My First Pull-Up


All goals are achievable with visualization and belief.  To get a pull up we must implement a special strength program on a constant basis in order to reach this goal.  First thing is first; before we lay out our plan for conquering the pull up we must first ask ourselves,  ‘Why don’t I already have a pull up?’  Here are a couple of realistic reasons:

·         Lack of strength – this will be a combination of back strength and grip strength.

·         You are too heavy – a nutritional plan is always the foundation to shedding excess fat.

·         Technique – you aren’t staying tight enough through the movement.

·         Consistence – you are not practicing enough.

·         Assistance – you might rely too much on bands, or always use your hips on ring rows.

The following program is taken from Box Life magazine, it will ONLY work if you actually commit to it and remain accountable.  It is to be done pre-WOD 3X’s a week with a day of rest in between (ex. Monday, Wednesday and Friday).  Getting your first pull-up is as simple as periodizing four exercises and just requires hard work and patience.  Accountability is the key.

1.       Dead Hang

Find a bar and hang for as long as possible.

2.       Ring Rows

Set the rings at hip height.  Hold on to the rings, lean back slowly until arms are fully extended, legs and torso are tight and straight.  Pull your chest to the rings; DON’T use your hips for assistance.


3.       Segmented & Negative(Eccentric) Pull ups

Adjust a box height to a position where you are able to do a partial pull up.  This height can be inches from the bar, maybe it can be half a pull up (arms at 90 degree), or maybe it can be almost a full pull up.  Your strength will determine the height of the box.  Once you pull yourself over the bar you have done the Segmented portion, now it’s time to work the negative or the lowering of the body towards the ground.  Lower your body in a slow and controlled manner to a dead hang.  Common mistake is lowering slow and controlled and then dropping fast at the halfway point.  Avoid dropping fast at any point, remain slow and controlled.


4.       Barbell Assisted Pull up

Set up a box in front of a rack and set up a barbell up on the rack.  The height of the barbell is determined by your strength level, the weaker you are the higher the bar, so more weight is distributed to the box.  Grab onto the bar and place your feet on the box, now with a vertical torso pull yourself over the bar, be careful NOT to kip (use your hips), slowly descend to a dead hand.  Bar should be high enough where your butt doesn’t touch the ground.


The Program

–Day 1–

The Segment+Eccentric Pull-up

5 sets of 4 repetitions. Take 3-5 seconds to descend to a dead hang. Rest 90-120 seconds between sets. We’re working on strength here, no need to rush.

The Barbell Assisted Pull-up
3 sets of 6 repetitions. Rest 90-120 seconds between sets.

–Day 3–

Ring Rows
4 sets of 8 repetitions. Rest 90 seconds between sets.

Dead Hang
3 sets to failure. Just when you think you can’t hold on any longer, count to 15! Rest as needed.

–Day 5–

The Segment+Eccentric Pull-up
5 sets of 3 repetitions. Take 5 seconds to descend to a dead hang. Rest 90-120 seconds between sets.

The Barbell Assisted Pull-up
3 sets of 5 repetitions. Rest 90-120 seconds between sets.
1 set to absolute failure.

Progressing is simple.

Every week, make small advances to continually challenge the muscles. For the Segmented+Eccentric Pull-up, lower the starting height. For example, if you started at a height on a box with three 10 lb plates, remove one plate the following week. For the Barbell Assisted Pull-up, lower the barbell rack height. If you are already as low as possible without your butt touching the floor, start adding weight to your lap in the form of plates or kettle bells. For the dead hang, just hold on longer. For the ring rows, adjust your feet so your body angle is lower. Repeat this program as long as it takes to get a strict pull-up!

By | 2015-03-09T16:35:00+00:00 March 9th, 2015|Blog|