How to increase pull ups – This has to be one of the most common asked questions I get from customers. Right next to “do I have to do pull ups?”.
Pull ups are very important and an integral part of gaining strength in your back, shoulders and arms. So, yes you should do them. That doesn’t mean you have to rip out 20 in a set when you first are starting out. If you can’t do any then keep reading for my tips. Start small and have patience. When I first started I could only do 1 1/2 wide pull ups. I worked my way up to 13 in a set. I still want to up my number but if my math is correct that is an increase of 766%! I’ll take that any day. As Tony Horton says: “Rome was not built in a day”. How am I increasing my pullups?
How to increase pull ups – where do I start?
1.) How to increase pull ups? Do Negatives
When I was first working on increasing my pull ups, I was told by numerous people to do NEGATIVES! I had to try it especially since I was struggling to increase my numbers. I wasn’t making progress like I wanted. What is a “negative”? No, not the Debbie Downer that we all know. A negative pull up is when we life our body over the bar and then slowly let ourself down. Using a chair or some other type of assist is usually what is used to help up over the bar. Keep repeating these until you get stronger and can do more unassisted. I usually do unassisted to failure and then do several more negatives. Those last reps at failure are when we gain the most strength.
2.) How to increase pull ups? – Assisted
This can be with the use of resistance bands or some type of pull up assist. There are several types that are sold to help you to increaase your pullups. The Beachbody Chin-up Max is one of them. It’s a little tricky to use at first and takes some adjustments but once you have it set right it’s a tremendous help.
Using a chair works great too. Place one leg on the top of the chair and use it to pull yourself up over the bar. Push the chair further away from you to make it more difficult.
3.) How to increase pull ups? – Do MORE!
If you really want to increase your pull ups, you need to add reps. It’s as simple as that. What I started doing in addition to my regular P90X workouts was to add a pull up bar on the main level of my house. My workout area is in my basement where I have a pull up bar. But it’s out of the main traffic area of the house where I normall am later in the day. Now when I pass the pull up bar, I do 5-10 pull ups. On a good week, I do this several times throughout the night on alternating days. It doesn’t take me away from anything I am doing since it is literally seconds of my time. Doing this allows me to add anywhere from 50-75 or so extra pull ups depending on the day. The bar I use is easily placed over the door frame. It takes seconds to attach and take down. I noticed my number going up when I started adding this into my routine. It makes perfect sense. I am already walking by the door, might as well work on my goal!
4.) How to increase pull ups? – Add weight
Do this only when you feel the need to take it up a notch with the previous steps and are already using proper form. Form is key. If you arent’ doing them correctly you risk injury and really cheating yourself. An easy way to start is by adding a medicine ball in between your feet and increase from there. A weighted vest is another. More weight = more strength. Simple as that but master the first steps first!
Time to get to work
Just as in any other part of life, if you want to get better you need to do the work. You are going to jump from 1 to 20 pull ups overnight. It takes a consistent effort. Follow the above recommendations and pretty soon instead of wondering “How do I increase my pullups??”, you will be looking for a ad hoc pull up bar wherever you go just to get in a few extra!