Admit it, pull-ups are the kind of exercise that is really hard to learn, and most of us can’t do first on their first day at the gym.
I know you’re here because you want to do your first pull-up.
Don’t worry, I will tell my story that how I able to do my first pull-up and increase it up to 30 reps in total.
Benefits of Pull-ups
Before explaining the execution of your first pull-up, I want you to tell the benefits of it so you include them in your back workout plan.
Pull-ups are now my favorite exercise, not only because it help tremendously to build my back but it also help in other ways like for biceps, shoulder scapula.
Pull-ups are one of the most fundamental exercise everyone should learn and it also a part of GOLDEN 5 exercises, which include all 5 big lifts.
Benefit #1 They are multi-joint exercises.
That means pull-ups not only work on your back muscles, it work for your biceps, lower back, shoulder and triceps too(if you learn advanced variation of it then).
Multi-joint exercises are very useful in terms of muscle growth.
If you’re looking for building your back’s width then pull-ups should be the part of your workout routine.
Benefit #2 Increase Grip Strength
No matter what’s your goal, you need an awesome grip strength.
Because without grip strength, it’s hard to lift heavy weights.
I know we have straps for but natural grip strength is much more better than that, and sometime many lifters prefer not to lift weights using straps.
Pull ups are an awesome way to strengthen your grip while building up the bigger muscle groups simultaneously.
If you’re looking for increasing grip strength, it’ll be worth to read this article.
It’s is very important to ready your body for upcoming big lifts since pull-ups are consider as one of the big lifts, you should do proper back warm up before every pull-up or back workout you do!
For this article, we’re only going to focus on the back warm-up, for complete body warm up that you should do before any workout, check out this video and incorporate it before your workouts.
So, when we train our back there are three muscle that has highest amount of force or you can say highest amount of tension. they are forearm, biceps, lower back and of course your lats.
For the first when you start learning your first pull-ups, you will see how to increase your grip strength by doing dead hang exercise. You can do this exercise but stop doing it once you see some progression with your pull-ups.
For the forearm warm up, you can do below exercises as demonstrated!
- Flex and extend all fingers, while making a complete fist for 30 seconds. Next, open and close your fingers do 2 sets of each for a total of a minute.
- Flex your wrist and hold in maximum flex for 30 seconds with the elbow straight but not locked.
- Extend your wrist with the elbow straight for 30 seconds. Do 2 sets for a total of 2 minutes.
These initial three stretching exercises will prepare you for the more complex and more intense weight-bearing exercises to optimize muscular development and the strength of the forearm.
I believe, that’s enough for the forearm warm up.
For the latissimus dorsi warm-up, you can do 1-2 sets of lat pull down with light weights, or form rolling, or exercise ball stretch.
Personally, I chose either form rolling or light set of lat pull down for my pull-up warm up but you can choose either of them.
You can also do some shoulder work if you found it uncomfortable while doing your first pull up practice.
Read Related Article: Here is The Effective Body weight Chest Exercises For Chest Growth
Pull-Up Progression Exercises
You, me or any other person from the gym is enough to hang for few seconds from the pull up bar, but that’s not enough if you want to improve your pull up game.
Hanging from the bottom position is known as a dead-hang as I mentioned earlier in this article.
This exercise is best for your grip but just keep in mind that if you try to hang for more minutes then your form-arm will be so sore that you can’t do any pull-up work.
This exercise that everyone include YOU should learn as it’s really hard for someone to do negative pull-ups if they are unable to hang on the pull-up bar for one minute easily.
Form: There is no rocket science in this exercise’s form. All you’ve to do is pull your shoulders down as shown in this photo.
Just try to relax your shoulder blade and hang as much as much you can.
If you bring your shoulder blade up then it’s an active muscle and it’ll be hard for you to hang for more secs.
Training: Aim for 1-2 minute of hanging time in each of your workout and slowly increase it up to 5 min max!
You’ll eventually build up to a 1 min dead-hang if you’re consistent.
You can choose any grip you’d like but I prefer a pull-up grip.
However, if you found it difficult to hang more with the pull-up grip then you can also try neutral grip and eventually shift to pull up grip.
The two armed version of pulling prep shown in this great video by GMB is a nice addition to your hanging training and will help build the strength to pull out of a dead-hang when you start doing full pull-ups or chin-ups.
I don’t have any scheduling advice for this, just through a bit of it into your hanging work.
Sometimes you may heard about the Australian pull-up, that’s what the inverted row exercise.
Basically this is a horizontal pull-up.
Before doing vertical pull-up, you’re at least able to do horizontal pull-up.
This exercise will also help you to build your pulling power.
