Master the pull-up with these 3 moves
The pull-up is a challenging move that even personal trainers and professional athletes can sometimes struggle to master. You could be super-fit, able to swing heavy kettlebells, run marathons and even lift like a boss, but find yourself still unable to do a pull-up!
Don't fall into the trap of using an assisted pull-up machine or band to learn the moves - it will only make it harder to progress to the real thing in the long run. You'll need to learn how to do the move on your own, with a combo of three different, individiual types of strength:
- Positive strength, to contract your muscles
- Static strength, to hold your body up
- Negative strength, to extend your muscles, lowering yourself from the bar in a slow, controlled movement
If you don't master these three different types of strength, you'll never master the pull-up - it's why so many people try and fail! Building these individual strengths can help you to conquer the move you never thought you could do and reach your fitness goals. We've got three moves that will help you to build all three strengths in unison - let's get cracking!
Image credit: Foxnews.com
Start with the pull-up bar and you. It's a faceoff. Get yourself over the bar - doesn't matter how, just do it. Get a fitness buddy or a friend to help you, or use a workout bench or wall to walk up to it. The how isn't important at this point! Once you're up there, you want to hold yourself over the bar for as long as you can, building your positive and static strength. Don't give up, you got this!
Presuming you still have some strength left in your upper body (and the will to live), we'll begin with step two. Stay motivated, it's going to get easier. Begin to slowly lower yourself down from the pull-up bar, keeping your movements slow and controlled. Hold yourself in position for 5 to 10 seconds , then continue lowering yourself slightly and again hold your body in position for 5 to 10 seconds. This builds the strong arm, shoulder and chest muscles necessary to master the pull-up!
Once you feel ready, it's time to progress to move 3, which is the final move in this routine. Position your body over the pull-up bar then lower yourself slowly down to the ground, as slowly as you can in one complete, controlled motion. Count how long this takes you to do. As your body gets stronger and you start to find this easier (you will, trust us!) then add 3 seconds to the time it takes to completely lower yourself to the ground. This is building your negative strength which trains your muscles to extend. Take it slowly and you'll reap the benefits.
We recommend adding these moves to your strength workout 2 to 3 times a week. You should always take a rest day between workouts and 48 hours of recovery if you start to feel sore. These moves can be pretty intense, particularly if your upper body strength isn't up to much! Beginners or those getting back into it should start slowly and build up gradually to prevent injury. After 4 weeks, you should find you are strong enough to do a pull-up! Let us know how you get on and if these moves have worked for you - we always love to hear about your results!