5 Reasons Why You Suck at Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are considered as one of the best body weight movements you could do to add muscle mass to your upper body as well as strength. The majority of people aren’t able to do even a single pull-up and those who can often do them the wrong way.

1. You do not start the pull-up from a dead hang position

First and foremost, before you start pulling up, you need to lower the body into a dead-hang position, which means you should hang with your arms stretched fully and your feet not touching the floor.

If you skip this, you will only be doing half-rep pull-ups that will decrease the time the muscle is under tension and will take away the load off the lats and onto the biceps. The dead-hang position is like a reset button that will engage your lats before you start pulling up. You can make it more challenging by pausing for one second when you’re at the bottom.

2. You don’t engage the lat muscles

Before you start the pull-up, lower the shoulders, raise the rib cage and stretch out the neck. Doing these steps will put the body into a better position from a mechanical standpoint which will allow you to better stimulate the muscles.

If you fail to do so, the burden will transfer from your lats to the shoulders and biceps.

3. You don’t arch the back

Don’t keep the spine straight and rigid. When you arch the back you enable spine extension and the thoracic region to open. This, in turn, forces the shoulder blades to come together and engages more muscles from the upper back.

4. You pull past the contraction

It is often recommended that the chin should go past the bar at the top of the exercise, but everyone’s different so it might not be suitable for you.

It’s ok to feel a contraction in the lats when the nose or the eyes reach the height of the bar instead of the neck or the head. It’s up to you to find out when you feel the muscles contracting the most and use that as a reference point for all consecutive reps.

5. You are kipping

Kipping is basically incorporating momentum when doing the pull-ups and it assists you in doing more reps that you can without the dull activation of the lats. This, however, is not without a price.

When kipping you increase the likelihood of causing damage to the shoulder joints because you swing all the time. Plus, they are entirely useless if you think they might have some carryover to the classic pull-up. If you want optimal results, stick to doing the normal pull-ups and do every rep in a slow and controlled manner.


This workout is also known as a reverse ladder pull-up scheme. It consists of a total of 10 pull-ups in a set by using a combo of a concentric rep and an eccentric rep.

In order to do an eccentric (negative) rep you can use an assistance in the form of a box in order to get to the top position or you can simply jump to it. Then you start to lower yourself slowly without swinging into a dead-hang position. Strive to lower yourself for up to 5 seconds. If you think you can do it, do 2 more rounds.

– 10 positive(concentric) reps, 60 to 90 seconds of rest;
– 8 positive(concentric) + 2 negative(eccentric), 60 to 90 seconds of rest;
– 6 positive(concentric) + 4 negative(eccentric), 60 to 90 seconds of rest;
– 4 positive(concentric) + 6 negative(eccentric), 60 to 90 seconds of rest;
– 2 positive(concentric) + 8 negative(eccentric)



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