Form: The body should be straight and you should focus on pulling your chest as much as near to the bar on each repetition.
Training: Perform 5 reps, then 10 and gradually build up to 3 sets of 8 reps.
if you found it more difficult then try as shown in the below photo.
If you don’t have access to a low bar, a sturdy table will also work.
This is the second last stage of your first pull-up.
A negative pull-up is where you start at the top of the movement with the help of table or a friend and then slowly lower yourself with proper control.
This will develop your musculature and motor skills needed for pull-ups.
Many people find negative chin-ups a lot more easier than negative pull-ups.
If you think you can also do more with the negative chin-ups, focus on that and after some time see where you stand for the negative pull-ups.
After you can do 3 sets of 8 negative pull-ups.
Form: You can do whatever you can but after you’re top on the bar, your body should be under control.
If you can lower yourself in a controlled manner then don’t worry much about inverted rows, dead hangs, if not focus much on them and test each week until you can do negative pull ups in control fashion.
The aim is simply to lower yourself from the top position into a dead hang.
You are doing the down part of the chin-up or pull-up.
Here is a video of Antranik doing negatives.
Training: like inverted rows, Perform 5 reps, then 10 and gradually build up to 3 sets of 8 reps.
Holding the top position
Once you’re able to do 3 sets of 8 negative pull-ups, you can start repetitions by holding on the top position for sometime.
Holding it for 3-10 second will make the negative pull-ups more harder for you but this will also help to do more pull-ups.
if you can’t do this on all reps, just try to do one or two in every set.
Your first Chin-up
You may have see some people in the gym, try to do pull-ups with the resistance bands or on the pull-up assisted machine, I would say if you do what I’ve said then you don’t need this one.
However, you can still do them but don’t go with the assisted pull-up machine.
if you do all the exercises I mentioned everyday or every other day, it may take around 3-5 weeks in which you’re able to do your first chin-up.
I would again suggest that don’t go for the pull-ups directly, go for the chin-ups and see how many you can do in one set in first try, as people find much easier movement than pull-ups.
Your first chin-up will be pretty ugly and you fell like your head going to explode but don’t worry, you just made a solid achievement.
Moving to your first Pull-up
I would suggest you to do 1-3 chin-ups to your existing workout of negatives, dead hangs and Australian pull-ups.
This exercises helped you to get your first chin-up and now including chin-up and these exercises will help you to get your first pull-ups.
Your first pull-up
once you’re able to do more than 10 reps in 2 or 3 sets, you’re ready to test your pull-up strength.
The same thing apply for the pull-up which we applied for the chin-ups.
If you’re not able to do first pull-up for the first time, don’t worry about it just keep training chin-ups, negatives, dead hang and inverted row.
You can also do something like this you do 1 pull-up, followed by 1-2 chin-ups, followed by 5-6 negatives.
Stick with it and before long multiple reps will be yours.
Pull-Up Tips For Beginners
Tip 1: No matter you’re doing inverted rows, dead hang or trying to do you first pull-up, never start doing it without warm-up.
Because I’ve had forearm injury in the past as I forgot to do warm-up for it while setting up my pull-up PRs.
Tip 2: it would be really hard for you if you’re a heavy person, but you can do more exercises that above-mentioned and eventually you’ll do your first pull-up.
Tip 3: As name suggest, pull-up, it requires pull-up power, if you don’t have enough pull-power that can lift your body then it will hard for you to do your first pull-up.
However, try to add more pull exercise in your routine.
Tip 4: if you fell frustrated as you’re not able to do it after countless try.
you should not skipping it as it can build your entire back, if you know how to do it properly.
According to this one study, pull-ups are better than lat pull down. So if you’re thinking about like you can do lat pull down instead of pull-ups then you’re skipping powerful benefits of pull-ups.
Pull-Up Progression Plan
The below mentioned progression plan may or may not work for you but you don’t need to follow it exactly.
It will be hard to progress with the pull-ups compare to other exercises.
Don’t think like that I’m not progressing in the pull-up game, it’s a slow game and that’s normal.
The Pull-up plan that I suggest you should do is the following
1 minute dead hang
3 x 8 (or 5 x 5) negative pull-ups
3 x 8 inverted rows
YOUR FIRST PULL-UP
Some people will able to hit this number fast than other people as some require additional work.
If you’re thinking you’re still not able to do your first pull-up after this plan then increase the number in the pull-up progression plan.
Below is the another example workout for your first pull-up from the School of Calisthenics.
You can do either of them or make one for yourself.
Now you’ve all the ingredients you need to make a wonderful and tasty pull-up recipe.
Try to do this exercises I told when you go to gym next time.
Stay consistency and you will see result soon.
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