F.I.T. Blog

Accomplish Your First Pull Up

Think back to middle school. There was that bar that hung ominously in the corner of the basketball court. Everyone dreaded the day when the PE teacher walked the group over to gather around it and test…you guessed it…the pull up!

And if you were one of those who was never able to achieve a pull up, I’m here to say, it can still be done! To squelch your demons for years past, you have to develop the back strength to actually pull yourself up, thus conquering the pull up.

Here’s three exercises to achieve just that:

  1. Jungle Gym Row (often called the TRX row but we have Jungle Gym straps at FIT!)
    1. Body locked into plank like position
    2. Start with your arms locked out in a hollow body position
    3. Pull until the shoulders have fully retracted and the body is as high as necessary without the shoulders rolling forward (just like the end range of a push up or bench press)
  2. Seated Lat Pulldowns
    1. We use bands as we don’t have cables thus we can program a BUNCH of reps 🙂
    2. Start with fully lengthened arms and your shoulders elevated (up towards ears)
    3. Depress the shoulders and continue pulling with the back muscles until the elbows get close to the sides of the body
  3. Assisted Chin Ups
    1. Usually easier to do due to biceps help
    2. Palms facing you so you can scratch your chin (Smith, S. 2016)
    3. Same motion as Lat Pulldown just in reverse.

The least important of these three is the assisted Chin Up. We need to develop strength in the weak areas of the body versus consistently doing poor repetitions of the movement we are chasing. You need to get the reps of rows and lat pulls done FREQUENTLY along with some hanging work.

The chin up, and eventually the pull up, will be your progress marker (test versus build concept). And you WILL get there 🙂