How many times have you looked at a workout and thought:
“But, I can’t do a pull-up!”
Too many times to count I bet. Don’t worry though, you’re not alone. For many of our athlete’s pull- ups are the one exercise that seems so far away.
To help get you closer to that first pull-up, we’ve put together a little guide to help break things down.
BREAKING DOWN THE MOVEMENT
Every movement has three phases a concentric, an isometric, and an eccentric. For the pull-up
they look like this:
Concentric: The act of pulling your chin over the bar. Isometric: the split second where you pause with your chin above the bar before descending into the bottom part of the pull-up. Eccentric: The act of lowering yourself back into the dead hang position.
To become efficient at the pull-up, we need to develop all three phases of the movement. However, for training purposes we are going to predominantly focus our attention on the eccentric part of the movement.
This program will not only help those looking for their first pull up, but it will also assist those who currently have a few kipping pull ups, but have not mastered the strict pull up. (Which is something we do not advise. Strict before kipping…always! Reason being your shoulder needs a lot of strength and stability for kipping – the same level required for a strict pull up! If you don’t have a strict pull up and your shoulders bother you during kipping, theres a very good chance the two are related.)
TRAINING THE CONCENTRIC
The actual pulling portion is the hardest part of the pull-up for almost everyone. But if we currently can’t pull our chins above the bar from a dead hang… how can we train this part of the pull-up effectively? The one that we have found works best is the seated pull up. By taking some of our body weight out of the equation, we are able to dial in on some of the components that give athletes the most difficulty. For example, the bottom of the pull up is where athletes tend to face the greatest challenge due to the lack of momentum or assist when initiating the pull. while seated pull ups do not start from a dead hang, they do require a dead stop at the bottom for athletes to work through. When done correctly it is a great training tool to develop strength and position!
TRAINING THE ECCENTRIC and ISOMETRIC
To train the eccentric effectively, we want to work on lower ourselves from the rig (chin over bar position) with control back to the dead hang while maintaining both proper form and a tight hollow position. This will be tough for most people at first. We recommend starting small with a 3- second descent. Once that becomes easy, athletes can increase their time under tension and increase the time domain to a 5 or even a 10 second count.
Now that we know the phases and what we are striving for in each, it’s time to formulate a plan of attack! Below is 5 week training plan designed to help athletes get their first strict pull up, and to help those with strict pull ups get more efficient at them & get more of them. Just because we get our first pull up, doesn’t mean we stop there – the more we can link, the strong we are! This strength will carry over and help when learning Butterfly pull ups, Chest to Bar, Bar Muscle ups, and even Ring Muscle ups!
Week 1 5-10 seconds Chin over bar hold x 3 5 Negatives – 3-5 second decent 10 Seated Pull ups x 2 Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days
Week 2 5-10 Second Chin over bar hold x 3 7 Negatives (3-5 second decent) 15 Seated Pull ups x 2 Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days
Week 3 10 Second Chin over bar hold x 3 8 Negatives (5 second decent) 10 Seated Pull ups (pull chest to bar) x 3 Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days
Week 4 5 Second Chin over bar hold 5 Second Hold at 90 x 4 10 Negatives (5 + second decent) 10 Seated Pull ups (pull chest to bar) x 4 Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days
Week 5 5 Second Chin over bar hold 5 second hold at 90 (wide grip) x 4 10 Negatives (5+ second decent) 10 Seated Pull ups (wide grip) x 4 Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days
Follow the plan above, and we promise you that your pull ups will dramatically improve! If you do the work above, please send us an email to let us know how it went! We would love to hear about your progress!
Disclaimer: This will help 90% of our athletes dramatically improve their pull up, but keep in mind this is a general program. General programs are meant to address common issues or faults in movement patterns. If you want individual advice or something tailored specifically to you, consider setting up some 1:1 sessions with one of our coaches! To arrange a person training session, please email us at Harboreast@industryathletics.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!