Tips and training methods on improving pull up strength.
How to increase your pull up strength:
- Pull up = Palm Facing Away
- Chin up = Palm Facing You
- Dead Hang Pull up builds the most strength and keeps your reps honest. I would suggest only skipping if you somehow are doing a failure set but I do not recommend it for most people as you end up not hitting your upper back properly.
- Good Pull up/Chin up = Starts with arms straight with a pause at the bottom, at the bottom position, with no bounce or momentum get your chin or even better your upper chest touching the bar.
- If you can't do a pull up yet, aim for a chin up as most people will hit that easier, if you can't hit a chin up, find some type of bar that is low enough to do bodyweight rows.
- Pull ups/Chin ups make the most rapid improvement when you aren't going to fail with each set, the best way to get better at them is to chop your best rep record in half, if you can do 8 reps, do sets of 4 and aim to stay as fresh as possible. You can also spread it out over the week and get over 30 sets easily. It will feel almost too easy if you do this right. Re-test yourself after a few weeks. If it's an odd number round to the lower (If your best is 5 reps, do sets of 2)
- After getting a new record take a few days off and repeat the process until you hit 12+ reps as your BW (Bodyweight) record
- I suggest start adding weight if you can do 12-15 regular bodyweight pull ups (no Kip), once you added weight you should now be back to 3-5 reps, repeat the process and get stronger.
- Be patient and stick to the process instead of program hopping, someday it will feel like just getting repetitive work done but after a long period of this you will surpass a lot of people's progress.
If you can’t do a pull up:
If you can’t do a pull up, just start off by hanging on the bar for time. Do that for a couple of sets, this will gradually build your grip for it as well and get you more comfortable with putting your body in an optimal position to pull. After you get good at that, either stand on a box if the bar is too high or simply just jump and get to the top position of the pull up, basically the position where you actually completed a pull up with your chin over the bar. Hold that position, you may not be able to hold it for long at all, when you have to come back down, focus on lowering yourself slowly, this is doing a negative rep again. Practice all 3 things, hanging on the bar, holding on top of the bar, and lowering yourself slowly. Track the time for all of these 3 variables and keep trying to increase the time gradually. Also play with your grip a bit, lots of people are stronger with the chin up position initially. Practice hanging leg raise will help as well as your trunk being stronger it will put you in a better pull up position. Follow these tips and make sure you track your time and focus on beating them each time you train should get you to doing a solid pull up soon. There are also methods such as using resistance bands to assist you initially but I have found most people benefit the most from doing negative reps, just jump up and lower yourself slowly, after a couple of weeks when you ask them to go for a regular pull up/chin up usually they will get it.
If someone is stuck at doing 10 pull ups, and could not progress further, a good way would be to chop that number in half and simply do sets of 5 for the coming weeks. For example, instead of continuously banging your head straining to try to get more than 10 each time you grab the bar. Do sets of 5, maybe 8-10 sets of 5 reps, that will give you a total of around 50 reps, “tricking” your body into doing more work. Most people find that after weeks of doing this 2-3 times a week, they go take a few days off and re-test their one set repetition record there tends to be a notable increase in the number.