Six Steps To Get Your First Pull Up In 2019
No Limit Fitness Studio | NLFS CrossFit
The New Year is upon us and most of us have made up our minds as to what we want to achieve in this brand-new year. We’ve noticed that many of our members and clients have the goal of getting their first ever pull up. That’s a great goal!
Pull ups can be tricky to train if you’re not one of those lucky people who’s chin seems magnetically attracted to the bar. As always, we’re here to help! Ahead are six steps to help you get your first ever pull up this year:
(Before we get started, know that we are discussing how to get STRICT pull ups. Not kipping pull ups made popular by CrossFit)
- Get Stronger
This step seems pretty obvious. If you’re not strong enough to do a pull up, you need to get stronger. How do you do that though? Gaining strength takes time, so you need to keep coming to classes at No Limit Fitness Studio, or hire one of our Personal Trainers. If our coaches/trainers know that a pull up is one of your goals, they can make a plan for you and help guide you through what progressions you should be doing.
- Lose Weight
This can be a bit of a touchy subject, but it has to be addressed. Sometimes people are pretty damn strong, but still can’t get a pull up. You might see someone who can max out every lat pull down machine there is but when it comes to a pull up they’re stuck at the bottom with their arms fully extended.
Pull ups are a body weight exercise, so the less there is of you the more achievable they are. If you look at most people who “love” pull ups, they aren’t the bigger, heavier lifting types. They tend to be lean and a little smaller overall. Now imagine if you took a 40lb vest and put it on one of them. Think they’d be able to jump onto a bar and crank out a bunch of pull ups? Probably not.
- Do More Pulling Exercises
To get better at pulling, you need to PULL. This could include ring rows, lat pull downs, bent over rows, dumbbell rows, etc. Whether you add it in to your normal training, after a CrossFit WOD, in a warm up, or just asking your coach to add it into the workout for you, you need to have your pulling muscles spend more time under tension. This will help with Step 1 (Get Stronger) in the most important muscle groups for pulling.
- Spend Time on The Bar
One big mistake people who can’t do pull ups make is that they don’t ever get up on a pull up bar. They’ll often spend all their time performing other movements that don’t put your entire body weight on your upper body. To get a pull up, though, you HAVE to get up on a bar and perform progressions (such as banded pull ups). You could just get up on the bar in between sets of ring rows and hang too. Trust us, you’ll end up fatiguing those all-important pulling muscles!
- Work on Keeping Tension Throughout Your Body
Whether you are on the bar working on kipping in CrossFit or doing one of the other pulling exercises we mentioned in Step 3, you need to be keeping tension throughout your body and especially in your core. This actually helps strengthen your core, and when your core is stronger you get stronger (Step 1 again!). Plus, the more tension you keep throughout your body, the better energy transfers throughout it. Think of pulling the sled using a rope. If the rope is taught then every time you pull on it the sled moves. If there is any slack in the rope your initial pull won’t result in much movement of the sled. It’s the same with your body, so squeeze those abs!!!
- Keep Track of Your Progress
To get to the point that you can do a pull up unassisted, you need to track where you are with your progressions. For example, if you do 10 pull ups with one of the green bands assisting you then you need to have that tracked somewhere. The next time you have pull ups in a workout you should either know how you’ve done before or be able to quickly find out. Then you can adjust your progressions for that workout. If there are fewer pull ups this time, you can use a significantly smaller band. If there are more pull ups, sticking with the green band may be the way to go. As always, discuss with your coach or trainer so you can come up with the best option!