How to Master the Pull-Up

How to Master the Pull-UpWe all have run into an exercise that just seems impossible at one time or another.  One exercise, the pull-up, is a major culprit of this.  One of the hardest exercises to do, correctly and safely, is hands down the pull-up and for good reasons.  The pull-up requires complete strength in the arms, shoulders, and back and it requires time and dedication to master.  Where do you begin if you are not quite able to complete a full, correct pull-up?  Listed below are some tips and ways to help you conquer and master the pull-up.

Tips to Help You Master the Pull-Up

Take is Slow.  We had to learn to walk before we could run, so why should it be expected that you can do 10 pull-ups when you have not done any or many before?  This is where you will need to be patient.  Take your journey in mastering the pull-up very slowly, meaning learn to practice one, two, three and so on until you are a pro.  In order to progress, you need to be able to conquer your form and the reps with which you are starting.

Develop Strength.  The next critical part of mastering the pull-up is to be strong enough to do a pull-up.  You can do this in various ways, but the first is to do exercises that mimic the pull-up.  A Smith machine or similar piece of equipment works well with this.  Lower it near the floor and start by lying on the floor.  Grab the bar above you and pull yourself towards the bar.  This is a great start.  Start with three sets if as many as you can and progress by changing the angle at which you perform your pull-ups.  If you do not have a Smith machine, you can perform Lat pulldowns or similar exercises that mimic the motion.

Learn Partials.  A partial is a type of exercise generally seen at the end of an exercise to get a little more out of your muscles.  Rather than doing your partials at the end of your exercise, to learn the pull-up, you will do your partials at the beginning.  Make sure to start out with proper, impeccable form and only go up about 30-40 percent of the entire lift.  Avoid using any momentum when doing your partials and do three sets of about 8-10.  Progress by raising your body up slightly more than 30-40 percent, but do so once every week or two.

Change the Grip.  You are likely aware that doing a pull-up is easier when the palms face each other or when they are aimed at your face.  This is true because you have additional muscles assisting in the lift.  In order to master the pull-up, you should start with this grip to get used to the motion and to train all the muscles used in the lift.  Start with three sets of as many as you can and progress slowly by adding one rep into the mix each week.  Once you can reach three sets of 10, progress the exercise by facing the palms away from the body for the legit pull-up.

Mastering the Challenge

The pull-up is one of the best exercises to develop arm strength and to burn calories.  Mastering the exercise is tough work, but it will be rewarding when you can do more than your athletic friends.  Take the time to really learn good form in the pull-up and watch how the rewards begin to show.  If you need some help with your form, talk with a personal trainer to help assist in your technique.  In addition, there are many assistive devices to help assist you in mastering the pull-up, so your trainer should be able to help you with this.  If you are a visual type of learner, consider these videos to help assist you in your endeavor into becoming a pull-up guru.

Take these next few months to focus on the pull-up in your workout.  Starting out should be hard for you, but it will not take much time to find a pull-up bar, assistance, and directions (such as those above) to help you find your groove.







About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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