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You Can Progress to a Pull Up

Reach Your Fitness Goals!
  -- By Jason Anderson and Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Professionals
Make your fitness dreams come true once and for all, starting with the classic pull up!

Pull ups are one way to showcase ultimate strength and conditioning, and they're no easy feat for the beginner. But both men and women can achieve pull-up status with the right training. Keep in mind that the terms pull ups and chin ups are often used interchangeably. Feel free to work on using an overhand (palms facing away) grip, which relies heavily on back strength, or an underhand grip (palms facing you) grip, which puts intense focus on the biceps. The following exercise progressions will help strengthen the major muscles involved in pull ups until you're strong enough to do them on your own.

Time Involved: Two 10-minute sessions a week, for several weeks
Muscles Worked: Back and Biceps

How to Train at the Gym
Using the strength training machines at the gym is probably the best way to train for pull ups. How to Train without Equipment
If you do not have access to gym equipment, that is OK. If you have access to a pull up bar (or even some monkey bars at a playground!), then grab a friend for some help. Be sure to use good form (grab the bar at about shoulder-width, crossing your feet and ankles, and bending your knees so that your feet are off the ground, as if kneeling). Your friend can assist you by grabbing your feet and legs to assist you as you lift to the top position. Try to lower yourself back down each time on your own, without assistance. Over time, have your friend give you less and less assistance as you get strong enough to lift more of your weight on your own.

If you are alone, you can still work on strengthening your pull up muscles, even without a spot. To do so, stand on a box, grab the bar, take a little jump to the "up" position. Lower yourself down as slowly as possible. This “negative phase” of the exercise will still strengthen the muscles to help you with pulling up. Try to do 2-3 sets of as many reps as you can, assisted or unassisted, 3-4 times each week and you'll be doing the real ones on your own in no time!

General Training Tips Good luck reaching your goals!

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