There is no secret or magic trick to increasing the pull-ups, but it’s not as difficult as many people believe. You may think that I am another trainer who cannot relate to your situation, but I can. I still remember struggling to do 2-3 pull-ups.
I struggled because I wasn’t training for them, and when I was training for pull-ups, I wasn’t training properly.
I’m afraid a lot of people make the same mistakes that I’ve made. I want to share how to skip the frustration and cope with the pulling up.
Your training should match your goals
Most of the fitness industry is all about HIIT, cardio, bodybuilding, or training until you puke.
I’m not a fan of this, not because there is something wrong with these training styles, but because these methods are getting the most attention. There are so many different ways to exercise, but your exercise should always be in line with your goals.
The goal here is to increase the number of pull-ups you can do in a row and the methods I mentioned are not working.
When I was learning to do pull-ups::
- I did it the usual way with 3 sets of 5-10 reps.
- The goal is to do 3 sets of 5 reps.
- Then every week or two, increase 3×6, 3×7 reps until you reach your goal.
- What generally happens is that you can probably do five reps on the first set, but after that you will even have difficulty doing 2-3 reps.
- That was what happened to me, and I would hit plateaus again and again – get stuck on the same repetitions for a while.
If I could do it all over again I would use a technique called Grease The Groove (GTG). This is how I teach my clients to do their first pull-up and increase the amount they can do in a row.
Grease the groove for better pull-ups
- For example, suppose you can only do four repetitions in a row.
- Throughout the day, you will do multiple sets (4-7 sets) at 50% of your maximum, which is the equivalent of two reps.
- If one rep is your maximum, then do multiple sets of one rep.
- Let rest for at least an hour between sets.
- Do this 4-6 days a week.
After two weeks, test your pull-ups to see how many you can do in a row.
Learning a new movement pattern is like learning a new skill.
The more you do something right, the better you get at it. Performing the repetitions at 50% intensity will limit fatigue and focus more on correct technique.
It won’t feel like you’re doing much, but your body learns the movement. Frequency and consistency are king when it comes to learning.
In a week you will accumulate a lot of repetitions.
You can do this in addition to your regular exercise. However, if you fail to recover between sessions, you reduce the workload.
Get Your First Pull Up
If you can’t do a pull-up yet, you can still use this technique. In addition to your regular pull-up exercise 2-3 times a week, do GTG with these exercises. Focus on one for two weeks, rest a week, and then do GTG with the other.
Jumping negative pull-ups::
- Jump up as much as it takes to pull yourself up.
- Try to drive slowly when you come back down.
- You might fall straight down at first, but as you get stronger you can go slower.
- If the jump is too big, jump out of a box to help you.
Jump up and hold on to the top of the pull-up. Try to keep your chin above the bar.
You can handle your body weight
Some of you may think that you were never meant to be or will never be strong enough to do pull ups, but you are. Put aside the negative thoughts and feelings and get the job done.
Pull-ups are a natural movement that your body is well capable of.
Exercise your pull-ups frequently throughout the week and focus on correct technique. Otherwise, you’re just cheating on yourself. Be patient and you will master your pull-ups. You can also use GTG to improve other exercises.