If you go to the gym and train upper body 75%+ of your workouts…than a set of even 5 pull ups should not be a problem for you.
If you can not…well that simply needs to change…PRONTO!
I think over any other exercise that could be done in fitness and athletics, the ability to pull ones body away from the ground may be the most challenging. Think about it, every other major exercise has a variation to make it easier to complete in good technique. What does a pull up have…a chin up?
REASONS AND SOLUTIONS!
- YOU ARE NOT PRACTICING A PULL UP!
- When was the last time you pulled anything your own body weight?…NEVER?! The ability to do a pull up should be treated the same as any other Skill you want to acquire…practice. I bet that 99% percent of your training for a pull will occur as far away from a pull up bar as possible. This would leave you using different machines that work on the similar muscles used in a pull up. ..Sounds legitimate right.
- Start getting underneath that pull up bar! Yes, I know you can not get through a full rep but it does not matter because you need to get used to that feeling of struggle while pulling. Start using these progression techniques:
- Bottom partials – Hang from the bar like you normally would and pull as high as you can. It may only be a slight elbow bend at first but,start getting a couple sets of these in whatever the number of reps. Your partials will soon turn to half reps.
- Holds – Assist yourself to the top end of a pull up(chin above bar) and then hang in that position for as long as you can. Make sure you have something that will be underneath you when you can no longer hold that position.
- Top Partials – Just like a bottom partial but, you are starting from the “hold” position at the top and only lowering yourself to where you can get back to that hold position. Again this may start with a small movement. Your partials will soon turn to half reps.
- Negatives – Starts at the hold position and slowly straightening your elbows down to that bottom hanging position then, you assist yourself back up to the top and repeat.
- Full Reps-could just be one but you can now actually do one. Do as many sets as you can at this 1 rep taking a nice long break in between each set.
- Lat Pull-down WEIGHTS TOO LIGHT
- You are working on these other machines with such a light weight. Someone who is trying to do one rep is working in the 90%-100% percentile of their 1 rep max or a pure strength range. When you use your machines more than 3 reps you are working in greatly lowered percentage and eventually as the reps increase you are not working on pure strength anymore but, muscular size and endurance. You may get some increased muscle size in the areas you are working but the results of a pull up will still be hard to come by.
- Go heavy. I would tell you set the lat pull down to your own bodyweight but, since we all start from different levels of readiness and all machines are not created equal; I will say find your 1 rep max lat Pull down weight and start using 5-10lbs below it for your reps and sets. Try and stay between 1-5 reps. Since your reps are lower you will be doing a few more sets than normal. Once you have exhausted this you may now decrease the weight for any other work you want to get in for size and endurance.
- GRIP STRENGTH IS TERRIBLE
- Your grip starts with your hands. If they are weak then the amount of time you have in that hanging position will be quite limited. This will more often than not be the first piece of your pull up attempt to fail. I have seen machines that use weights to counter your own weight in order to make a pull up movement possible but, taking 50 pounds off your own weight does not get the same stress to the muscles involved in gripping for you to make progress.
- Start holding on to heavy stuff for as long as you can.
- Shrugs – Hold either dumbbells or a barbell in your hands and raise your shoulders to your ears in an “I don’t know” motion like you would give to a hard question or riddle.
- Farmers Walks – No farm Needed or actual farmer.
- Inverted Rows – harder than they look.
- YOU WEIGH TOO MUCH
- The heavier you are or get the harder it will be to do anything not just a pull up.
- Solution….Lose body fat and gain muscle.
There you have it. Change things up a little bit and you will be on your way to your first legitimate pull up. From there you can do anything.