Do Pull-ups in 2016!

Strengthen the Back and Arms

“Not much impresses me more in the gym than watching a female knock out a few perfect chest-to-bar pull-ups.” – Andrew Read

If you’re comfortable with chin-ups (palms facing you), the next advancement is the pull-up (palms face away from you). The pull-up is more difficult to perform but is one of the ultimate strength exercises.

Why do pull-ups?

Toned shoulders and arms. Although the pull-up is typically considered a back exercise, it also hits the rest of the upper body muscles
Tones the core. When performing pull-ups (like other bodyweight exercises), you have to keep your core tight.
Creates a tiny waist. Pull-ups help create that upper body v-taper, which gives the appearance of a smaller waist.
Strengthens the back. This exercise will help add lean muscle and create nice back definition.
Improves posture. The byproduct of increasing the strength of the back and core.
Increases confidence. Repping out a set of pull-ups in the gym is empowering.

In my own training, I became interested in advancing to a pull-up just over three years ago. I experimented with different exercises and machines to help me get to where I could do a pull-up, and I have four exercises that I think worked best. This is the routine I still use a couple days a week to keep improving.

Graduate from the Chin-up to a Pull-up Workout Series


1. Pull-up

Simple, but practicing the exercise is the best way to engage the muscles you will need to perform it.

• If you cannot do a pull-up, start by doing a few reps of going as far as you can (it might not even be halfway) and soon you’ll start to be able to pull further and further up.
• If you can do pull-ups (even if it’s just one), start this series by doing two to three sets of as many as you can get.

Opposite grip pull-ups

2. Opposite grip pull-ups

One hand is in the pull-up position (palm away) and the other hand is in the chin-up position (palm toward you).

• Do one set as many reps as you can. Then flip your grip and get the same number in the second set. Repeat both sets.
• If you cannot do these, skip to the next exercise. You will be able to soon!

3. Negatives

Jump up to the top of the pull-up position and lower as slowly as you can. (I try to count to 10)

• Do these for one minute. After you finish one, just jump up for the next one. Try to do as few reps as possible.

One-arm pull-ups on the pull-up assist

4. One-arm pull-ups on the pull-up assist

This is an exercise that isolates one half of your back at a time.

• Start with your non-dominant arm and do 10-15 reps. Then match it with your other arm.
• Do two to three sets for each arm.

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” –Henry Ford

The most important thing is to believe that you can do pull-ups. Once you get to where you can do a full rep, the next reps come along much easier. Good luck!

Photos by Jodie Stockdale, the coolest Australian fit chick I know. Anti-Cellulite pants are by Delfin Spa.

Rebekah Kathleen Clementson

Rebekah is a runner & fitness model. She teaches middle school health and physical education and is also a certified ACE Health Coach. Her goal is to share ways to make the fit lifestyle simple & sustainable, and inspire all women become their best self.

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