have to either have a partner help you up or swing your way up? Well the secret behind perfecting the pull-up is simple: practice & training. As cliché as it may sound, practice makes perfect. This doesn’t necessarily mean to attempt 100 pull-ups and fail on all of them; but to modify the move and perform exercises that will gear you towards getting up that bar.

1)      Dead hangs deadhang

  1. Just hang. Literally. Just hang on the bar for intervals and this will get you comfortable dangling off the bar. Many people can’t even hold themselves up in this position; so by doing this, this will help with the activation of your core muscles, back, shoulders and especially the forearms.

wide pulldown2)      Lat-pull downs

  1. This exercise helps strengthen the latissimus dorsi (aka back muscles aka lats) which plays a big role with the movement of the pull-up. Beginners may want to start with this exercise to avoid injury when trying to perform pull-ups. Lat-pull downs and pull-ups have opposite movements; as the names states: pull-downs include pulling the weight down and pull-ups include pulling the weight up. This exercise will help with the concentric phase (going up) of the pull-up.

3)      Negative Pull upsneg pull up

  1. You may have or have not heard of this exercise before. It involves jumping on to the bar and slowly bringing your body back down. While the lat-pull downs help with the concentric phase, this exercise helps with the eccentric (going down) phase of the pull-up. The hard part may be getting yourself up, but to do a “perfect” pull-up, the lats must be activated throughout the entire exercise. It’s just not right to pull yourself up and to drop down right away with no control.
  2. Jump up with your chin above the bar and hold yourself up for as long as you can. Once your body has made its way down, repeat the same process.

4)      Assisted Pull-ups

Sometimes all you need is assistance! There are 3 ways for this exercise:

assisted pull up

  1. Machine assisted
  2. Bands assisted
  3. Partner assisted

The three are ranked from easiest to hardest (machine, bands, then partner). When performing these, the same muscles are being used and will gradually help you towards the perfect pull-up. Just don’t get too comfortable using assistance! You will eventually have to take that step forward and attempt to do them on your own.

These exercises will all help you towards the perfect pull-up. Don’t put yourself down if you can only do 1 or 2. All it takes is consistency and baby-steps. Again, practice makes perfect!


By Ryle Garcia


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