When it comes to bodyweight exercises, there is none that stand out quite like the pull up or chin up
NB: A Pull up is when your palms are facing away from you and a chin up is when your palms are facing towards you
Pull ups are one of those exercises that we all want to be good at and more to the point we SHOULD be good at. We should be able to repetitively lift our own bodyweight. Unfortunately, as we get a bit older pull ups seem to simply get harder and harder, but they are trainable and there is no reason that you can’t improve your number of pull ups, or even if you have never been able to do a pull up in your life, get your first ever pull up.
I like to use pull ups as a great gage of progress with your training. Start by either measuring, max number of pull ups or if they can do over 6 pull ups use max load used for 6 reps (those that are good at pull ups, I add additional weight to them to see how heavy they can lift for 6 reps).
After a certain period, e.g. 12 weeks if you have improved your pull ups then most likely you have improved your body composition and your strength.
Here is how you can progress your Pull Ups over 4 months to see great improvements on your pull up score. Simply add these exercises at the start of your current upper body routine 2 times per week.
Weeks 1 – 4
Eccentric Supinated Grip Chin Up
4 x 30s
2 x per week
To perform this exercise, you are going to start at the top part of the chin up, and only perform the lowering phase of the movement. Your goal is for this movement to take 30 seconds. See video below as an example of a 10 second eccentric chin up
Weeks 5 – 8
Neutral Grip Chin Up (band assisted if needed)
4 x 4 – 6 reps
Neutral Grip Lat Pull Down
4 x 10 – 12 reps
2 x per week
Do these exercises in a superset fashion where you move form exercise to do the next without rest. When you have completed the neutral grip lat pull down, you then rest for 90 seconds before repeating the two exercises starting with the neutral grip chin up.
Weeks 9 – 12
Fat Grip Isometric Eccentric Only Pull Up
5 sets of 1 rep
Superset this exercise with an upper body pushing exercise, e.g. Dips. Resting 90s between each exercise
Each rep starts at the top. Lower yourself to just above halfway and hold for 8s, then lower yourself just below halfway and holds for 8s, then lower yourself to just above full extension and hold for another 8s before lowering all the way to full extension and that is the completion of the set.
Weeks 13 – 16
6 sets 2-4 reps (add weight if possible)
2 x per week
At the end of the 16 weeks re-test your pull up score
Feel free to let me know how you get on, as I love to hear from you