Most of us know that problem.
You are just starting out in the gym. You want to build an aesthetic physique and get stronger.
You read everywhere that you have to start with the basics, the compound movements.
One of these compound movements is the all mighty pull up.
All fired up, you slowly approach the pull up bar with a feeling of fear and respect.
You choose your grip, take a deep breath and pull up with all your strength.
But you can’t even move a single inch.
You knew that you would suck but you didn’t expect to be that weak.
You feel like a total failure. You leave the gym with your head down feeling humiliated.
You don’t know what to do. At home, you search the web for countless hours for the ultimate guide on doing more pull ups.
Congratulations! You just found it.
How To Do More Pull Ups Fast
The Pull Up is hard.
Unlike most isolation exercises like the bicep curl, the pull up works multiple muscles. Nearly your whole upper body and a ton of stabilizers are involved.
Doing a pull up won’t be as easy as curling a bar. It will require a ton of strength and will power.
If you have never done a pullup, your body is most likely too weak to perform a pull up.
It just isn’t used to that amount of stress. As a result, you won’t even be able to do a single pull up.
Most people give up after their first fail and never try again. They don’t want to feel humiliated ever again.
They look for excuses on why not to do pull ups.
They waste their time with ineffective alternatives secretly hoping to gain the strength required to do a pull up.
They fear a pull up showdown at the beach with the boys.
But fear not!
Uncle Dan is here presenting the absolute best method to increase your pull ups in a short period of time and get really strong fast!
It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie or an intermediate lifter.
This method works and will soon transform the pull up from your most hated into your favorite exercise!
What If You Can’t Even Do a Single Pull Up?
Although the focus of this article will be on doing more pull ups, we will quickly look at how to do your first pull up if you can’t even do one.
The secret is negative or assisted pull ups.
No, I am not talking about these stupid pull up machines. These are a complete waste of time because they neglect your stabilizer muscles and work in an awkward range of motion.
Instead, you take a bench or a stool and use it to jump up into the top position of the pull up.
You hold that position for a second or two and then slowly let yourself down into a full dead hang.
Repeat these until you are completely exhausted. Then rest a minute and do a couple more sets.
Alternatively, you can use pull up bands specially designed to assist your pull ups.
Start with a relatively thick band that offers a lot of support and work your way up from there.
With this method you will train the muscles actually needed to perform a pull up unlike with assistance machines.
Eventually you will be strong enough to do a pull up without bands or stools.
Now it’s time to increase the amount of pull ups you can do!
Greasing the Groove – Pull ups spread over the day
If you can only do one pull up now, I guarantee that if you follow the steps in this guide you will shortly be able to bust out tons of pull ups easily.
I used this method myself and was able to do 8 pull ups for multiple sets in a row in a couple of weeks without being completely tired after it.
The first step is relatively simple.
The secret to doing more pull ups is consistency and frequency.
That means that you are going to do many pull ups spread over your entire day.
Therefore, you will need some sort of bar to do your pull ups on. If you have no option to do pull ups at home, you should invest in a pull up bar for your home gym.
If you want to take it a step further you can buy a pull up tower. I used to have one of these at home before I bought my power rack:
Every time you pass the pull up bar of your choice, you do a pull up. It’s as simple as that.
That way you are going to get a lot of volume in spread over the course of your day.
With this method, you won’t really tire yourself out or go to failure.
This method is called Greasing the Groove.
Do each Pull Up with Perfect Form
Make sure to do every single pull up with perfect form.
It’s useless to ingrain bad habits from the get go. You won’t go to failure anyway so that should not be a problem.
Perform each repetition with the full range of motion meaning go all the way down into a dead hang and then all the way up.
Initiate the movement by depressing and retracting your scapula and imagine pulling with your elbows.
That ensures that you are actually going to use the muscles of your back and not your biceps to pull up.
How does Greasing the Groove work?
So you do one or two pull ups every time you pass the bar. It’s simple but how does this improve your pull ups?
