One of my goals this year is to get progressively stronger at pull-ups and be able to do more than I was able to last year.
I have thus committed myself to doing 3 sets of 5 pull-ups a day and work my way up daily.
I am now able to do 17-20 pull-ups and am working my way towards doing way more.
Why I love pull-ups:
- I enjoy the challenge of being able to complete a set of pull-ups. Two years ago, I would have probably not been able to do a single one. I enjoy the strength that I get and the confidence boost as a result of my training. Pull-ups are also great for building a nice back and thus contributing to a nicer and more symmetrical physique.
- I enjoy feeling confident after I can perform them in good form. Overall, I enjoy getting stronger for both the psychological and physical benefits.
I recommend adding them to your workouts if you aren’t already, because they are a great way to tone your back and strengthen your lats, biceps and back muscles in order to truly have a shredded physique.
The pull-up is a bodyweight exercise so I would thus recommend incorporating progressions using assisted chin-up machines or bands if you are just starting out. Working your way towards accomplishing your first pull-up can be extremely satisfying and rewarding.
Here are a few ways that you can work towards your pull-up strength, in which I will go into more details with:
- Work your way towards your strength by using resistance bands or an assisted chin-up machine at your gym.
- Try negative training which is essential towards building your strength to perform a pull-up.
- The Australian Pull-Up
What is Negative training?
This is just one of the ways that you can work towards performing your first pull-up with the use of negative training, which means the aim is to focus on developing the strength by keeping the tempo and rhythm of your pull-up at a range of 3-5 seconds while keeping the tension as you work your way towards the bar.
What is a Pull-Up?
If you want to perform the pull-up movement, you have to jump up towards the pull-up bar with the aim of getting your chest to reach towards the pull-up bar, with your chin facing forward. The movement requires inhaling and exhaling, this can be done by bracing your core and chest on the way up and then descending down using the tension of your back and biceps (the primary muscles being worked) as well as latimmus dorsi and teres major (also muscles that are being worked).
- Try Negative Training on the pull-up bar
One way of getting the strength to do a pull-up is through negative training, which would require you to develop the strength with the aim of working your way to a perfect pull up. How you do this is by jumping towards the bar, pulling your chest towards the bar with as much strength as you have, and if you feel like you cannot perform a full pull-up, you would keep the tension on your way back down to your initial standing or hanging position. The aim here is to keep the tension on the aforementioned back and biceps (plus latimus dorsi and teres major) muscles for as long and hard as you can, while bracing your core.
Doing as many of these negative (controlled reps in good form) as you can while focussing on tempo and not just full-range of motion will help give you the strength to perform more pull-ups. The emphasis here would be building your progressive strength, and then moving on to working a regular pull-up, which requires the strength you would have had developed by means of negative training or assisted chin-ups/pull-ups.
- Try incorporating Australian Pull-Ups to your Back-Day
Australian Pull-Ups are great progressions towards the pull-up, the only difference would be that the bar would be lower: a Smith machine bar works perfectly to perform this exercise. The aim is always to bring your chest as close to the bar as possible, using your body weight to get you to finish the movement.
I can now do 17 reps in good form. I would like to build way more strength than this. Overall, I am pleased with my strength gains, and it took a lot of work for me to develop the strength to do just one. Overall, the techniques all helped me to develop my strength and mass on my back and biceps, to as is evident in the picture.
I also recommend an at home pull-up bar because after having bought mine, I have been able to get stronger from the comfort of my own home and have benefited from the strength in other lifts when I go to the gym. I recommend at least trying to get better at it! It’s a highly impressive movement and definitely worth working your way towards achieving.