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Tuesday Training: Pullup Training for Beginners to Advanced Athletes


Tuesday Training: Why Everyone Should Be Able To Do A Pullup & Pullup Training for Beginners To Advanced Athletes

Most women in general lack upper body strength and cannot lift their body weight by their arms. A lot of basic movements require upper body strength and if you don’t have it, you put yourself at risk for a lot of different injuries. That’s why I think every single person should be able to do at least one pullup. Not to mention, pullups release a ton of hormones necessary for fat loss and muscle building. So practicing them will help you lose the fat and give you arms, an upper back, and a nice core to make anyone jealous.

 Being able to do a pullup is kind of like the benchmark for true strength. I’ll always remember the first time I did my first complete deadhang pullup. It gave me so much confidence and I felt like I was ready to take on the incredible hulk. Now I’m in the double digits for deadhang pullups and can crank out more pullups at one time than most guys I know. But that’s only after a lot of time and practice on my trusty pullup bar. I think most people tend to avoid practicing pullups because they are so difficult to do and it’s not so fun practicing something you suck at.

 I hear a lot, especially from women, “I wish I could do a pullup.” Well stop wishing and get to practicing and you’ll be able to do one! I can guarantee that you will never be able to do one if you don’t practice, but on the flip side, it’s easy to do at least one with proper practice. I’m going to give you the tools it takes to practice your pull ups and in a few weeks, you’ll be able to do one. So let’s get to work.

 And if you can already crank out some pullups, but can never seem to break your current record, keep reading. I have tips to help break past the plateau for you, too. Some people, including myself have doubled their personal best pullup number by this method, so you’ll definitely want to try it!

*Here is the pull up bar I have and I love it. I did have a door frame one, but I must have been doing too many pullups because it broke my door frame! Not cool. But, I absolutely love and recommend this heavy duty wall mounted one that screws into wall studs:

Ultimate Body Press Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar


If you can’t do a pullup yet, start here:

 Incorporate these in your workouts 3 times a week. Master the 1st step before moving on.

 Step 1:

Flex hangs – once you can hold 3 sets for 20 seconds, it’s time to try step 2.

Step 2:

Negative Pullups – When you can complete a 30 second super slow negative pullup, it’s time to move onto the next step.

Step 3:

Pullups – you might need a leg boost from a friend at first, but try one pullup. Rest one minute. Try again. When that becomes too easy, lose the boost and rest and add some reps. CONGRATS on your first deadhang pullup!!!

*One of the tips that really helps me when I do pullups: imagine that you’re pulling the bar to your chest, instead of your chest to the bar.


Stand on a sturdy bench or chair so that your chin is right above a pullup bar. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Take your feet off the bench or chair and bend your knees. Hold for as long as you can. Rest for a minute or two and try again. Repeat for a total of 3 times. At first, you may only be able to hold it for a few seconds. That’s ok! Just keep working on it and I promise you will eventually be able to hold it for 20 seconds. Once you can hold 3 sets for 20 seconds, it’s time to move on to step 2.
With a bench or chair beneath you, get into the flexed arm position as pictured above. SLOWLY, lower yourself down as slow as you can until your arms are straight. Try to lower yourself down at the same rate of speed throughout the entire way down. Rest for a minute and try again. Repeat 3 times. Once you can complete a 30 second negative pullup, you are most likely ready to do a full pullup!
From a dead hang, try to do one pullup. If you cannot do it, you may at first need a friend to help boost your legs. Rest for a minute and try again. Repeat 3 times. Once you get better, lose the boost and the rest. You can keep challenging yourself by adding more reps.



 If you can already do pullups, but are stuck at a plateau, start here.

This is one of the methods that is used by the Navy Seals and other members of military. It is extremely effective at helping you max past your current personal best. In just two weeks, you will most likely break your current record by 7-10 pullups!

 Here’s the deal:

For 10 days in a row, we will do pullup training.

 On the even number days:

Incorporate 25 pullups (if you can do more than 5 pullups in a row, you must change this number to 50 pullups) however way you can in your current workouts. This could mean do a few at a time, rest a minute, do a few more, etc. You can do them before your current workout or after or in the workout. It really doesn’t matter – just fit them in somehow.

 On the odd number days follow this super-set workout:

Pullups – your max

Pushups – 20

Dips – 5 to 10

Abs of choice – 30

Repeat 10 x


For 10 days in a row follow this regimen. Then completely rest from doing any type of pullup (no lat pull-downs, rows, bicep curls, either) for 3-4 days. Then test yourself to see how many you can do in a row on the 14th or 15th day. And let me know your progress by leaving a comment down below – I love hearing progress stories! I doubled my personal best following this method and was super pumped!


 A tip for everyone to incorporate pullup training in your workouts:

During most of my strength workouts, I like to include some type of pullup training. Incorporating jump pullups for 30 – 60 seconds in my circuit workouts is one of my favorite ways to work on my pullup muscles. For example, instead of doing the jumping jacks in this workout, I’ll do jump pullups instead. It will really get your heart rate up and be extra challenging so you will blast fat and calories big time. And you will be working and strengthening all the muscles needed for pullups at the same time.


