Athletes have the hardest time with this one exercise.




Pull-ups are a survival skill. Pulling strength is extremely important for all athletes. We need to be able to hang and support our own body weight, and if we need to pull or climb ourselves to safety. For survival and of course for performance. Having strong pulling muscles helps stabilize the shoulder and can help generate much more power for our athletes.
So how do I go about getting my first pull-up?

Let’s be honest. As an athlete we want efficiency. We want more bang for our buck. Being an efficient athlete, means being a lean athlete. In general the more mass an athlete has the more work it is to move it. The same is true for pull-ups the more mass we have, the more mass we have to pull-up. Our long armed athletes can understand this problem because they have much farther to go. Everyone has their own problems, but the fact remains they must find a way to get their chin over that bar. No excuses!
Best way to start is by ditching the bands. In our many years of experience coaching athletes and adults the band never really helps anyone. It just gives them the illusion that they are doing work. When in fact they are pulling only part of the time and bouncing around the rest of the time.
Isometric holds, and eccentrics are the best way for everyone to start. Climbing a rope is also a great way, but not everyone has that and we want to do a pull-up. So your best bet is to start with Isometric holds. This could be even just hanging on the bar. If you have never done this before this a great place to start. We need to see if we are able to hold just our own bodyweight.

To start try and hold for :20. Try and achieve this 8x. :20 hang, :20 rest.
If you can’t hang from the bar you need to get horizontal. When we lack the strength to do a pull-up we only try practicing vertical pulling, and don’t just pull vertically. We can strengthen our pulling muscles by lowering down, and pulling horizontally like a ring row or horizontal row.

Isometrics are a great way to help develop the strength to start doing pull-ups. At some point doing your hangs you are going to realize that you need more core strength. When you are hanging there you notice that when you keep your core tight it is much less taxing on the grip as you hang. When you get tired or forget to keep your core tight it becomes much more taxing on the grip, and you slide your hands on the bar making callouses or blisters. Don’t wreck your hands! If you’re slipping don’t fight, fall get back up in a better position.

Best drill to understand this tight core position would be hollow bodies and superman rocks. Transitioning from one to the other is also really good helping to understand keeping your core tight. If your core is tight it’s going to be easier to pull-up.
Eccentric work is where the strength is going to come from. This time instead of holding isometrically now we want to lower eccentrically. Fight gravity as long as we can. Best to start with horizontal row first. Start with chest to bar and lower down as slow and controlled as possible.

If that was easy jump up onto the pullup bar. Try to get chest to bar and then lower as slow as possible.
When working on doing pull-ups it is best to focus on it for 10 min at a time. We do not want to over train. 3x a week is best and give a rest day between to give your body a chance to get stronger. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure to even yourself out. With all of this pulling work we want to make sure we balance it out with some pressing movements. Overdeveloping in certain areas can lead to overuse or cause imbalances and effect efficiency.
These exercises are basic, but stick with them. We need to develop a strong base to pull from first, and this is a way to do it.

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