Don’t know how to do a pull-up yet? Read on for everything gym-goers need to know about mastering this strength-boosting, muscle-building calisthenics exercise!
In this article:
- The Pull-Up
- How to Do a Proper Pull-Up
- How to Increase Pull-Ups Reps
- Pull-Ups Variations for Beginners
How to Do a Pull-Up for Beginners
Pull-ups are one of the most basic calisthenic exercises one can do. It’s the perfect exercise for fitness buffs of all levels no matter what their goal is.
Beginners shouldn’t feel bad if they can’t do even a single pull-up yet. By following the right pull-up guide and applying the proper pull-ups techniques, anyone can do them!
How to Do a Proper Pull-Up
Step 1: Warm Up the Muscles
Pull-ups are calisthenics exercises that target the lats, upper back, traps, biceps, and even deltoids, so make sure to warm up all these muscles before getting on the pull-up bar. Some good HIIT exercises to try include push-ups and burpees.
Keep in mind that the goal is to warm up the muscles, not work them to exhaustion. As such, don’t do more than a few sets of 10 to 12 reps per warm-up exercise.
Step 2: Hang from the Pull-Up Bar
Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and legs straight together.
To keep the legs from swaying to and fro, try tucking the feet together and then bending them back a bit. This is the proper standard pull-ups form.
Overhand Grip Definition: A grip where the palms are facing away from the body. Doing pull-ups with an overhand grip shifts the majority of the weight to the lats and back muscles rather than the biceps.
Step 3: Pull the Body up and Down
After positioning the body, slowly pull the body up until the chin is just above the bar. Once at the top, contract the lats and upper back for one count before carefully going back down. This is one rep.
Continuously pull the body up and down as many times as needed. The goal here is to create a smooth, up-and-down motion, so don’t use the momentum to carry the weight up to the top.
How to Increase Pull-Ups Reps
After learning how to do a pull-up, it’s time to focus on increasing the number of reps the body can bust out. Again, beginners shouldn’t feel ashamed if all they can do is two to three reps per set.
Just like any exercise, practice and persistence are the keys to growth. Of course, do not overdo it, because overtraining will just cause more harm than good.
To start, try doing around 6 to 10 sets of half as many reps as the body can handle. For example, if one’s maximum is 20 reps, then he or she can do 6 to 10 sets of 10 reps at least two to three times per week.
Note: This strategy is for fitness buffs who want to focus on improving their pull-ups. Those who want to shed fat or build muscle can try experimenting with other set and rep ranges.
Pull-Ups Variations for Beginners
Learning how to do a pull-up is not enough. One needs to have enough strength and power to actually pull up his or her entire body.
If that’s still too hard, gym-goers can try other workouts that’ll help build the muscles they need to do pull-ups properly. Some easy variations to try include:
1. Dead Hang
Dead Hang GIF by Giphy
The dead hang is a great exercise for beginners who are just starting with bodyweight and resistance training. It’s a very simple and easy exercise that trains one’s gripping power.
- Stand under a pull-up bar with arms overhead and feet together.
- Jump up and then hang with either an overhand or underhand grip.
- Keep the legs straight together and hang for about 30 seconds.
Underhand Grip Definition: A type of grip where the palms are facing the body. When doing pull-ups with an underhand grip, the weight shifts to the biceps and shoulders rather than lats.
2. Lat Pull-Downs
Lat Pull-Downs GIF by Giphy
Lat pulldowns are great pull-up alternatives that also work the lats, biceps, traps, and upper back. What makes lat pull-downs easier is fitness buffs can adjust the weight on the machine.
For example, if one cannot lift his or her 150-lb. body up, then they can try doing lat pull-downs with a much lighter weight. After some time, one can gradually increase the weight they lift to build up to their body weight.
- Adjust the weight on the lat pull-down machine, sit on the bench, and then grab the bar with an overhand grip.
- Pump the chest out and then pull the bar down until it’s just below the chin.
- Contract the lats for one count before releasing the weight. This is one rep.
3. Kipping Pull-Ups
Kipping Pull-Ups GIF by Giphy
The kipping pull-up is a great CrossFit move for beginners who can already pull the body up at least a few times. It allows gym-goers to use the momentum to bust out more reps than they normally do with standard pull-ups.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart from each other, and feet next to each other.
- Next, push the chest out while pulling the feet back to swing the body forward.
- Afterward, quickly pull the chest back while simultaneously swinging the legs forward.
- Finally, use this momentum to pull the body up until the chin is over the bar.
Here’s how to do pull-ups with proper form from Calisthenicmovement:
The best way to do a pull-up is to practice the move consistently. Keep training the lats, traps, and biceps so one can soon bust out multiple reps without even breaking a sweat!
For maximum results, fitness buffs should combine pull-ups with exercises like lat pull-downs, dumbbell rows, and deadlifts. Also, if multiple pull-ups are still a bit too difficult for the body to handle, one can try exploring diet plans and supplement stacks that increase muscular strength and power.
Do you think this guide helped you understand how to do a pull-up properly? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!