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How to Improve Your Pull-Ups

posted on August 16, 2017

A common goal that we see here at the gym is being able to do a pull-up.  I mean, what’s not impressive about that, right?  Hoisting yourself above a high bar doesn’t have to be an impossible feat!  Whether you’re currently working towards your first pull-up or working towards 100, here are some things you can do to help improve your pull-ups.


Do More Pull-Ups!

The first (and best) step to accomplishing any goal is to practice! And then practice and practice and practice some more. You won’t get a pull-up by just staring at that bar so ahead and get to work.


Dead Hangs

The pull-up starts with a dead hang, so it makes sense to start your training here. Everyone, even those with serious pull-up power,  can benefit from these because training your grip leads to a seriously strong upper body.  If your grip is already pretty strong, try incorporating some towel hangs or weighted hangs to really spice things up.


Scapular Pull-Ups

Since the pull-up uses predominantly back muscles, scapular pull-ups are a great movement for those having trouble activating their lats.  Your lats should be the first muscles firing in a pull-up.  This exercise teaches you how to hang with straight arms then pull your shoulder blades down your back, mimicking the first lat pull while strengthening your back muscles.



Negatives are the eccentric or downward portion of a movement and they are a powerful & fast way to see progress. Step on a box or jump to get your chin above the bar then slowly lower yourself until your arms are straight.  For those a little more advanced, try some weighted negatives and lemme know how sore you are the next day!


Partner-Assisted Pull-Ups

If you are close to a full pull-up but just cant quite make it there, go grab a friend (or make a new gym friend)! Have them assist you by placing their hands underneath your feet and apply pressure as needed to elevate you higher.  Of course, don’t forget to return the favor!


If you need help with pull-ups (or anything else for that matter!) come to one of our strength training classes or sign up with a personal trainer today! May your backs be strong and pull-ups a-plenty.


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