I’ve been trying to do a non-assisted pull-up now for what feels like forever. When I’m hanging from the bar, arms straight, I simply cannot get past slightly bending my arms. I’m not even close to raising my body up. At least a couple times a week, I try a pull-up. I have my husband help me by holding my legs and pushing me up. Once I get my arms bent around 90 degrees, I can pull myself up the rest of the way. It’s just that initial pulling that I’m stuck at.
Since I feel like I’m kind of getting nowhere with my pull-ups, I did some research on how you can push yourself to do one full pull-up. I found some information on the military’s website and since they’re the baddest and the bravest, I trust them. Here are some suggestions I found:
- Try Assisted Pull-Ups– From what I understand, you can do an assisted pull-up a couple different ways. There are usually assisted pull-up machines in most gyms so you could start with that. Another suggestion, if you can do it, is resting your feet on a chair. This way reduces the weight being pulled so it’s easier than a normal pull-up, but it’s still a challenge. Finally, you can have a partner help you pull yourself up. This is what I’ve been doing. I find this really difficult still so I might incorporate these other methods into my training.
- Lat Pull Downs– This works a lot of the same muscles that a pull-up works so it’s a good strengthening method. You can usually find these machines in most gyms. It’s recommended to use a weight that’s around 50% of your body weight.
- Negative Pull-Ups- This, I can actually do. You start out in a flexed arm hang. A flexed arm hang is basically the climax of a pull-up: you’re at the top of the bar holding yourself up. Trying to hold yourself up for about 10 seconds, then slowly lower down. I’ve been doing these more often because I’ve heard they really help when trying to do a pull-up!
- Partial Pull-Up– I’m guessing this is right before you’re able to complete a full pull-up. This is the part I cannot do right now. In the starting position with arms straight, nothing assisting you, pull yourself up halfway then back down. That initial pull is the hardest part for me.
The military’s website also suggests a few other exercises for pull-up prep.
- Bicep Curls-They recommend three sets of ten or fifteen. Biceps are one of the many muscles used when performing a pull-up.
- Bent Over Rows– Try 3 sets of 10-15. This exercise targets back muscles that are used during a pull-up.