Friday, 27 June 2014

How to do your first Pull ups and then the next 19!

Pull ups for some people are just a dream. This is a guide on how to turn that dream into a reality!

One thing you have to know is that in order to obtain any goal, you have to make it your priority if you want success in an efficient time. That mean's the goal of being able to do your first pull up and many more needs to be at the forefront of your training. Not one of 30 other goals "yeah i'd like to do a pull up, human flag, deadlift 3x my body weight, do the splits, a back flip, beat Usain Bolt in a race...." Fewer goals equals more success!

Public service Announcement:

  1. Pull ups and Chin ups aren't the same exercise!
    - Pull ups involve having an overhand grip(ie palms facing away)
    - Chin up involve having an underhand grip(ie palms facing you) 
  2. Kipping Pull ups only count in CrossFit
    - swinging and increasing momentum aren't the goals of conventional pull ups.
    - Unless your goal is to compete at crossfit, learn how to do conventional pull ups.
  3. Do not cross your feet!
    It is a lazy habit people get into when doing bodyweight moves. People usually cross the same foot as well. This can potentially cause a muscle imbalance. Either just let your legs hand or bend them. Both legs will be strong enough to hang without needing support. Plus it will make it easier if you try to progress to muscle ups without this imbalance crossing of legs.

    The Pull Up Guide
Firstly, if you can not do a single pull up, you need address the reason for that.

Namely two reasons:

1. "You probably could do a pull up if you weighed less"
You might be overweight for your current strength, meaning you are unable to manage your own bodyweight= You have two decisions lose some weight or gain more strength in muscles that will help you hit your pull up goals ie back and arms. You will need to look at your diet and your cardio regime. See my other posts on weight loss

2. "You can't do a pull up because you just aren't strong enough YET!"
You could be average/underweight for your body. This guide will help you build the strength you need to hit those pull up goals

Here is the Workout:
I don't suggest using the assisted pull up machine or bands. Both give you an unnatural body position. But more importantly, most people choose a weight that is too easy or a band that is too strong.

This is a 3 day a week plan; the first day is a back workout. The other two days are workouts to do at the beginning of your other sessions. Therefore, they are shorter but you still need train with intensity and focus.

Follow this guide; after two weeks; each session stretch and try to attempt your first pull ups. Each week that attempt will get closer; as your new strength is developing.

Day 1: 

Use Machines to gain strength
  • Do as heavy as possible can on the Lat Pull down. Your body position is as shown in the picture below; a slight arch in your back = which means raising your chest slightly. Then you are going to pull to chin height( not to your nipples as i see some people doing)

    Sets: 1x15(warm up), 
  • 2x8,
    3x2 (As close to your actual body weight as possible)
    5x5, 4x8,1x12 on the lat pull down machine. 

  • 4x8 Cable rows/Barbell Rows
  • 4x8 barbell curls, 3x6/6 dumbell curls, 3x12 cable rope curls.
  • 2x5 Lat Pull down
Day 2
  • Lat Pull down Machine: 1x12, 1x8, 3x5(1min rest)
Day 3
  • Lat Pull down Machine: 1x10, 2x8, 3x4, 1x10 (1min rest)
Remember, as these sets become easier you need to increase the weight. You goal is to eventually be pulling your own bodyweight or more on the lat pull down machine!

You have done your first few pull ups; how to do lots more

Once you have reached 3-5 consistent pull ups. You can start doing pull ups to begin each session. Each session warm up and then attempt this workout"

4x (1-2 below your max amount of pull ups; ie if you can do 5 do 4x3sets)

Therefore, day 2/3 will now be

4x(max -1/2)
3x5, 2x8, 1x12: lat pull down machine

The Lat Pull down workout, plus the pull ups each session will help you gain the strength to do more pull ups than you imagined. Once you have that strength, just as you have been increasing your Lat Pull down strength you need to start increase your pull up resistance. That means adding a little weight to your pull ups.

Add weights to take your pull ups to the next level
I have a another guide on how you can reach 20+ pull ups but this guide is still helpful for beginners; whom are becoming advanced...

Once you can do 10-15 pull ups, use/buy a dips belt.

  • Put 5kg do as many reps as you to once again find out your max reps. 
  • Then 3x(2-3 max reps). 
  • Put 10kg on the belt and do 5x(5-10)

Max Month Test
End of each month attempt a new max when you are fresh. 

Advice Point: At first doing pull ups to begin each session will make you tired but pretty soon your body will get used to it. However, i would suggest a 5 minutes rest before you begin your actual session. Plus if you are doing any overhead lifts that are heavy i would only do the pull ups at the end as you may not have the energy to complete the session at first.

Here is the video version of this guide

Check out my other posts for more tips, workouts and motivation.

Good luck and comment below how you get on with this Tip...
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I always say the Three Cs of life are choice, chance and change; YOU have to make the choice to take the chance, if you want anything to change.

Antoine Allen

Think it, believe it and you will achieve it
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