The Best Way to Build up Your Strength for Doing Pull-Ups

The best way to build up to doing pull-ups, also known as “chin-ups,” is following a simple five-step, strength-building regimen. The steps listed below will strengthen the proper muscles and help you work toward doing pull-ups the right way.

Step 1:

Step One involves trying to hold muscle-contracting chin-up positions, until you are able to keep your chin above the bar for sixty seconds. First, while standing on a chair or stool with your chin at or above bar-level, grip the bar with your palms facing toward you (underhand grip). Next, pull down and back, tighten your core and step off the platform. Attempt to keep your chin above the bar as long as possible. Whenever your chin falls below it, rest for two minutes. Keep trying until you are able to keep your chin above the bar for sixty seconds. Then, move on to the next step.

Step 2:

During the Second Step, you develop your ability to hold and gradually lower your body weight over fifteen-second periods. The goal is to become capable of performing three sets of three of these fifteen-second repetitions (reps). Start by standing on something to position your chin at or above bar-level and holding the bar with an underhand grip. Then, step off the platform, holding your chin at bar-level, and slowly lower your body over a fifteen-second period. After completing this action, rest for a minute and you have completed one rep. Work toward performing three sets of three of these reps, resting for two minutes between each set. Proceed to Step Three once you achieve this goal.

Step 3:

The Third Step has you performing resistance band-assisted chin-ups. Its objective is to get you adjusted to completing three sets of eight resistance band-assisted pull-ups. Tie a band with the least resistance necessary to the pull-up bar, creating a stirrup-like loop. Next, after you have a firm underhand grip on the bar, position the loop under your feet or behind your knees. While crossing your ankles, try to perform three sets of eight reps. Rest for two minutes between each set and each rep should include the fifteen-second lowering step. Once able to accomplish this feat, try to do it using only one knee or foot in the makeshift stirrup. Upon achieving this milestone, move on to Step Four.

Step 4:

In Step Four, you will do partner-assisted pull-ups without resistance bands. The aim is to successfully perform as many chin-ups as you can this way. Your partner will only facilitate your ascent to the bar during reps by pushing you upwards a bit from the hips. Rest for two minutes when you get tired and then do two more sets. After doing three complete sets, continue to the final step.

Step 5:

The Fifth Step is when you successfully perform totally unassisted pull-ups. Ultimately, you want to be able to do three sets of ten (or more) chin-ups. First, do this using the underhand grip. Then, advance to doing it using the overhand (outward-facing palm) grip.