How Two Trainers Do Pull-Ups

You will instantly feel badass when you do pull-ups, no matter if you can do one amazing rep or ten. Our statement that they are easy to nail would be untrue. Get the best advice from certified trainers on how to do pull-ups if you’re ready for a challenge.

How to start training for pull-ups

Pull-ups are challenging because they work every major muscle in your upper body, such as the lats, rhomboids, posterior deltoid (the back of your shoulder), and biceps, so you have to strengthen all those muscles before you start.

Kayla Itsines, NASM-certified trainer, co-founder of Sweat and creator of High Impact with Kayla, states that the best place to start when doing a pull-up is focusing on your upper-body strength. In addition to lat pulldowns, Itsines recommends adding bent-over rows, seated rows, inverted rows, and reverse flys twice a week.

Along with pulling movements, she recommends strengthening muscles like triceps dips to help build strength and prevent injuries in the upper body.

According to Cases Olholm, creator of the High Intensity Strength program on Sweat, you should incorporate functional movements and high levels of intensity into your workout routine. The ring row is another way Olholm challenges people besides bent-over rows and seated rows. According to her, resistance band-assisted pull-ups can be added to your routine based on your ability and strength level.

The progressions of pull-ups

Following regular strength training, you can practice actual pull-ups once you are substantially stronger. If you’re ready to do your first pull-up or increase your rep range, Itisines offers a simple, three-step progression.

1st step: Hang from a bar

Hang from the pull-up bar for a little while, Itsines advises. It is a good idea to start off with ten-second holds for three rounds.

Step 2: Hold yourself in the top position of a pull-up

Itsines instructs anyone who has no difficulty hanging from the bar to hold their chin over the bar for 10 seconds after getting comfortable. The aim is to increase strength across each part of the pullup, as the main goal is to increase strength throughout each part. Once you feel this is achievable, you can hold each position for 10 seconds per position.

Step 3: Do eccentric pull-ups

Itsines suggests adding eccentric pull-ups as your first two steps become easier. Then slowly lower your arms until your chin is above the bar. Begin at the top, with your chin over the bar. As soon as you learn how to do this, you will be able to do the standard pull-up using only your body weight or a resistance band as support.

The amount of time it takes to start doing pull-ups

We understand how you may be feeling: “I put in a lot of effort, but when can I expect results?”. When it comes to fitness, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. According to Itsines, consistency is key. Taking into account your beginning strength level is also important. When you first begin strength training, it will likely take longer than four weeks to see results than if you have been strength training for a while.

The results will start showing after five to six weeks, says Itsines, if you work hard at showing up every week, finishing your upper body strength sessions, and pushing yourself to progress.

Ready to start strengthening your upper body? Try this 25-minute workout: 

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