My Top Exercises & Tips To Increase Your Pull Up Game

My Top Exercises & Tips To Increase Your Pull Up Game

The mistake I commonly see with pull ups, is that a lot of people have never done any back specific weight training, so when attempting your first pull up- it is unachievable as you are simply not strong enough and the muscles being recruited haven’t performed this movement before, which then in turn causes that mental stigma that you cannot perform a pull up.

The key to this, is the reframe that you simply cannot perform a pull up, yet.
Remembering, like everything- what you focus on you will get better at. I love to break my training into blocks- 12 weeks where I focus on something I wish to improve. If this is pull ups, everything that you will do training wise for this 12 weeks, will be focused to achieve this goal.

When first starting out with pull ups, I highly suggest attempting as many reps as you can before doing any other exercise when you start your workout- even if you’re training legs or perhaps doing cardio. Yes, even if you cannot perform one rep- the idea is to get into the habit of the movement. Start by using a box, jumping up, and focusing on the negative of the exercise (the way down) do as many as you can until you are fatigued. This will only take 5 minutes of your session, but you will see HUGE progress.

If you are new to pull ups, see my blog pull ups for beginners for more basics of the movement.

If you are wanting to increase your strength overall, achieve more pull ups- then you need to get your hands on my lifting grips, as these will change the game entirely. When we don’t have the grip to hold onto the bar, this can often be the first issue for achieving a pull up-not even our lack of strength! These are not only amazing for pull ups, but also for deadlifts, rows, overhead press, bicep curls- pretty much every single weighted exercise.

Along with the above, Here are some of my favourite exercises and tips that will help assist you I achieving more pull ups.

1. PULL EXERCISES (you may have heard some strength coaches refer to their program as push/pull or legs) most exercises can be categorized into push or pull. Pull movements generally target your back.
Example- Bent over rows, Lat pull down. Push- overhead press (shoulders!)

2. Bent Over Rows (either dumbbell or barbell, however for the benefit of this article, let’s say this is dumbbell)
Really focus on extension with your arm straight, then pull the elbow drawing towards your stomach, squeezing before slowly bringing it back down.

3. Cable Row
I love these for strengthening your back- focus on bringing the bar to your belly button and squeezing before extending back fully.

4. Inverted Bodyweight Rows
This one is a great beginner movement to target the muscles you recruit when performing a pull up. The lower the bar, the harder it is, so as you progress, place your feet out lower and bring the bar to a lower point to increase the difficulty.

5. Rep Ranges
Ideally to see the best progression, we would love to see a variety of rep ranges being used. We can switch between 3 x 8 reps, 5 x 4 reps and 3 x 20 reps. This will see the most increase in strength when we change up the rep ranges- sticking to the same movements.

6. Lat Pull Down
Seems obvious, however the lat pull down is the closest exercise to the pull up. You can change this up with wide grip, close grip, underhand or switching the rep ranges.

7. Assisted (banded pull ups)
Allowing your body to fully feel and recruit the muscles will allow it to become more and more familiar with achieving a pull up. Start with a heavier band (remembering that whatever the weight is, will come off your bodyweight, so if you weigh 80kilos and your band is 10kgs, you are still lifting 70kgs. Slowly reduce the band’s weight that you are using.

Be careful to not becoming reliant on using a band- so remember to keep trying without the assistance.

8. Negative focused pull ups
The negative is the downward movement. Use a chair to jump up, focusing on lowering yourself down really slowly. This will assist in your pull up game immensely.

9. Mindset
I swear this is not woo-woo. Believe you can. Start imagining you getting 5 reps. Focus on being able to do 5 reps. You have got this gurl.
So you have performed 1 pull up now what? Follow the below guide to increase the amount of reps you are performing, until you are repping out like a boss.
If you able to perform 1 pull up, prior to any other training sessions, follow this

Week 1
1 full pull up.
10 Negative Focus Pull Ups
10 Banded Pull Ups
Week 2
2 full pull ups
10 Negative Focus Pull Ups
10 Banded Pull Ups
Week 3
1 full pull up- weighted (light weight)
10 Negative Focus Pull Ups
Week 4
5 Full pull ups

Don’t forget, grip is everything, if you are struggling to hang onto the bar or feel like
you are slipping- then the lifting grips are for you!
Oh, and if you are already apart of the lifting grip cult- tell me your experience! I love them so much, I convert everyone!!!

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