4 Effective Strategies to Get your First Pull Up (Male or Female!)

January 1, 2016 by VAHVA Fitness

Here are 4 effective strategies that should allow anyone regardless of their age or gender achieve their first pull up!

It's 2016 and taking the challenge of pull up mastery is an awesome goal to kick-start your fitness and start a stronger healthier lifestyle. 

Pull up is one of the best exercises you can do for your upper body. The transfer to almost any physical activity or sport is tremendous, which is why it's considered one of the most functional exercises a person can do.

A properly done pull up will develop:

  • The entire back muscularity.
  • Biceps, posterior deltoids and forearms.
  • Abs.

Getting good at pull ups will not only make your muscles grow in size, but the strength developed by pull ups will transfer to every other pulling exercise out there. You can expect to be able to row, pull and curl much more weight than before. 

You can apply these tips to your gym workouts or home workouts. Owning a home pull up bar is probably one of the best investments you can do for health and fitness in 2016

The tips in this article will apply to both chin up (supinated grip) and pull up (pronated grip).

Watch our video below for the 4 strategies and commentary. More info below as well.

1. Inverted Rows

inverted false-grip
inverted bent-arm false grip

Inverted row is an exercise which will work the same muscles as the pull up. As a result, the strength built with inverted rows will directly translate into better pull up performance. 

Inverted row is also significantly easier, because you are only pulling a portion of your bodyweight with each repetition, whereas with the pull up you are pulling your entire bodyweight.

Start from straight arms and pull as high as you can. The feet position determines the difficulty of the inverted row. The smaller the angle, the less of your own bodyweight you are using.

Other pulling exercises that strengthen the back and biceps will also help. 

2. Negative Chin Up

negative chin up

Negative chin up will strengthen and train the muscles necessary to perform a full chin up which is why it's a fast and an effective way to get the actual full repetition. 

The great thing about negative chin ups is that your body will get accustomed to the stress and range of motion of the exercise, which will eventually help you to do a full repetition.

You can either jump or use a chair or a box and then lower yourself down slowly and controllably.

3. Isometric Chin Up

how to do a pull up

With the isometric chin up you are merely holding yourself up in the top chin up position. It's an isometric contraction which strengthens the muscles isometrically. 

Jump, use a chair or a box and then merely hold yourself up for 5 to 30 seconds per set. You'll notice that it is surprisingly tough and it definitely feels in the muscles. 

If the top position becomes easy, you can try different positions. For example, you can try the middle position which tends to be harder for most people, which makes it more effective. 

3. Assisted Chin Up

band assisted chin up

Assisted chin ups are probably the best way to get your first chin up. You decrease the amount of bodyweight you pull up by using assistance: elastic bands, a machine or a chair.

Elastic band is one of the most effective and easiest ways to add assistance. The amount of assistance is determined by where you stick the band (feet, groin) and how great is the resistance of the band.

Elastic bands can be bought almost anywhere, but you can get cheap and high quality elastic bands from Amazon.

The 4 strategies demonstrated here should help you to get your first pull up. The more you train, the faster the results will come (as long as you don't overtrain).

Train hard, stay safe.


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