Whether you can hit 20 or 0, you’re not going to master your pull up by doing rep after rep after rep. The key to mastering the pull up is breaking it down into multiple key areas. Grip, Muscle endurance & Strength
You need to make sure your grip can crush cans of beer like Stone Cold Steve Austin! But before we do that we need to
know that there are more than one type of grip infact there are three
The Crush Grip – The grip between your fingers and palms, think crushing a can!
The Pinch Grip – The grip between your fingers/thumbs, think holding a deck of cards and applying pressure!
The Support Grip – The most common grip which is used when holding onto something, think deadhangs/farmers carry!
The support grip will give you the most bang for buck, but its not a bad idea to be nailing all three of these to ensure no weaknesses and that you can hold onto that bar for days, if not weeks. But how do you train these grips may you ask? Well here’s some moves to get your grip strong!
The Farmers Carry – This hits the support grip and crush grip
Deadhangs – This hitsthe support grip and crush grip
Plate pinch carries – This hits the pinch grip
Towel Hangs – This hits the crush grip
Incorporate these into your workout routine for a set amount of time, say 30 seconds, making sure the weights are pretty heavy and increase the time over a period of 3 – 4 weeks.
These moves will help build some muscle endurance using the same movement patterns but in a way thats easier than a strict pull up. The aim here is to ensure that the muscles used have enough muscle endurance to keep the pull ups going.
Negative pulls ups / Eccentric lower – Start at the top of the bar in a pull up position and slowly lower your self down engaging your upper back
Assisted pull ups – Use a resistance band or resistance machine to take the pressure off a normal pull up and aim to hit more reps than you can do strict
Inverted Rows – Hold onto the bar in a squat rack with your back facing the ground, and pull yourself up to the bar
Incorporate these into your routine by hitting either a few more than your current max pull up rep range, or if you can, try to hit 12+ reps, 2 – 3 sets will be enough to see you progress over a few weeks
Building strength in the muscles associated with the movement will help your body be able to either finally lift you over that bar OR more times than you can dream of. But first we need to understand which muscles a pull up uses? Well there’s a hell of a lot, which is why its considered such a hard move, but, we’ll mainly concentrate on the below, which will in turn hit some of the others also
Latissimus Dorsi – Upper back
Trapezius – Upper back
Biceps – Arms
So what moves can we throw down in the gym to help build these bad boys into pull up machines!
Lat Pull Downs – Lat pull down machine
Bent Over Row – Dumbbells or Cable row machine
Barbell Shrugs – Barbell or Dumbbells
Bicep Curls – Dumbbells or Barbell
Incorporate these into your routine with a 5 x 5 to ensure you are building strength, progress this over a few weeks, adding weight and dropping reps if needed and you’ll be on course to success!
If you’ve use all the above advise and you’re hitting new PB’s how about you work towards hitting some of these bad ass advanced movements, they will make you the envy of everyone in the gym for sure! Please note – These are HARD!
Weighted Pull Ups – Get yourself some weight and see how much you can carry whilst performing a pull up
Muscle Ups – We’ve all seen these in the local crossfit gym, well they can correlate well to getting over a wall in OCR, so may be worth giving them a go!
One Arm Pull Ups – These are ULTRA HARD! if you can do these, well your F’in awesome.
Archer Pull Ups – These are a fantastic way to build up to your One Arm Pull Up, but again they are HARD!
You could also do those Kipping ones… but nobody wants to be seen doing those…
As always, hit me up if you want any advice, feel free to sign up to the mailing list and share the love!