Ah, one of life’s most mystifying exercises. Some dudes can do 25 in a row – I’m talking strict. Some guys can put a 45 pound plate around their waist and bang out ten. Some very muscled males can do one, if any. When it comes to the fairer sex, there are some awesomely strong ladies who have mastered this move. And then there are many women struggle to do a pull-up at all, let alone multiples.
So what’s the deal?
Well, I’m not going to get into all the anatomy and science-y stuff. (I’m about action here, and I know the average person just gets bored by too much talk anyway.) So, I am just going to give you my biggest secret to conquering the pull-up.* Ready?
Do a pull-up.
Yep, that’s it. That’s the big #1 tip to master a pull-up!
You have to do them. You have to practice. You have to groove this movement.
A couple of years ago, I had a big ol’ January goal to be able to do a pull-up. I spent tons of time in the gym working back and shoulders, trying to get strong enough to do one. I did some assisted pull-ups and band-assisted pull-ups too, but I never just jumped on the bar and tried to do one. Duh.
Two years later, I regularly complete four sets of four pull-ups each and every week. It did not take me all this time to be able to do it either; one day I just walked into the gym and said, whatever, let’s do this. I grabbed the bar and pulled myself up as many times as I could, which was about 1.5. Then I just kept practicing. Not long after, I had no trouble with multiple sets of multiple pull-ups. I kind of amazed myself at how simple it really was.
So if you are one of those people who tells yourself this exercise is a big deal and you can never do it, 1) knock it off. And 2) go do a pull-up. Right now.
*Bonus! #2 tip to master the pull-up: Use an underhand or neutral grip to start, a variety of the pull-up usually referred to as the chin-up. This allows more arm muscle involvement to help out the back. Voila!
Are you a pull-up master? Do you plan on becoming one?