How To Do More Pull Ups For Beginners
Pull ups are a compound calisthenic exercise, and are in my opinion the single BEST free upper body strength training exercise that you can do.
A calisthenic exercise is one that’s designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no special apparatus.
A compound exercises are multi-joint movements that rely on more than one muscle group.
The simplicity and effectiveness of pull ups are why the are commonly used by both sports teams and the military.
Muscles Used During Pull Ups
- Latisssimi Dorsi
- Levator Scapulae
- Rhomboid Major
- Rhomboid Minor
- Extrenal Obliques
- Pectoralis Major
- Serratus Anterior
- Transversus Abdominis
- Rectus Abdominis
Pull ups can help you improve other lifts including shoulder presses and bench presses. Another thing about pull ups is that they can be REALLY freaking hard at first!
Does your pull up count got you down? Maybe you can “only” to one or two?
The first step is to set incremental goals – Sample goal “I want to be able to do 3 sets of 8 pull ups by 30 days from now”. Start slow and do MANY sets – For example, if you can do 2 reps, then do 10 sets of 2 reps. Then 11, then 12, etc.
Here are 7 free tips to increase your pull up count quickly and consistently.
- Don’t lock your elbows – Locking your elbows and/or starting with your arms in the locked position increases the amount of stress you place on your elbows. Instead, start and finish each rep just shy of locking.
- Do more chin ups – Chin ups are a great alternative for getting used to the feeling of pulling your body through space. They also rely more on your biceps, and are therefore typically easier than pull-ups.
- Do eccentric reps – Finish incomplete sets or your workout with negative (eccentric) reps. Perform negative reps by stepping off a box or a bench and starting at the top of your pull up. Hang on as long as possible (shoot for at least 5 seconds) while slowly lowering yourself. Try to keep your legs as straight as possible and don’t swing them.
- Self- Assisted Pull Ups – Do self assisted pull ups using a bench to rest the top of your feet on. This method reduces the overall weight that you have to lift by roughly 40% – 50%.
- Try inverted rows (aka Australian Pull Ups) –
- Do bent over rows – Bent over rows help to strengthen your latissmius dorsi, a muscle that is heavily used during pull ups
- Lean Out (lose body fat) – Every pound of weight you lose is less weight that you have to lift. Obviously it’s best to focus on maintaining your muscle mass, and focusing on reducing your body fat percentage.