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The road to your first pull up

Benefits of personal training for pain relief

May 26, 2022

The road to your first pull up


Have you dreamed of achieving your first pull up? 


For most, and maybe you, that’s all it’s ever been


After helping 100s of people achieve their first pull up, I can tell you there is definitely a better way to achieve it


And it doesn’t involve bands, at least not in the traditional wrapped around the bar way 


It also doesn’t have to include a ‘kip’, in fact I’d suggest you achieve a strict pull up before throwing in an explosive movement to get you up


Which makes sense, throwing yourself into a movement you can’t achieve with control just sounds like a bad idea


So, if you aren’t using bands, and you aren’t swinging yourself into a pull up, where do you start? 


Leg assisted


Setting the bar at a height your can get your chin over without creaking your neck while also being able to hang from the bar without your knees touching the floor


Start the movement at the top of the bar, so you focus on creating tension from the top to the bottom of the movement


It’s much easier to start with tension than it is to try and create it mid way through the movement 


A good cue is “elbows forward” which will engage the lats more and create a more stable shoulder position 


If you need a rest during this movement do it at the top of the movement, release the bar, shake the arms out and go again 


The benefit of this set up it: 


  • It mimics a pull up movement
  • You can focus on the eccentric (downward portion) without absolutely destroying yourself
  • It’s infinitely scalable, because you decide how much assistance you give yourself by using your legs


There is a downside, of course, you won’t use as much core as you’d need in a full pull up


You can counteract this by practising a hollow hold position in between sets


A good beginning protocol to achieve your first pull up: 

1st week: 3 x 5 

2nd week: 3 x 6

3rd week: 4 x 5

4th week: 4 x 6 

Increase the volume each week while keeping the same tempo will overload the muscles and ensure progress until you’re able to hit a pull up without assistance

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