Pullups For Total Beginners!

The pullup is one of the most important exercises that a newcomer to fitness can do, but its also the most difficult and many of you cant do a single pullup. Here I give you a 5 phase program to build up your strength so you can do 8 solid pullups. Man or woman, 13 or 80, you can do it!

First, a quick word about weight. There are lots of reasons to get leaner and lose fat and I’m about to give you another one. The #1 way to make pullups easier is to weigh less! Every pound of fat is a boat anchor holding you tightly to the earth, dump that anchor overboard! Please read my article, losing weight and getting sixpack abs is as easy as 1-2-3!

Some important terminology before we start. A pullup is when your palms point away from your face, these are hard. A chin-up is done with you palms facing you – these are easier. We will use this fact to help us build up to doing eight pullups.

OK, how to do your first pullup. There are four methods:

  1. chair method (anywhere)
  2. bands under knees method (anywhere)
  3. partner knee spot (anywhere)
  4. cable pulldowns (gym only)

The only one I will show is the chair method because its my favorite. Lets get started. Getting yourself up is hard, its a lot easier to just lower yourself slowly down and that’s what we are going to do to build up strength. We also are going to start with chin-up instead of pullups for the same reason. The first exercise you will do to build up your pullup strength is an exercise I have named “Walk the Plank”.

 

“Walk The Planks”

Walk The Planks - Step One1. Put a chair under your pullup bar that’s tall enough so it puts your eyes at bar level.
Walk The Planks - Step Two2. Grab the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing you) shoulder width apart
Walk The Planks - Step Three3. Tense your muscles and step off the chair (walk the plank!)
Walk The Planks - Step Four4. Lower yourself as slowly as you can.
Walk The Planks - Step Five5. Step back up onto the chair and do it again, repeat a total of 8 times

Now lets look at how we use the “Walk The Plank” exercise to build up to doing 8 real pullups. If you can already do 2 good chinups, skip to Phase 4.

Phase 1
5 sets of chinup (palms facing your face) Walk-The-Plank’s, 8 reps per set, one minute rest between sets. Workout every other day.

Continue with Phase 1 till you can do it so slowly that it takes 2 seconds to lower yourself each time.

Phase 2
5 sets of pullup (palms pointed away from your face) Walk-The-Plank’s, 8 reps per set, one minute rest between sets. Workout every other day.

Continue with Phase 2 till you can do it so slowly that it takes 2 seconds to lower yourself each time.

Phase 3
5 sets. On first two reps, do as much of a real chinup as you can, followed by 6 reps of Walk-The-Planks. Workout every other day. One minute rest between sets.

Continue with Phase 3 until you can do two real chinups!

Phase 4 – Monday Workout
5 sets. Do as many real chinups as you can, followed by enough Walk-The-Planks to give you 8 total reps One minute rest between sets.
Phase 4 – Thursday Workout

Do as many real chinups as you can, and then a static hold for as long as you can. Rest 2 minutes and do next set for a total of 5 sets.

Continue Phase 4 till you can do 8 chinups

Phase 5 – Thursday Workout
5 sets. Do as many real pullups as you can, followed by enough Walk-The-Planks to give you 8 total reps One minute rest between sets.

Phase 5 – Thursday Workout
Do as many real pullups as you can, and then a static hold for as long as you can. Rest 2 minutes and do next set for a total of 5 sets.

Continue Phase 5 till you can do 8 pullups!

There you have it, my 5 phase method to build up your strength so you can do 8 pullups!