Pull-up Progression Plan: Learning To Pull Yourself Up!

Pull-up Progression Plan: Learning To Pull Yourself Up!

Authored by Marshall on February 21, 2023

Curious about how to get better at pull-ups? Don’t sit around wondering—start moving! At Jack City Fitness, our fitness pros have years of experience with this famous compound exercise. Our coaches have plenty of pull-up tips for you. Today, we’re sharing concrete steps to safely and effectively work your way toward the perfect pull-up. If you have any additional questions, get in touch with the Jack City Fitness crew, because we have answers! 

How to Do a Pull-Up: The Basics

There isn’t much mystery around the name pull-up. It’s pretty self-explanatory, actually. The pull-up got its moniker because athletes must physically pull themselves up to perform this workout correctly. The result is generally strengthened upper body muscles.

A basic pull-up is done with a piece of fixed gym equipment, like a pull-up bar. It is performed as such:

  1. Stand beneath a pull-up bar and grip it underhand. Your hands should be parallel to your shoulders. 
  2. On an exhale, tighten your core, bring your shoulders back, and lift yourself up. Your feet will no longer be touching the floor.
  3. Keeping your upper-body muscles engaged, lift yourself up so that your chin clears the pull-up bar. You will need to bend your elbows to do this properly.
  4. Unbend your elbows to lower your feet back toward the mat. 
  5. Congratulations—you just did a pull-up!

As you can see, this is a fairly straightforward workout that can be performed at practically any gym and even some playgrounds and beaches! However, despite how simple this workout is, a pull-up is not always easy to do, especially for newcomers. To properly achieve a pull-up, athletes must be physically ready and fit enough to do so, and they must always use the correct form. This is why we often recommend that athletes progress their way into classic pull-ups instead of just jumping (or pulling themselves) in.

Your Pull-Up Progression Guide

When training, pull-ups might be a challenge. While some newcomers to this workout may be able to smash a pull-up on their first try, many more will not. That’s why we always recommend that athletes progress their way to pull-ups. This is done by first performing beginner-friendly, modified versions of a pull-up. After seeing success in these “alternate” pull-up varieties, you can then perform the traditional workout with better form and less difficulty. 

There are lots of ways to progress to a beautiful pull-up. To find the best pull-up progression plan for your needs, goals, and fitness level, we recommend chatting with your workout coach. They’ll be able to help you decide which modified pull-up variations will help you best meet your goals. In the meantime, take a look at some of our tips for pull-up progressions:

  • Start With a Band

Resistance bands are a fantastic tool for exercise progression and modification. In terms of pull-ups, you can tie one end of your band to your workout bar and then place one of your feet in the bottom loop. When you then perform your pull-ups, you will feel less resistance and better nail the form.

  • Go “Negative”

There’s nothing negative about this modification! This version of a pull-up has athletes begin from a box, chair, or footrest rather than a mat or floor. It is easier for new athletes to master than the traditional variety but still strengthens the same muscles. 

  • Hone Your Grip

Better grip strength will lead to better pull-ups. You can practice this in your progression by “hanging” from your pull-up bar. 

  • Don’t Give Up

Progressions take time. Don’t expect this to be a week of work. It will likely take around a month of daily practice to progress your way up to an unassisted pull-up. But it’ll be worth it when you smash it!

Hang in There!

We’re here to help you grow. Are you ready to get fit? 

Your personalized workout plan is waiting for you at Jack City Fitness, along with everything else you need to succeed as an athlete, from elite-level coaches and classes to 24/7 access to all of our Partners. 

Get in touch with our crew today by calling (208) 999-1111. We’ll invite you to our Boise health center for a FREE fitness consultation, an opportunity to meet our crew, and a tour of the facility. Once you sign up to become a Partner, we can start working on your push-up progression right away, as well as any other goals you have.

We can’t wait to meet you and help you see RESULTS!



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