Awesome Exercise: Mastering The Pull Up

Exercise, Strategies Add comments

Nine people emailed me yesterday asking if Wold Fitness has a plan for increasing pull ups.

Of course,” I said, “but why all the interest?

Turns out some morning show had reported that pull ups are the number one exercise for burning calories in your upper body.

Now, I think there are exercises that burn more calories, but the pull up IS one of my very favorite movements.

It tones and strengthens your back and arms (backless dresses, ladies?)

How To Build Your Pull Up

First, work on losing fat.  The heavier you are the harder it is going to be to pull yourself up.

Second, if you can’t do any pullups yet, start training with negatives.

A negative chin up is simple: Grab on to the bar, jump up, and lower yourself as slowly as possible.  Try to take 8 seconds on the way down.  Then jump back up and do it again.

Work up to 3 sets of 8 reps twice a week.

Once you are able to rock out 3 sets of negatives, you should be able to bust out at least one pull up.

Here is the plan that will take you from one pull up to five in only 8 weeks:

Do This Program Twice A Week

Week 1: 4×1

Week 2: 1×2, 3×1

Week 3: 2×2, 2×1

Week 4: 3×2, 1×1

Week 5: 4×2

Week 6: 1×3, 3×2

Week 7: 2×3, 2×2

Week 8: 3×3, 1×2

BAM, now you can do five pull ups.  Congratulations!

After this the keys to improving your pull ups are CONSISTENCY and VARIETY.

One of the reasons I love pullups and chinups so much is that there are endless variations to play with.

Rope Pullups

Clapping Pullups

Reaching Pullups

Ballistic Grip Pull Ups

Once you’ve worked on your pullups and chinups for a while, test yourself for your max number in a set.  NO CHEATING by not straightening your arms at the bottom or kipping yourself up!

Here are the standards I use with my athletes (from the legendary strength coach Mike Boyle):

MEN (pullups):

  • World Class: 25 and up
  • National Class: 20-25
  • College Level: 15-20
  • High School: 10-15

WOMEN (chin ups)

  • World Class: 15 and up
  • National Class: 10-15
  • College Level: 5-10
  • High School: 3-5

There you go!  A complete, proven plan for taking you from zero pullups to five.

Get after it!

~ Luke Wold

PS – After a few hours of filming these exercise videos for you, I was too tired to even grab the pullup bar…

2 Responses to “Awesome Exercise: Mastering The Pull Up”

  1. Wold Fitness Notebook » Blog Archive » Pull Up Or Chin Up? (And How To Improve Both) Says:

    […] bike… all of these activities tighten your shoulder joint and can lead to injury with both pull ups and chin […]

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    […] Regular pull-ups […]