The Pull Up

Pull up

Pull up

The pull-up is an upper-body compound pulling exercise. Considered to be the best bodyweight pulling exercise of all time, this is a must have exercise on any workout program. Some of us may have dominated them since grade-school fitness tests, while others have struggled to do even a few reps. And, for the females out there, you may still be working on getting your first clean repetition.


Differnces between the pull up and the chin up:

  • While performing the pull up the palms should be faced away from the exerciser. When doing chin ups the arms should face towards the exerciser.
  • The pull up targets the back muscles harder, while the chin ups involves more biceps.
Pull up

How to perform your first pull up, and then more reps

  • Perform eccentric pull ups – jump to the bar and start lowering your body down from the top position.
  • Hanging – simply jump to the bar and stay on it for a few seconds.
  • Do half reps – it will make you used to the technique.
  • Use the assisted pull up machines.
  • Use the lat pulldown machine – this exercise mimics the pull up and strengthens the same muscles the pull up does.


How to get insanely good at pull ups

When I started working out at the age of 16 I could barely do 3 pull ups. At the peak of my training before I joined the special forces I was able to perform 40 strict pull ups in a row. How I did that was fairly easy: I simply did pull ups every other day. I always looked for ways to improve them, and the best I found are:

  •  Supersets – for example perform 5 sets of 5 pull ups and 10 push ups with as little rest as you can. Another option is doing 20 sets of 5 pull ups and 10 pull ups for a total of 100 pull ups and 200 push ups, as fast as you can.
  • Pyramids -Start with 1 pull up and 2 push ups. Every set increase pull ups repetitions by 1, and push ups repetitions by 2. your goal is to reach 10 pull ups and 20 push ups at the end of the pyramid. Take minimum rest. 
  • Perform Weighted Pull ups – this will improve your strength, so if your main goal is being able to do a lot of pull ups (endurance) this may actually not be so good.
Weighted pull up
  • Perform Muscle Ups – this is a great full upperbody compound exercise that will improve you in any bodyweight exercise.
Muscle up
Muscle up
  • Perform one arm pull ups – in order to perform the one arm version of this exercise, you will need to do them assisted first.
One Arm pull up
One Arm


Pull ups in the millitary

Pull ups are one of the best ways to measure the upper body strength of the “pulling muscles”. They are commonly used by armed forces, such as the United States Marine Corps, as a vital way to determine strength among service members. The minimum pull ups in the navy seal fitness test are 10 repetitions. A competitive rep number would be 15-20.

James Wilks

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