5 Beginner Exercises to Master the Pull Up.

4 min read

5 Beginner Exercises to Master the Pull Up.

Do you want to build your upper body strength? Then keep reading..  

Pull ups can be an excellent way to build upper body strength and work your core at the same time. However it takes time to build the strength to pull yourself up and rep out a number of Pull Ups at a time.

But not to worry, by doing these 5 exercises that I'm about to share with you, in a matter of no time you will be able to do full Pull Ups for yourself.

Sounds good to you?

Ok, firstly there are 2 types of Pull Ups that people commonly refer to: 

Wide Grip Pull Ups: Hang on a bar with an overhand grip (your palms facing away from you). Your hands should be placed on the bar more than shoulder width apart. Pull until the bar reaches chin level and then pause. Control your bodyweight back down to a hang. Repeat.

Chin Ups: It is almost the same as the wide grip pull ups with just a different grip. Your palms will be facing YOU. Same movement involved.

Both wide-grip and close-grip Pull Ups work the major muscles of the upper back, specifically, the Latissimus Dorsi, also known as the ‘Lats’, which run from the side of the torso at the shoulder down to the spine.

The wider your hand position, the greater the emphasis on your upper and mid back and also target the rear deltoid. Conversely, the narrower your arms are, the more you target the outer back and lower lats.

Here are the following exercises to master the pull ups:

1. Dead Hangs: Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you. Hang on the bar on the bottom movement of the pull up. Hold as long as possible until you need to drop. Repeat. 

*As shown in the image.
Dead Hang

2. Scapula activation hold
: Begin by hanging on the bar in the dead hang position, as shown in the previous exercise. With slightly shrugged shoulders, you want to draw the scapula down and together, thus raising your body slightly but without bending your arms and pulling as in a regular pull-up. Do this, and you’ll feel your head shift backward and your chest raise upward, as your scapular pinches together. Do a total of 12 to 15 repetitions.

*As shown in the image.
Scapula activation

3. Body weight rows: Body weight rows are a perfect substitute for standard pull-ups. It is very similar as it works the same muscles.
Move your body underneath a waist height bar. Firmly grip the edge with both hands and make sure you keep your body straight and your legs on the ground. Slowly pull your body towards the bar. Hold for 2 seconds at the top and count till 5 while lowering your body down. Do a total of 12 to 15 repetitions.

*As shown in the image.
Bodyweight Row

4. Assisted Pull Ups:Securely set the pin on the desired weight. I recommend beginning with a heavier weight to counter-balance your own weight. Tightly hold onto the handles as you prepare to hold yourself up (with the assistance of the counterweight). Keep your abs engaged, spine neutral, and shoulders pressed down and back. Pull yourself up as far as possible. Slowly release down until your arms are extended. You can use the 2 different grip variations within one workout. Do a total of 12-15 repetitions.

*As shown in the image. 
Assisted Pull Ups

5. Negative Pull Ups: Grip the bar and get into the top most position of a Pull Up (you might need a crate or bench to get in position). Slowly lower yourself down, taking as much time as possible into the dead hang position, I recommend slowly counting to 5 as you perform this movement. Do a total of 12- 15 repetitions.

*As shown in the image

Okay there you have it, 5 exercises to help master the Pull Up. I would recommend doing the first 4 exercises 3x per week. Once the exercises become less difficult, then you can give the last exercise a try.

But first, read on to find out how to do a Pull Up..  

How To Do A Pull Up:

Grip the Pull Up bar with your palms facing which ever direction you prefer. If you have your palms facing towards you, you give your biceps and lats a better workout. Pulling yourself up with an overhand grip (palms facing away) is considered the most difficult way to pull up your body weight but also gives upper and mid back, along with the rear delts a good workout.

-Start with your arms fully extended- in the dead hang position.
-Contract your scapular (as shown in the scapular activation hold).
-Pull your body weight up until your chin is as close to the bar as possible
and pause.
-Lower yourself until your arms are fully extended. (Lower yourself in a slow controlled manner to work the muscles harder and prep yourself for the next pull).

And.. that's how you perform a Pull Up!

In conclusion, these 5 Pull Up exercises are extremely important when learning to perform a Pull Up. Whether you are a beginner and not able to perform a single rep to someone who is able to perform a Pull Up but may not have correct form and or can’t do more than 5 reps, this is a great starting point.

Follow these 5 exercises and practice on a regular basis and don’t give up. Be consistent and in a matter of no time you will be able to pump out a set of 10 repetitions at a time. Goodluck Freak Athletes!


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