How to master pull-ups?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s easy to make progress in unbroken pull-ups sets, however, before going from 3 to 10 reps in a row, you should get the first one and this is the toughest part. 

This movement is demanding on your back, arms and shoulders. Not only should you be strong, but you also need to hold the whole body in a nice tight position.

Are pull-ups worth it? Definitely yes! 

This simple functional movement is perfect for getting upper-back strength and pump, core stiffness, and neuromuscular connection development

No need to say that while requiring only a pull-up bar, this basic body-weight movement allows working on multiple fitness domains – stamina, muscular endurance, cardiovascular system capacity, strength, coordination, and agility.

In this article, we’d like to share some practical tips from CrossFit and Gymnastics coaches on how to master a pull-up and include it in your training. Here we go:

1. Use accessory exercises

Use accessory exercises to work on different portions of the pull-up. 

Accessory work like biceps curls, hollow hold, and ring rows boosts your progress and prepares your body for more complex movement.

2. Learn to engage the correct muscles and develop your pulling skill.

Often an athlete may have enough strength to do a pull-up but struggles to make the back and arms work effectively to get the chin over the bar. In this case, we recommend adding more pulling exercises to your workouts and focusing on proper technique. 

Sled pulls or rope climbs will perfectly fit into any workout and will benefit your pull-ups.

3. Strengthen the muscles in charge

Add some bent-over rows, lats pull-downs, and seated strict press to target your back and arm muscles. A bigger muscle has more strength potential, so don’t miss the benefits of the good pump.

4. Do negative pull-ups

The negative (eccentric) pull-ups, when performed properly, allow the athletes to feel the full range of motion – from the top of the bar till the straight arms hang. Slow negatives help to build strength and get your joints ready for a pull-up.

5. Try various grips

Recruit all groups of muscles by using wide, narrow, or reversed grip while doing negative or assisted pull-ups. In this way, you’ll work on the weak links and gain more strength overall.

6. Train your grip

Sometimes the ability to comfortably hang from the bar becomes a limiting factor. Improve your grip by hanging with added weight, so pulling your body weight up feels easier later.

7. Learn to tighten up

The position of your body is also an important point to keep in mind. Nice, straight body with abs braced and glutes squeezed is easier to control and pull. 

Relaxed core and legs cause unnecessary swinging and energy leeks during a pull-up. 

You should try to keep a firm hollow position to move effectively. Good news – hollow position can be trained both on the floor or hanging from the bar. Just do it!

Stay tuned and read more about pull-up progressions and workouts in our next posts.
Good luck! Join us and become a part of the WodNow community!

Oksana Protsyk

Oksana is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Endurance Coach at an affiliate. 

Currently working on peaking competitors’ and recreational athletes’ performance for the CrossFit Open.

Try now WodNow app

WodNow is suited for all those people or athletes who workout regularly and want to improve their level of fitness by challenging themselves with increasingly hard workouts.