Accomplishing your first pull-up is a life event you’ll never forget! However, the road can be bumpy and often the end can feel out of reach.
It’s common to work for months to years with little progress and if you don’t have a plan, let’s face it, is hard to make it a reality.
There are many benefits to being able to perform a pullup, including strength in the shoulders & back, injury prevention, or the having capability to play with your kids.
My goal is to help you build a plan that is simple, effective and time efficient for you to get your first pullup!
STEP 1 – DETERMINE THE LENGTH OF YOUR PULL UP TRAINING PROGRAM
The most common barriers to pull-ups are upper body strength and higher body mass index.
Pick a realistic time frame that will be long enough for you to build strength and/or improve body composition.
For strength building purposes an 8-12 week program is generally recommended.
If you need to improve both strength and body composition, an 8-24 week program containing nutrition, strength, and conditioning components may be needed.
Note – If you need assistance with a game-plan to decrease body composition, schedule a free consultation with our nutrition coach HERE.
STEP 2 – DETERMINE HOW MANY TRAINING SESSIONS PER WEEK YOU’LL COMMIT TO THE PROGRAM
Building strength for a pull-up can be tricky and if overdone can lead to injury.
To safely improve strength without causing injury, I recommend a maximum of two sessions per week with one to two recovery days in between sessions.
Note – If you’re following a program like CrossFit which is generally more shoulder intensive and varied, ask your coach to modify your CrossFit workouts so you don’t overload your shoulders. You can schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with a Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness coach HERE.
STEP 3 – CHOOSE EXERCISES
Performing a pull-up requires building strength in the back, lats and shoulders.
My favorite, most effective, and time efficient exercises are bent-over rows, ring rows, seated pull-ups, inverted rows, rack pull-ups and negative pull-ups.
Commit one session per week to vertical pulling exercises and one session per week to horizontal pulling exercises.
STEP 4 – SET A FOUNDATION
In any program it’s important to lay a foundation before beginning the meat of the program.
I like to include a 2-4 week foundation phase into any training program I’m building.
The foundation phase is important for building a neurological connection (training the muscles to fire properly), gaining better control of your body and gaining confidence in the exercises you’re performing.
This phase generally consists of 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
STEP 5 – BUILD MUSCLE
After you’ve finished the foundation phase of your program, add a hypertrophy (muscle-building) phase.
The hypertrophy phase is important for adding lean body mass to hold onto strength in the future.
In this phase include 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps for each exercise for 3-5 weeks.
STEP 6 – ADD STRENGTH
Now it’s time to increase tensile (high end) strength to the lean muscle you’ve built.
Building strength can take time. Depending on the person, this phase can last 4-6 weeks and is sometimes repeated.
For the strength building phase include 4-7 sets of 1-5 reps.
If you’re still not sure where to start, I have done all the work for you!
The MY FIRST PULLUP PROGRAM is a 12 week supplemental program containing all the tools you need to accomplish your first pull-up. It includes two strength training sessions per week with exercise demo videos designed for beginner to advanced fitness levels.
Yes! I’m ready to commit to my first muscle-up!
- Gain access to the full MY FIRST PULL-UP PROGRAM HERE.
Note – this program is intended to be a supplemental program to your current exercise routine. I highly recommend meeting with a personal trainer or a coach to modify your current exercise routine as needed!
- Schedule a free consultation with a LNF coach HERE.
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier