Some of my favourite exercising for improving my pull ups. I’ve been doing 5/7 of these for over 2 years and they’ve really helped me go from 0-10.
My favourite exercises for improving my pull ups
- Inverted rows are great for strengthening your back and bis. You can modify these by bending your knees at a 90 degree angle.
- One-arm dumbbell rows helps you work your lats and upper back. Make sure you engage your core. I also love using a lighter weight and lowering the weight slowly and controlled in the same position.
- Wide grip lat pulldowns – these use a lot of the same muscles as pull ups so they are always good to incorporate
- Seated cable rows and other pulling exercises can help you build the strength you need to pull up your body weight
- Scapular pull ups are a game changer! From a dead hang, think about retracting your shoulder blade (squeeze down and back). These are great for so many reasons but they actually really helped me so much build that muscle to mind connection which helped me to learn to engage my back muscles which are key when doing pull ups.
- Isometric pull up + negatives are super tough but also really helpful in building the strength you need to do unassisted pull ups. Stand on something stable and jump up so your eye-level is above the bar. Hold for a couple of seconds and lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner. Modify these by using a band. For the holds aim for 2-30 seconds. 30 seconds is devastating but possible.
- Eccentric pull ups/negatives are key (that’s why they’re here twice).
Rep range and training schedule
As I said in my post last week about my training schedule, everyone is going to flourish under different splits. I personally noticed the most pull up progress when I trained back/bi’s twice a week. As far as rep range goes, I normally do 3-4 sets of the first 4 exercises in the 8-12 range. I have however done some programs that changed the rep range from week to week from: 6-8 reps, 12-15 reps, 16-20 reps and 21-30 reps. I found I had a lot of strength gains with this and really enjoyed it.
Reps for the last 3 exercises can also vary. I’ve done anywhere from 2-4 sets of 5-10 reps or just max reps depending on the exercise.
Don’t forget to keep your core engaged (this prevents you from swinging) and choose a high enough object to stand on the the last 2 exercises. These exercises will completely exhaust you, I legit couldn’t do a single pull up by the time we finished filming because naturally we filmed this twice at the end of my actual workout. Fail! 😅
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