Pull-ups are one of the hardest exercises you can do, but the benefits they come with are amazing – by engaging a big number of your larger muscle groups and joints to work together, this devastating compound movement will tremendously strengthen your upper body, fortify your core, improve your grip strength and increase your overall functional strength.
We will even go as far as saying that given enough time, this hardcore exercise can single-handedly transform a flat musculature into a ripped physique. Just think about it – what could possibly come out of you repeatedly lifting your entire bodyweight (or more!), thereby hitting the back, traps, shoulder, arms and even chest? Nothing less than a well-developed, dense and powerful upper muscle mass.
So regardless of how you feel about them (and we all used to hate them at some point of our life), pull-ups are irreplaceable when it comes to building a strong, robust body, and the fact that they don’t require expensive machinery makes them one of the ultimate bodyweight exercises on the planet. By varying your grip, you can use pull-ups for different goals: the wider grip will help you target the lats better, a narrower grip leads to better bicep activation, while the reverse grip offers a whole other unique set of benefits. The pull-up and its abundance of variations can be progressed and performed all throughout a training year for the purpose of great strength gains.
Even more, pull-ups have a great ability to prevent or reverse muscular imbalances resulting from performing too many upper body push movements too often. When you overuse push movements, you can easily end up with back injuries or posture problems, and this exercise can fix this by powerfully strengthening your back and the rear delts. Tough bodyweight moves train the whole body by teaching it how to pull, push raise and lift itself, and are true tests of ability, endurance and functionality.
Yet, how many people that you personally know can do a series of decent pull-ups? We bet the list is pretty short. And if you’re one of those who can’t perform a decent pull-up to save their life, we’re about to teach you how to improve your pull-ups with the help of an eight week training plan that will increase your performance, strength, stamina and balance. It’s time to man up and enter the impressive world of the pull-up!
The 8-week Pull-up Training Program
• Weeks 1 and 2
In the first two weeks you’ll start from ground zero. If pull-ups are not a part of your regular routine at the moment, this part of the program will help you learn how to perform them the right way. If you’re already performing pull-ups but your form is terrible and you’re having a difficult time completing more than 3 reps, this program will help you correct your technique and start making real gains. During the first two weeks, you should continue with your normal frequency of training back, i.e. once or twice per week. Besides that, in order to increase overall back strength and power even further, make sure to perform other lifts that hit your back from all different angles possible – think barbell rows, dumbbell rows, inverted rows and rear deltoid exercises. But in addition, you will start a low rep/high volume pull-up program and put an effort into perfecting your form and technique.
Start with completing 20 total reps of pull-ups once in the week. It doesn’t matter if you do 2 sets of 10 reps, 5 sets of 4 reps or 20 sets of 1 rep – do whatever it takes to reach the 20 total reps goal. And be as generous as you need with the amount of rest between sets. Make sure to utilize proper form – employ as less swinging and swaying as possible. Once your form breaks down, end the set and rest to regain strength.
When it comes to biceps work, restrain yourself from overtraining. Most people focus too much on the biceps, exhausting them from too many angles and too often, so they ultimately end up lacking the strength needed to pull off the pull-ups. Instead, hit them with just a couple of heavy moves.
You could record your current level of strength and stamina on tape or by just writing the number of reps per set you’re able to finish with proper form. You can use this later to track your progress and motivate yourself additionally once your performance improves.
Continues on next page(weeks 3 – 4, 5-6 and 7-8)