In the past few weeks I have been asked numerous times, “how do I improve my pull-ups?”
Members are frustrated that they are still using bands. This frustration isn’t simply because they are using bands; it’s that they’re using bands and not improving.
One of my favorite quotes simplifies action steps, “if you want it, work for it.”
Sure you will improve just by following our programming, but it takes more than this to move past your GOAT. Not just with pull-ups, but anything that you want to achieve in the gym takes EXTRA effort.
Strict pull-up breakdown:
1. Engage your lats. Pull your scaps down your back. Think of pulling your shoulders into your back pockets. This loads you properly. You can also think about pulling your shoulders away from your ears, making your neck long.
2. Get into the “hollow-body” position. We talk about the hollow body position while doing many movements in the gym. It’s basically squeezing your abs and your butt until you are in the shape of a banana. Think about someone pushing on the bottom of your feet as you are hanging on the bar. You want to be as rigid as possible. If you are loose or your knees are forward or back, your partner pushing on your feet will not raise you an inch.
3. Pulling. With your lats already engaged, as you pull up the top of your chest is aiming at the bar. You have earned a rep once your chin passes the bar and not until then.
4. The negative. Some people think that the pull-up is over once your chin is over the bar. No siree. You have to maintain your hollow body position all the way down until your arms are fully extended.
Always, always, always execute strict pull-ups before moving onto “kipping pull-ups”. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
What can you work on at open gym or after class to aide your quest of completing a strict pull-up?
- Banded pull-ups- Without fail EVERYDAY you are in the gym take 5-10 extra minutes to do 3×3, 5×5 pull-ups with a band. You need to increase your volume in order to make quicker strides.
- Jumping pull-ups- While hanging on to the bar, jump half way up to the bar and pull yourself over the other half.
- Negatives- Use a high enough box so that you are able to jump yourself all the way over the bar. Hold this isometric pose for as long as you can. As your arms start to straighten, fight for all you’re worth to take as long as possible to drop. Once you advance with this, you can add weigh to increase strength.
- Grip strength- You need to increase your grip strength. You can do this simply by hanging on the bar as long as you can.
- Partner assisted pull-ups- Have a friend push on the bottom of your feet to get you over the bar.
Go get some!