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5 Tips to help improve your Pull-ups

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How to Improve Your Pullup Game

-Maddie Prangley


Everyone has one movement that seems to be just out of reach and for many women that can be a pull up.  While scaling can be, wonderful nothing would feel better than to show that bar who’s boss! Well, have no fear!  For women, especially pull ups can be challenging to even the most fit athletes in the prime of their career and can take years of practice to get down pat.  If the pull up is the movement that you strive to conquer here are some specific exercises you can add into your routine to strengthen the right muscles and help you on your way to your goal.

  1. Switch it up: If you are used to pulling out a band every time you see “pull-ups” then try grabbing a box and working on your negatives.  To get the full benefit of jumping pull ups you need to not only hold your weight at the top but focus on slowly letting yourself down, you should be able to count to 5 or even 7 seconds from the top all the way to full extension at the bottom.  If you are used to doing jumping pull-ups/negatives, try using a band!  If you balance your time between those two, then throw in some ring rows.  What’s important is that you shouldn’t have a go-to scaling movement, each scaled version works on different weaknesses and all aspects need to strengthened to master the pull up.
  2. Step up your ring row game: start walking your feet forward on ring rows, trying to work your way towards having your feet elevated on a box.  Once you get your feet on a box, try decline ring rows, where your feet are elevated higher than the rings.  This will help to improve the pectoral muscles, along with biceps and triceps which are important to the pull-up movement.
  3. Work your lats: grab a band and put it on the pull up bar but instead of looping it around your feet, sit on the ground or a box and hold one side in each hand and pull down from a full extension at the top until your hands are about mid chest. This movement will strengthen the lats and the muscles in around your scapulae.
  4. Bis and tris: use dumbbells or a barbell to perform a bent over row, keeping your back straight and maintaining a bend in the knee, pull the bar or dumbbells from full extension into the torso. Biceps and triceps are an important part of the pull up and will play a key role in perfecting the movement.
  5. Grip strength: many times, one of the key boundaries people face in the pull up is a lack of grip strength. Try working your way up to being able to hold onto the bar for 45-60 seconds at a time.  You can start by doing a few sets at 15 seconds, then the next time attempting 20 seconds until you feel confident enough to hold on for a whole minute without breaking.