Pull-Ups 101

So when we first started working out, I couldn’t do a pull-up. AT ALL. I had to use the biggest band and I could still only get 10-15 reps. I had string bean arms and I didn’t even know where my lat muscles were.

After many failed attempts, I found some videos online about how to go about doing your first pull-up, but they all assumed that you could probably do 1.  Not I.

So here’s what I did:

  1. Go hard and heavy on the lat pull-down machine and use it properly (I was pulling the bar straight down and behind my head). You’ll feel these in the morning. Do 3 sets of 8.
  2. Start doing lat hangs. Basically, just jump and grab onto that pull-up bar and hang. Start shrugging your shoulders and flexing those lat muscles (they’ll look like mini-pull-ups).
  3. Negative pull-ups. Stand on a dumbbell or box and grab onto that bar. Then step off to lower yourself down. Try to do this as slowly as possible.
  4. Resistance bands. Not the fat ones, cheaters. Get yourself one of those red skinny bands and try to do a set of 10 pull-ups.
  5. Jumping pull-ups. When we first attempted the Murph WOD (100 strict pull-ups) over a year ago, I did mostly jumping pull-ups (about 97). You jump up and let your momentum do the UP part and you slowly lower yourself down.
  6. Your first real pull-up! Jump up to the bar, do a jumping pull-up, but instead of letting go, lift those knees and PULL! Try to get your chest up to the bar. Lifting your knees angles your body slightly and gives you a boost.
  7. Now try a set of 5! Your first pull-up is always a jumping pull-up, so go for four strict ones!

Some notes: Don’t be an idiot and try to kip after watching a CrossFit video. That’s a great way to tear something. Do use the padded bars. Callouses take some time to build up and you don’t want to shred your hands.  Don’t use the assisted pull-up machine. You’ll never get off and onto a real pull-up bar with that crutch of a machine. Don’t be hard on yourself and Do celebrate the small wins (I had David record me the first time I could do 4 pull-ups straight and showed that video to everyone). If anyone has some other tips that helped them in their pull-up journey, feel free to comment below!

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