So you want to do a pull up?
A goal for a lot of my clients is to do a pull up. (Sometimes it’s a goal set by me hehehe)
A lot of people think of it as a lofty goal that is far out of the realm of possibility. They have flashbacks of smelly elementary school gymnasiums and then proceed to look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy, but doing a pull up is a reasonable goal for any gender or weight class. First thing you need is patience, that kinda strength is not built overnight, second thing you’ll need is an action plan. Lucky for you, I will supply an action plan!
Plan: Lose weight and build sexy muscles that pull things
One thing to understand about doing a pull up is that there is a lot of muscle recruitment involved. Like most challenging movements, it is important to understand is that a lot of strength starts in the hands. In a lot of weight lifting exercises you are told to squeeze the bar so you see the whites of your knuckles. The goal is to have the little muscles in your hand, recruit the bigger muscles in your forearm, and followed by the bigger muscles in your biceps and so on until those massive core muscles.
So step one in doing a pull up- Hanging from the bar.
I like to switch from active to passive hangs:
Regression- Just hang
Progression- Keep those arms straight and try to bring your chest parallel to the ground.
Step 2- is building those sexy back muscles that pull things and why not use the best back exercise ever to do it?
That would be bent over supine rows. Starting out with a weight that is easy to control, we want to maintain our posture throughout the entire movement. Bringing our elbows back until their even with our back and pausing there for a one count.
Another awesome back exercise and great for Lat activation is the single arm dumbbell row- it is also very helpful in identifying asymmetries.
For this exercise I had to slightly modify the position because I am short-
Lastly Farmers walks- these may seem a little weird for a pull up article because there is no pulling involved but there are a few big selling points to this exercise.
1) It blasts your forearms, grip strength is crucial for an awesome pull up
2) Maintaining decent posture with weight in your hand involves a good amount of lat activation. Building strong lat muscles is necessary to get your chin over the bar
3) Farmers walks are a clutch fat loss workout and the less you weigh the easier it is to pull yourself up!
So pick up something heavy and start walking!
Try Programing it like this:
Warm up: Active to Passive hangs- 3x10
Bent Over Row- 4x8
Single Arm Dumbbell Row- 3x10
Farmers Walks- 3x 2-minutes
Lastly: Attempt a Pull Up- or execute a negative pull up.
To do a negative pull up- Start at the top of the pull up position and slowly lower to hanging. The slower you can do it the better. Start with 3 seconds (from top position to hanging) and progress to 8 seconds.