How to Do Your First Pullup
Pullups are one of the best bodyweight exercises out there. They work your back, shoulders, and biceps…or so people think. I once did a workout that involved close to a 100 pullups, and the following day my chest and abs were sore as well. I did not do any chest or ab work that day, or the day before. It really is amazing to see just how connected your body is (kind of a strange sentence when you read it back).
A lot of sources out there tell you that if you can’t do a pullup, you should first practice with a resistance band pull downs or cable pull downs. I’ve actually developed a video showing resistance band exercises in place of pullups. Although it is not a bad idea, the truth is that if you want to get better at a particular exercise, you need to do that particular exercise.
The basic transition into a full pullup is as follows:
The jumping pullup is what it sounds like: you jump towards the pullup bar with the sole purpose of getting your chin up over the bar. The jumping pullup gives you a little boost towards the bar, since most beginners are unable to even move past the dead hang position.
You can use a platform of some sort as demonstrated in the video, or just jump from the ground if the pullup bar is low enough
You do not need to do the backward C-curve thing at the end of each pullup as demonstrated by the video. That’s just Crossfit training for the kipping pullup (which is a whole different exercise).
Jumping Pullups & Hold
Once you’ve mastered the basic jumping pullup, it’s time to move onto jumping pullups + hold. In this variation, you simply stop at the top position of the pullup, and hold for as long as possible.
Jumping Pullups & Negatives
The negative portion of a pullup is where you’re returning to starting position. To further strengthen the muscle involved in performing a full pullup, you’ll slow down the negative portion of the movement.
I recommend jumping up to the bar, and then doing the negative, although you can use a chair as demonstrated in the video if you feel uncomfortable jumping with momentum, then slowing down.
As also demonstrated in the video, you can use negatives to train other variations of difficult pullups, as well as use them as a mass-gaining technique once you’ve become proficient with pullups.
Putting it All Together
Now it’s time attempt your first pullup. The starting position of a pullup is known as the dead hang position because you’re basically just hanging there with your arms full stretched out. Your feet should be curled behind you. Look up towards the bar, flex your back muscles and use them to pull yourself up towards the bar. Try to go as far as possible. If you still can’t touch the bar with your chin, then don’t worry. You’ve already done the preliminary work necessary to strengthen your pulling muscles.
About the Author
Parth Shah is an average joe who’s tired of all the nonsense he sees in mainstream health and fitness media. His thoughts, ideas, and philosophy can be found on his website and suscribe to his RSS Feed here….
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