Get in a pullup position and explosively jump while trying to get your chin over the bar. Use a platform or bench if necessary.


Check Also

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    I got to admit I was skeptical about this. It didn’t seem possible that I could possibly get anymore pullups than I was doing, but this works!!!! I was stuck at 12 pullups for the past 2 years or more. I don’t work on pullups all the time, but at least once a week I did a round or two of pullups and I could never get more than 12. I did this just like you said and now I can do 17!!!! It was really tough to do everyday but it’s only 10 days so if you look at it like that it’s not to bad. I’m going to give it a few months and then try it again and see if I can get anymore out.

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    I saw this post when you first posted it and have always wanted to do a pullup. I never could do one and didn’t even know that I could take baby steps like this to learn how. BUT I CAN NOW DO A PULLUP!!!!!! You have no idea how excited I was and still am!!! I started off with the flex hangs (which I could barely even hold for more than 10 seconds at first) and then progressed from there. I did some sort of pullup practice everyday I went to the gym. I love those jump pullups, too. But yesterday was my very first pullup on my own and I can’t believe it! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!

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    You make it look so easy! LOL! But I’m not giving up 🙂

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    I am so happy I found this! I started Crossfit a few months ago and my number one goal is to do a strict pull-up. Any idea how long Step 1 takes to master? I know everyone is different, but just looking for a rough estimate. Right now, I can barely hold myself up for 5 seconds 🙁 eek! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, thanks for posting!

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    so i attempted to do this today and got so frustrated that i stopped!! i consider myself a very strong person but have never done a pull-up. i tried to do the flexed arm hang and immediately fell to the ground. i used a chair, too, and could not even hold myself for .5 seconds without my feet on the chair. how do i get better at the flexed arm hang?? i feel so defeated right now : (

    • Primally Inspired

      Don’t get down on yourself! Flex hangs are super difficult. These muscles are ones that we don’t use a lot and/or don’t work out a lot. You can start by just hanging on the bar. Even though it seems simple – it’s actually pretty difficult. That will activate and warm up the right muscles and get your body used to being on a bar . And as frustrating as it is, keep trying the flex hangs even if you can only hold for 1/2 second. I bet if you tried them every day or a few times a week, at the end of the week, you would surprise yourself and be able to hold for at least 5 seconds. Dumbbell Rows are a great exercise to activate those pullup muscles, too (and a great exercise in general – I do rows everytime I strength train). Here’s a link on how to do them: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/dumbbell-row-0 Keep me updated with your progress- you’ll surprise yourself if you keep at it!

      • Avatar

        thanks, kelly! you made me feel better about my weakness haha i was just surprised at how bad i was at them but you’re probably right- i never have to do a “pull-up” movement in any part of my day. i will try this every day and update you next week. the dumbbell rows look good, too! i’d be thrilled if i could hold it for 5 seconds by next wednesday!

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    Quick question… With regards to the negative pullups. Should we be keeping the chair under us?


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    Thanks so much for this pull-up training plan! I haven’t been able to do pull-ups since my early twenties. After 15 years and three children, I realized how much muscle I lost during that time. I stuck with cardio and stayed active so I was able to keep the weight off. But the muscle loss caught up to me and I started gaining weight. I have tried numerous pull-up plans but none have been effective except for yours! It is so motivating to inch closer and closer to the bar.

    I have a question about fat loss. While I have noticed a tremendous loss of fat and increase in muscle, I haven’t lost much size. I don’t expect my shape to be the same as it was before having children but I am not sure what my goal should be. I am eating primarily Paleo, which has improved my well being and health tremendously. I can tell I burn fat instead of sugars because I don’t get that horrible starving feeling when I haven’ t eaten. But, I still have fat in places such as my back and stomach that prevent me from buying new clothes just yet. Should I lower my fat intake or try to lower carbs? I don’t eat Paleo treats or much fruit and don’t eat nuts as we have allergies. I usually eat one small sweet potato per day and maybe two fruit servings. A typical meal is a taco salad with ground beef, lettuce, avocado, etc., or other protein/fat/vegetable combination. Should I just be more patient and give it more time before I change anything? I am almost 5’3′”,135, and wear a size 4 without it being snug.

    Thank you for all of your great posts and recipes. The post about intermittent fasting really made sense and helped me realize why those don’t work well for me.

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    This sounds great, I can’t wait to incorporate it into my workouts. My goal this year is to do 1 pull up by Dec 31st and it is quickly approaching. Currently I am able to do 5 assisted pull ups, with my feet at a 90 degree.

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    I’m only twelve and I have always wanted to do a pull up, but never could. With ur advice, I can now do 13 at most in a row!!! In gym class, some boys can’t even do one. After I do them, they all look at me like how?
    They also come along with some great definition to the arms. I had to buy some new shirts! but thanks u so much for this helpful information!

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