Master the Pull up – learn how to do pull ups effectively

Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done

Pull ups are my favorite exercise of all time. Here’s how you learn pull ups effectively.

They work all of the “pull” muscles in your body – your back, biceps, forearms.

They are indicative of your level of fitness – anybody that can do a pull up is in pretty good shape.

Anybody that can do 10 or more is clearly in great shape.

And damn it, pull ups make you feel like a badass after doing them.

However, pull ups are also hard as hell, especially if you’re just getting started.Unlike other exercises that can be completed with just your body weight (like squats, lunges, and push ups), pull ups and other exercises that strengthen your pull muscles require at least one piece of equipment!  On top of all of that, if you can’t do one yet, how the heck are you supposed to work on them to get better?

Whether you’re 300 pounds overweight and can’t even look at a pull up bar without freaking out, or you’re half an inch away from finally being able to do your first pull up, this article is for you…


Pull ups are quite the intimidating exercise, but like the great Bruce Lee has taught us, we can make small changes and improvements over time that will result in the ultimate goal:

One. Freaking. Pull Up.


Here are a few tips and progression drills to put you on track to dish out a pull up!

Points of performance:

  • Begin from a dead hang position i.e. arms fully extended, shoulder width apart
  • Pull up towards the bar by bending at the arms and clear it with your chin.
  • Return to the fully extended position before attempting your next rep


  • Dead hang – Hang from the bar, arms fully extended without losing form. Begin with about 10 seconds and progress to 30 seconds and beyond.
  • Flexed arm hang- Hang with your arms flexed and chin preferably over the bar. Aim at going for about 10 seconds and progressively increase your hang time.
  • Negative pull ups- Get into the top most position of the pull up position, with your arms flexed and chin over the bar. You could either jump into this position or use a small box to assist you. Now slowly lower yourself down, take your time in coming down to the dead hang position. Get back and repeat. 10 reps to begin with.
  • Ring rows- Body rows with the roman rings, lower the rings the better the functionality. Start with 10 reps.


Using these resistance bands add a layer of progressive support to achieve your set of pull ups. Try them.


Preferred volume-

Start with a 10 second hold for the dead hangs and flexed hang, eventually progress to max effort (as long as you can hold).

Suggested reps for negative pull ups and ring rows would be 10*4.

Try attempting a strict pull up after every progression. That’s an effective learning curve.



Get it done

My work here is done – it’s now up to you to take care of business.

If you are interested in learning more about pull-ups, body weight workout routines, and getting started with strength training, I applaud you – this is the BEST decision you make in your life. If you want more specific instruction Leave a comment or get in touch

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