Pin Me

How to Do More Pull Ups

written by: Fitnessmom • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 6/29/2011

If you are one of the many who have a hard time getting more reps in when doing pull ups, or would like to be able to do even one pull up, then look no further. Here is your comprehensive guide on how to do more pull ups.

  • slide 1 of 5

    The Star of Workouts

    The pull up is rated as being one of the best upper body exercises for building strength, size, and overall definition. Many men, and even some women, view the pull up as a true show of strength and overall fitness. This exercise is not only functional in daily activity, but an essential tool to boost athleticism. Learn how to do more pull ups and really be the envy of your friends.

  • slide 2 of 5

    Definition of a Proper Pull Up

    This exercise proves upper body strength and flexibility, targeting mostly the back, as well as several assisting muscles. A traditional pull up is done using an overhand grip on a bar, beginning from a fully extended, hanging position. Using the arms to pull the body up, with the chin coming over the bar, and then letting the arms come back to a fully extended position. The legs do not swing or force to help in this exercise.

  • slide 3 of 5

    Basic Do's and Don'ts

    Upper body strength is the primary element needed to do pull up exercises. Anyone can do them if they know proper technique, regardless of their size or gender. Check your posture first when beginning this exercise. Are the arms extended in a dead hang? Is the chest forward from the shoulders? Are the legs bent and ankles crossed? Doing this will make a difference in capability of doing several repetitions of pull ups.

    Another tip is to leave the assisted pull up machines alone and just stick with the real deal. These machines will not recruit all the muscles necessary to doing full body weight pull ups. The best way to being able to do more pull ups is to practice pull ups! Start with a dead hang on the bar, and practice doing "negatives" by using a stationary support to get to the top of the exercise with arms bent in a chin up position. Then slowly come down to arms fully extended position.

    If you have a partner to hold your lower body in position, this is helpful as well. As this becomes easier, progress to coming half way down and back up to bent position. There are other exercises that can be incorporated into your back workout, such as lat pulldowns and rowing, to help strengthen the back in addition, but it is recommended that you always start with your pull ups, and do as many as you can first.

  • slide 4 of 5

    Increasing Repetitions

    Now that you can do a pull up with proper form, you are ready to know just how to do more pull ups. Begin by working your way to performing 5 sets of 10 with as little rest between as possible. This will help fatigue muscles, conditioning them to get used to the movement and become stronger. Once you can do a few sets of 10-12 repetitions, it is time to add some weight to your pull ups. This will increase your overall number that you are able to perform at one time. To do this, add a small amount of weight at a time, and lower your repetition range back down to 3-5 and complete 3-5 sets.

    If you find, as most people do, that there is a "sticking point" or area of the movement that is weak, work to improve that are first before adding weight to your pull ups. Doing weighted pull ups will make your body weight pull ups easier, and soon you'll be the man (or woman) that busts out 20 at a time!

  • slide 5 of 5