How to get better at Pull-ups?

I have 2 answers here: –

  1.  Slightly less professional – Stop being a fat shit
  2. Professional – Lose weight and get stronger

Outcome – Improve relative strength by losing fat (losing weight) and increasing muscle mass which will lead to increased strength gain.

So then,

How to do this? 

Firstly, put the cupcake down fatty! You need to lose weight, although I always say bodyweight is relative and you should be able to perform bodyweight exercises at 60kg or 120kg bodyweight, being lighter does help….

This isn’t a nutrition blog so I’m going to leave it there now


Getting stronger! ‘The Holy Grail’

No-one is strong enough..!

Yes, you heard right. Want to get a pull-up, get a stronger upper body full-stop.

Press overhead (vertical) – this is the direct opposite movement to a pull-up/chin-up therefore these are supporting muscles

Eg: – Standing Barbell Press – 3-4 sets x 5 reps

Press horizontally – The same as above really, this will; strengthen the supporting muscles of the shoulder and help the back with stability

Eg: – Flat DB Press – 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Pull horizontally – This is where you want to treat your back like a bodybuilder. Moderate weights, pulling controlled and squeezing each rep hard at the top.

Here, you’re building a base for your back muscles. ‘The bigger the foundations, the higher the peak’

Eg: – Chest-Supported Row – 3 sets x 12-15 reps (Pause at the top of each rep!)

Pull Vertical – Here you always look for quality and perfect reps. If you can’t already do a full pull-up, change to chin-ups, you then have multiple options.

1 – Static Holds – Build up to being able to hold the top position for 30seconds.

2 – Negatives – Get yourself to the top position and slowly lower yourself to the bottom – aim for 3-5 sets x 30-60s accumulative each set.

3 – Banded – I love and hate these. Used properly without treating it as a spring then they are fantastic. This helps you come out of the bottom position with ease and the exercise will get harder towards to top where you will be stronger. You can go slightly higher on reps here, 3 sets x 6-10 reps

4 – Chin-ups – These are slightly easier than Overhand Pull-ups but personally I prefer them. This about quality of reps here, low numbers and high sets. 8-12 sets x 1-3 reps

5 – Pull-ups (overhand grip) – By the time you of getting here you should be able to perform at least 3 sets x 8 reps of Chin-ups. Again we treat this as above and start with low reps and build up, always finish on a perfect rep and control to the bottom position.


PS – Next training post will be ‘The bigger the foundations, the higher the peak’

Chris Peace

Written by: Chris Peace

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