How To Get Better At Pull Ups

The first time you try a pull up, if you can not do it, it feels like you never will be able to.

But this is not the case. Very few people are born to do pull ups, and there are plenty of tips and tricks you can try to get better.

This is definitely something you should try since pull ups can be a great exercise to fit into a workout routine.

And while it can feel hopeless when you are first trying, once you learn how to do one it can be a massive confidence boost!

So, if you want to know how to get better at doing pull ups, but you have no idea where you should start, keep reading to get all the information you need!

How To Do Pull Ups

The muscles that will be worked by doing a correct pull up will be your biceps brachii, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, brachialis, and teres major.

To do one all you need to do is hang yourself from either, a pull up bar, a sturdy tree, a monkey bar, or something with a similar amount of support, and do this with a double overhand grip.

Then you want to pull your body up, so your chin will be higher than where your hands are. Then you will lower yourself down until your arms are now fully extended, this is one whole rep.

It is worth distinguishing a pull up from a chin up. For a chin up you will have your hands supinated, meaning that the hands are using an underhand grip with your palms now facing you (if you need to improve your hand strength, check out our guide on hand grippers).

These work your biceps a bit more, however they tend to be a little easier. If you struggle with completing a pull up, try some of the next recommended exercises.

How To Get Better At Doing Pull Ups

If you try a few of these, they can help you improve in the areas that will make you better at doing pull ups. So, if you keep on struggling to do a complete pull up, these exercises will be able to help you improve!

Try Dead Hangs

If you are struggling to complete a single pull up, then just hanging from the structure can be a great way to start.

By doing this you will be training your support grip and this is the grip you will need to maintain if you want to stay in the same place, or move yourself when you are hanging.

To set up your bar, just use a chair or box and then grab the pull up bar using an overhand grip and let your arms and then legs hang straight.

Try to keep this up for 10 seconds with minimal swinging. However, once you can do 10, try 20, then keep moving up. 

Train Your Back Twice Every Week

One of the best things you can do when you are trying to improve your ability to do a pull up is commit yourself to improving.

While it may seem simple, it is a skill which you need to develop and like any skill, it requires practice.

If you are not enjoying just practising by doing dead hangs, then you can instead dedicate yourself to training your back muscles.

This will help you improve to your goal of increasing the amount of pull ups you can achieve.

Some exercises that will increase your back strength and endurance include; machine seated row, barbell and dumbbell row, machine lat pull down, back extension, and reverse machine fly.

Attempt Assisted Pull Ups

If you want a great place to start when it comes to learning pull ups, you could try one of the three different types of assisted pull ups.

One of these is using an assisted pull up machine which uses weight stacks to aid in pulling yourself up, these are great because you can adjust and customize them to make it as easy as you want and then get harder.

There is then the banded pull up which uses a looped resistance band over the pull up bar, and then you instead step onto the band and use this to pull yourself up.

Make sure when doing this you follow a guide for the setup to ensure that you have a secure anchor for yourself.

The final method is getting a friend or trainer to help you pull up using their hands.

How To Get Better At Pull Ups (1)

They will hold your ankles and help push you up when you need the help. If you try just one, or all of these exercises, you can make standard push ups a lot more achievable.

Row Your Bodyweight

As well as the standard weighted exercises, you will also need to know how to move your bodyweight to get better at doing pull ups.

One of the best ways to do this is through doing inverted rows with a barbell, or suspension trainer rows.

These will tighten your core as well as straighten your legs. If you do this with your bodyweight, you will be testing yourself in a very similar way to how you would when doing a pull up, in a much more achievable way.

Improve Grip Strength

An aspect of pull ups that is often overlooked, but seems obvious when it is pointed out is the importance of grip strength.

Luckily there are plenty of activities and exercises you can do that are simple which can improve your grip strength.

Some common exercises that improve your grip strength include barbell deadlifts, farmers walks, or bodyweight rows, however, there are plenty of different exercises that you can try out to improve this.

Summary – Keep Trying

Hopefully this has given you some guidance on how you can improve your ability to do a pull up.

While all of this advice is relevant, the most important step to follow is to not give up and to keep trying. Most people who can do pull ups previously could not, so make sure to aim for that point!

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