The 4-week Path to Your 1st Pull up

1.You Don’t Got Pull-ups

Lets fix that. Having the ability to do a pull-up means this: your postural and pulling muscle strength (not endurance or muscle size) has developed to a point where you can effectively pull your body’s weight from an elbows-extended position(dead-hang) to a position where your chin is over a bar or set of rings (ring pull up).

Why you can’t do a pull up

Lets look at the statement I just made. There are 3 variables here.

  1. Postural Muscle
  2. Pulling Muscle
  3. Bodyweight

We want to strengthen the first two while either (a) reducing bodyweight or (b) maintaining or increasing the total lean body mass. (The part of you that is muscle and not fat, organs, bone, etc) *Most of us fall into the (a) category.

If you are unable to do a single pull-up, the 3 factors above are currently out of balance for a pull up to happen. Thankfully, getting you a pull up will not be rocket-science. Many people just lack consistency. And I can tell you from a long time of training people that consistency is key above all else. There are plenty of programs taht work, the problem is often times a lack of consistent execution.

Consistency is key, above all else

How you will get pull ups

We need to address those 3 factors with a balanced and relevant plan of action.

  1. Postural
    • Stop sitting so much. You would be surprised how much a rounded thoracic spine (slouching in a chair causes this among other things) has to do with the lack of pulling strength in a person. Get up as much as you can.
    • When you don’t have the option to get up, find ways to remind yourself to sit upright. I have adjusted the rearview mirror and AC vents in my car to only be beneficial if I am sitting upright. Otherwise, I can’t see behind me as well, and no cold air blows on me. You can also adjust your computer screen at work or look into a standing desk (which we will have a seminar on soon. check that our here  )
  2. Pulling
    • Start doing some pulling movements on a regular basis that DO NOT INVOLVE PULL UPS. Weird right? You would think that something like a pull up would help you do a pull up but, remember that postural muscle strength is part of this equation, since you don’t have a pull up yet, I’m going to wager (monopoly money) that you’re already internally rotated at the shoulder like most non pull-up-savvy people tend to be.  To kill two birds with one stone, we will work more external rotation movements and isometric holds. don’t worry, whether your posture sucks or is better than most, you will still get your pull ups so long as you stay consistent in your accessory work.
      • The Program.
        1. Perform this accessory work 2-3 x week (at least 1 day of rest between) taking 5 sets of 8 in each movement to build to the heaviest set of 8 for each day for week 1, sets of 7 for week 2, sets of 6 in week 3 and finally, 6 sets of 5 in week 4,
        2. Batwings * Hold the top for 2 seconds each rep

          Ring Rows *Work your way lower and lower under the rings until you reach parallel with the floor, then start raising your feet higher and higher on boxes or plates. * Hold the top for 2 seconds each rep.


          Ground Rope Pulls * Perform 5 sets of 6 reps pulling+lowering to finish the accessory work.

          Jumping Pull ups with Slow Negatives: Once you are able to hold the top of the pull up position (don’t lie, I know your still trying pull ups when I said not to)  * Jump to the top of the pull up position, hold for 2 seconds and lower yourself slowly (3-5 seconds) When you are able to do these, start doing them for 3-5 sets of 5 reps after your regular accessory work.

        3. Bodyweight.
          • This is fairly straightforward. If you know that excess bodyweight is keeping you from beating gravity, then address your food intake and clean up that diet a little…or a lot. Speak with your coach about help with your nutrition or a referral to someone who can help if you are having difficulty establishing a healthy relationship with food or, if you just aren’t sure where to start.
      • Thats it! Try it our for 4 weeks, and let us know your results in the comments section below or share this on Facebook with a friend who can benefit!



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