Gymnastics For Mom And Dad: What If You Can Only Do One Pull Up?

Exercise Add comments

Chances are you’re a victim of a disease plaguing American gym-goers.

You can only do one pull up.

Now, that’s not bad, but it could be better. Especially for the parents of Carson City Gymnastics athletes. The girls are rocking out pull up exercises at gymnastics class and we skip them at the gym and head over the lat pull down machine, head hung down in shame.

So, how can you increase from one pull up to a more respectable number?

The program below, that’s how!

Add this three exercise workout to your routine twice a week for 8 weeks and you’ll definitely show improvements in your pull ups.

Carson City Gymnastics Pull Up Exercise One: Band Assisted Pull Up


This great exercise not only allows you to do full pull ups, it also more accurately follows the classic movement than the assisted-pull up machines found at commercial gyms. (If you have access to the machine but not the bands, use the machine, but go light on the counterbalance weight)

Directions: Loop one end of the band around an overhead bar and then pull it through the other end of the band, cinching it tightly to the bar. Grab the bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip, place your knees in the loop of the band, and hang down at arm’s length. Now perform a pull up. Do 2 sets of 6 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.

Carson City Gymnastics Pull Up Exercise Two: Eccentric (Negative) Pull Up


Focusing on the lowering portion of the pull up will increase your grip strength, shoulder stability, and back strength – 3 keys to improving the movement.

Directions: Place a chain under you pull up bar and stand on it to raise your body so that the top of your chest is at bar level. Then grab hold of the bar and lower yourself in pull up position as slowly as you can, counting the time it takes until your arms are straight. It is key to lower yourself at the same rate from start to finish.

Do 2 mega-slow reps, resting 60 seconds between them. When you’re able to take 30 seconds to lower your body, or your combined lowering time for both sets is 45 seconds, add a third set.

Carson City Gymnastics Pull Up Exercise Three: Fast Lat Pulldown


This exercise will train your fast twitch muscles fibers, which are essential for a beautiful pull up.

Directions: Grab a lat pulldown bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Then instead of sitting in the machine, position yourself on your knees in front of it, your body forming a straight line from hands to shoulders to knees. Your arms should be completely straight. Without leaning back, pull the bar down to your chest as fast as possible, and then allow the bar to quickly raise back to the starting position in a controlled manner. That equals 1 rep.

  • Choose the heaviest weight that allows you to complete 4 reps
  • Do 10 sets of 2 reps each, resting 60 seconds between each set
  • Each week, shorten your rest periods by 15 seconds.
  • In week 5, do a single set of as many repetitions as you can
  • In week 6, start the progression over again with a heavier weight

After 8 weeks on this program, test yourself on your regular pull up. It is common to reach 4 or 5 pull ups (from being only able to complete 1!) in just 2 months, a 400-500% improvement!

Comments are closed.