There’s no denying that the humble pull-up exercise is one of the best forms of exercise available for strengthening a variety of upper body muscles and also boosting your overall strength. However, these exercises can often be quite troublesome for beginners, so it may require a few easier variations to perfect, and some people may even need to begin with different exercises entirely to strengthen the necessary muscles required for a successful pull-up.
But no matter where you are starting from, it’s always possible to boost your strength to such a degree that you are capable of performing several pull-ups, and in this guide, you’re going to discover how.
First of all, one of the best movements to practice before you attempt an actual pull-up is the simple bent-over row, which is an easy dumbbell movement that will begin to strengthen your lats, so you have the necessary strength to raise your body weight.
Now, if you are particularly overweight, it may take many months or even years to get to the point where you can pull yourself up and suspend your entire body weight using your body strength, but beginning with the bent-over row is possible at any body weight, and it will quickly start to strengthen those all-important lat muscles.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to incorporate some degree of bicep training into your work program, and there are a variety of different bicep curls available that will help to increase the strength and endurance of your biceps, which will go a long way towards strengthening you for pull-ups later on down the line.
Another excellent move to prepare you for a standard pull-up is to improve your horizontal pulling skills, and this can be achieved by exercises like ring rows, or perhaps even using a rowing machine to get used to this horizontal pulling action that’s crucial for strengthening your lats.
Once you have the basic strength required to perform the compound pull-up movement itself, it’s wise to begin using a fewer easier variations of the pull-up until you have enough strength to perform it all by yourself.
Many people will use a tough resistance band to lighten their body weight when they’re pulling themselves up to the bar, and a quality resistance band can lighten you by anything between 50 lb and 100 lb, which is often enough to allow somebody to perform their first assisted pull-up.
Alternatively, you could use an assisted pull-up machine, which is certainly much easier and safer than using a resistance band by itself, so it is often the recommended route for most people. You will find this kind of pull-up machines in larger gyms, and they also particularly popular in CrossFit gyms, too.
When you finally have enough strength to perform conventional pull-ups, you may benefit greatly from a technique known as “kipping,” which means performing the pull-up without using perfect form, but nonetheless raising your body weight off the floor and using momentum to help you perform the movement. Of course, it shouldn’t take too long for your strength to reach the point where you can fully suspend your body weight while raising and lowering yourself to the bar.
If you have finally got to the point where you can perform a full body weight pull-up, then congratulations are in order, as you have passed a significant milestone that few regular people can claim to match. However, once you can perform a basic pull-up, your task will then be to progress into the more complex variations such as wide pull-ups which put more load on the lats rather than the bicep. Eventually, you will also be able to do several pull-ups in a row, until you can perform anywhere up to 50 or even 100 within a designated workout.
There’s no denying that doing this can be a very satisfying achievement, and learning the pull-up exercise as a beginner will be a tremendous way to give you a thorough upper body workout that stimulates many key muscles that you’ll need for any sport or fitness activity you’re interested in.
Now that you have finished reading this guide, you should have a better idea about how you can progress from raw beginner to performing full body weight pull-ups in no time at all.