Conventional training would have you go to failure every single set.
This isn’t as effective especially if you can’t do that many pull ups.
You probably know how your performance decreases enormously after one set of pull ups to failure.
The first set you may do 8 reps if you push yourself but the second set you can only do 5 and the third set only 3 reps.
With greasing the groove, you train your central nervous system and your body to get used to the pull up without reaching failure.
With time this one pull up is going to feel easier and easier and you will surpass your current limits.
On top of that, you can improve and ingrain a good pull up technique.
Improve your Pull Up Skills
Pull ups are nothing more than a skill.
In order to get better at pull ups, you have to actually do pull ups.
There is no way around it. This is why negatives and singles are so effective and assistance machines don’t work.
By doing pull ups consistently throughout the day, you practice this skill and it gets easier and easier.
It is just like with any other skills. Practice makes perfect. Perfect practice.
“Repetition is the mother of Skill” – Anthony Robbins.
So make sure to focus on every single pull up and do your absolute best in terms of execution and technique.
At the end of each day, you will have practiced a lot. And each day you will notice how pull ups feel easier.
Hell, you will even feel improvement after one single rep.
Soon the time will come and this one pull up will become too easy.
Now you may increase it to 2 pull ups. Just make sure to not get too tired and do not go to failure.
You can also do some planned reps i.e. do two pull ups every hour.
I often do that as a break from work when I have been sitting on my ass for too long again.
The beauty of greasing the groove is that it doesn’t take away much time at all.
One pull up takes a couple seconds and you will do it when you pass the bar anyway so there is no real time investment.
The program – 8 pulls ups in 8 weeks
Let’s talk about your training now. After all, the goal is to do pull ups in your actual program to build some muscle mass.
Your pull up program will utilize the same principles as above. You won’t go to failure and instead do a lot of volume per workout.
If you can do one pull right now your training will look like this:
You do one pull up with perfect form. You rest 30 to 45 seconds and repeat that one pull up until you reach 12 sets.
So you end up with 12 sets of 1 pull up with 30 to 45 seconds of rest.
You will do this twice per week with adequate rest days.
The following weeks you will increase the number of reps and decrease the number of sets. That way you will still get enough volume but do more reps in a row.
This is how your progression will look like:
Week 1: 12 Sets of 1
Week 2: 6 Sets of 2
Week 3: 5 Sets of 3
Week 4: 4 Sets of 4
Week 5: 5 Sets of 5
With time, you will increase the total volume of pull ups done per workout.
The workouts will feel challenging but you won’t go to complete failure. You will always have a little energy left in the tank.
Combined with the method above you will be doing a lot of pull ups without problems in no time.
You may think that the jump in volume from week 4 to week 5 is a lot but trust me you will get it.
A big part to succeed at pull ups or fitness in general (read: life) is your mind game.
Your body is capable of doing some amazing things if only you push past it with your mind.
So show some willpower and believe in yourself.
If you really can’t do it, go back to the previous stage or do 3 sets of 6.
But the goal should be to do 5 sets of 5 and progress from there. Come on, I know you can do it so show us what you have got!
Once pull ups are easy and you can do 10 pull ups in a row without breaking technique or going to failure you should invest in a weight belt.
If you would just keep going you would train for endurance.
But we want to train for hypertrophy and strength.
A weight belt allows you to keep progressing while still staying in the right rep range to grow and get stronger!
Now go out there and Do some Pull Ups!
There you have it. The best method to do more pull ups fast, build muscles and get really strong.
Now it’s on you. I gave you the information but you have to take action!
If you keep at it, work hard and put your all in it, you will succeed.
You will bust out pull ups like you have been doing them your whole life.
Your pitiful days in the gym will be over!
You won’t have to fear any Pull-Up Showdown anymore ’cause you’ll crush it.
Now go out there, do some pull ups and kick everyone’s ass with your newfound confidence and strength!
You have earned it!