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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!