Doing pullups is hard and if you cannot do a pullup, you are not alone. Many people complain that they cannot do a pullup and therefore resign themselves to never doing one. However, learning to do a pullup is just a few steps away. All you need is some time and some effort and a good coach. Here are 10 things you should do to perfect your pullup.
1. Buy a pullup bar. In order to learn to do a pullup, you will need practice and you cannot practice without one. There are many options to choose from. Get one that fits your budget and your space.
2. Grease the Groove. Doing a little a lot is the best way to practice. Set up your new pullup bar and every time you walk under it make a habit of practicing a few of the exercises below.
3. Body Rows. These are a great exercise that you can totally scale and use to build the upper body pulling strength that you need.
4. Jumping Pullups. These are surprisingly potent. They allow you to perform a tremendous amount of work in relatively little time, thus they have a tremendous metabolic cost. Use these to get through some high volume workouts.
5. Static Holds. Isometric work is great for building up the contractile potential of muscles. Practice holding the top, middle and bottom positions for as long as possible.
6. Negatives. Once you can do static holds at all three positions for 10 seconds then start at the top and slowly lower yourself down. These will take a toll on you so grease the groove with them or save them for the end of your workout.
7. Stretch Band Pullups. Using bands to assist your pullup is another fabulous way to build up to your first unassisted pullup. Start with a heavy band and when you can do 15 unbroken reps with it, then switch to the next band.
8. Set a goal. Setting your goals is must. Give yourself a time frame to get your first pullup. Make some short term goals along the way. As you get good at one variation keep finding ways to make it more challenging so you keep progressing.
9. Plan to succeed. They say that, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Work a daily pullup practice into your plan.
10. Learn to kip. Some people get a kipping pullup before they get a dead-hang pullup and others get a dead-hang pullup first. In any case you should endeavor to start this kipping progression as soon as you can.
Be persistent because all the hard work will pay off. For a more detailed discussion of the pullup, you should read this Crossfit Journal article.
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