Master The Pull-up

/ / All, Motivation, Strength and Conditioning


Many people stay away from the pull-up simply because they’re hard. However, the key is to start with progressions that gradually strengthens the muscles activating during the movement. The pull-up is one of the best exercise to develop upper body strength.

Having a strong pulling strength is can be crucial for improving performance. It can improve posture, grip strength, support the spine, and stabilizes your shoulder. This exercise targets large muscle groups in the back (Latissimus Dorsi), as well as your shoulders, abdominals, and arms (Biceps).
Before you start, find out how many pull-ups you can do and record that number. If you can’t do one then its fine. Proceed to Step 1 of the progressions.
Here is a SAMPLE approach to a pull-up progression:

How to Start:
Step 1: Start with a chin-up grip (shoulder width) with the palm of your hands facing you, and use the same cues above.


  • Perform 2x a week
  • Sets/Repetitions: 3×5
  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Tempo: 5(8)-0-1-0 focus on the negatives by slowly lowering your body for 5-8 seconds.


1st number is the time (seconds) of the eccentric or lowering part of the movement.
2nd number is the pause at midpoint.
3rd number is the time (seconds) of the concentric or lifting part of the movement.
4th number is the pause at the top.
If you can’t do a chin-up, use a step, resistance band or bench to help bring your body up above the bar.
Once you can perform a chin-up for 5+ reps progress to a neutral grip.
Step 2: Neutral grip pull-up uses the same width as a chin-up, the position of your palm should face each other, and use the same cues above.


  • Perform 2-3x a week
  • Sets/Repetitions: 3×5 and 5×6-8
  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Tempo: 3-0-1-0


Once you can perform 6-8 repetition of neutral grip pull-ups progress to the pull-up

Step 3: Pull-ups

How to do a Pull-up: Grip a bar with a pronated grip (overhand grip) wider than shoulder width. While hanging, cross your feet behind you, keep a neutral spine, and activate the core. Pull yourself up the bar until your chin is in-line with the bar, lower your body until the arms are straight, and repeat.

  • Perform 3x a week
  • Sets/Repetitions: 5×6, 3×6, and 1-2x(max repetition)
  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Tempo: 2-0-1-0


There are many ways to master the pull-ups, this is just one of my example. Now that you can perform a pull-up for 8-12+ repetitions, it doesn’t mean that your strength development stops there. You can add different variations of pull-ups to your program by increasing intensity, sets/repetitions, tempo, etc.
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