Often thought of as an exercise only men can do, the pull up is invaluable to men and women and once mastered you can do it just about anywhere. This month we will give you options so you can master the unassisted full version of this exercise. As you master each stage, move on to the next and before you know it (okay it may take you a good couple of months) you will be performing full pull ups unassisted. We recommend getting a PT or gym instructor to check your form and if you are new to exercise, haven’t exercised for quite some time or have underlying medical problems the assisted pull up machine may be a better place to start.
Stage One: Bent-Arm Hang.
Stand on a bench/box under a pull-up bar (or a bar at a children’s playground). Grip the bar with an overhand grip so your chin is just above the level of the bar. Bend your knees up, taking your feet off the ground/bench/box and hold for as long as you can. Rest and repeat 3-5 times. Once you have mastered 30 second holds – you are ready for stage two.
Stage Two: Negative Pull Ups
From the bent-arm hang, lower yourself down as slowly as possible until your arms are fully extended. Place your feet back down and return to the starting position. Repeat 3-5 times and once you can do five sets of three move to the next stage (aim for a lower time of around 20 seconds).
Stage Three: The Mini Pull Up
From the bent-arm hang, lower yourself five centimetres below the bar and then pull yourself back up to the starting position. You are working towards three sets of five reps and slowly but surely you are working towards lowering yourself until your arms are fully extended. Once you have mastered this you are ready for the for the final product. Always think of drawing your shoulder blades down and together, maintain neutral spinal and head position with your chest should be slightly lifted. Really focus on your posture throughout these progressions ensuring your shoulders do not roll forward and your head doesn’t stick out like a turtle. Remember you are in complete control throughout each progression and movement. Go forth and conquer the pull up.