How to do pull ups

Great, pull ups are a wonderful exercise.

Pull-ups? Yea, they are pretty cool. How cool are those guys and gals that effortlessly bang pull-ups? Moreover, the people who can do a bunch of pull-ups usually have that nice physique thing going.

I think pull up is one of the greatest muscle building exercises in existence. which is why it’s been called the upper body squat.  

It is a great muscle builder and a powerful builder of strength as well.  Pull up measures your strength to weight ratio better than almost any other exercise known to man.

It is used by

  1. schools,
  2. law enforcement
  3. military as a measuring test of upper body strength and fitness level.

Getting Started with How to do Pull Ups:

Grasp the bar in an overhand grip (hands facing away). Your hands should be fairly wide apart; certainly wider by at least a hand width that your shoulders. Try two hand widths and see how it feels. You sorta have to find that just right spot: not too wide, not too narrow. It’s called the goldilocks zone.

Hang from the bar with arms slightly bent, breath in and pull yourself up to the bar.

How to do pull ups correctly:

First off, let’s get some terms out of the way.

Pull Ups – The palms of your hands are facing away from you. The most common width of grip is a bit wider than shoulder width.

Chin Ups – The palms of your hands are facing toward you. The most common width of grip is about shoulder width. These are also called reverse grip pull ups.

Using proper pull-up form and the correct technique when learning how to do pull-ups is extremely important if you are to reap the full benefits of doing pull-ups as well as keep yourself injury free.

Here  are the simple 8 step process to do pull ups correctly

  1. Stand under a pull up bar and grab it with an overhand grip of your hands.
  2. Maintain your hands at a distance twice as much as your shoulders’ width.
  3. Keeping your arms straight, hang from the pull up bar such that your body weight is supported by your arms.
  4. keeping your body straight and not swinging it, pull up your body towards the bar by pushing your elbows downwards.
  5. Continue pulling up until your chest almost touches the bar.
  6. Squeeze the back of your lats and contract.
  7. Lower down you body after contraction.
  8. Repeat the above steps.

How to do pull ups for beginners:

Develop the Right Strength: 

To help you get used to the movement, start with develop right strength. There are several ways to do this depending on what you have access to. Start with basic Exercises:

  1. Bench press
  2. shoulder press
  3. push-ups
  4. elevated feet push-ups
  5. dips or chair dips
  6. sit-ups

Pull-ups are a back exercise; on the presses concentrate on the muscles in your back by returning the weight slowly to your chest and return slowly to the ground during your push-ups.

Next move to assisted pull ups: 

Assisted Pull Ups with chair – (either one foot or two depending on your needs) – your feet are ONLY there for support, use your upper body as much as possible.

Assisted Pull Ups with exercise band – (you can get different types of exercise bands with different levels of strength).  Put your foot in the exercise band and pull yourself up.

Assisted pull ups with a partner – (have a friend hold your feet behind you and help you complete each rep).  Have your friend use the least amount of help possible to get you through your workouts.

Do a Pull-Up

Now it’s time to do a full pull up.

  • Start from a dead hang with straight elbows, palms facing away from you.
  • Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back, squeeze your glutes and cross your feet.
  • Pull yourself up so that your chin rests over the bar.
  • Lower down and repeat.

How to do pull ups without a bar:

If you don’t want to change gyms or you workout at home then you just need to get a little creative.

1. Hanging From Roof Rafters.

This is perhaps the easiest way to do Pull ups if you don’t have a bar. If you have a porch, carport, or any type of roof covering outside you should be able to hang from the wooden rafters and use them to do chin ups. The trick is to find wooden beams that are strong enough to take your weight. Depending on the size of the rafters it will usually be easier to do pull ups rather than chin ups but experiment with both.

The video shows a guy using a pinch grip to do roof rafter pull ups. This is seriously tough and you will need to have some amazing grip strength to do this. If you are a beginner then I would suggest holding the top of the rafters to do this exercise.

2. Two Ladders And A Barbell

If you have two ladders lying around, prop them up and space them about a meter apart from each other.

Lay down two towels on the second to last step  and then slide a barbell through so it balances horizontal to the ground.

3. Pull Ups On A Staircase

This is a good alternative for pull ups but it will not work for chin ups because of the hand position. The way to do this is to find a high enough ledge that will support your weight, ideally a staircase ledge.

The position may be a bit weird but it is possible to do pull ups by facing the wall and hold onto the ledge and use it to do the movement. It is not a perfect way of doing pull ups. Since it is quite uncomfortable and you will get a bit of leverage from your forearms.

Alternatively, if you find a staircase like the one in the video below, you can do regular pull ups. Maybe skip the stair jumping though…unless you feel like a challenge!

Here is how to do pull ups on stair case video

4. Ropes

If you have a thick and strong rope lying around or you want to buy one for a few dollars.  You can tie a rope around two objects to make a horizontal chin up and pull up bar alternative. If you put on your thinking hat, I am sure there are many ways to turn a rope into a bar. You could also use some type of strong metal pipe. In combination with the rope and loop it over a support to create a chin up bar.

Here is how to do pull ups with ropes video

Leave a Reply