How To Get Your First Pull Up


Gymnastics is sexy AF.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be able to do a backflip, whip out a freestanding handstand on cue (the ultimate party trick), and move your body with ease on a bar or set of rings, all with perfect positioning and gymnast worthy pointed toes.

Perhaps the most sought after gymnastics skill though, is the elusive pull up. This movement is the gateway to unlocking the more advanced gymnastics skills, and simply put, makes you feel like a bad-ass.

Now, if you were reading this hoping to get some sort of secret shortcut to a pull up, sorry to disappoint, you still require consistency, patience & hard work.

In saying that, these progressions once combined with the above, will get you aaaaall the pull ups.

1. Ring rows

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps at an incline where you can pull the rings to your rib cage. Then over time, gradually reduce the incline until your body is parallel to the ground.

Once you can complete 3 sets of 10 reps at parallel, you’re ready for...

2. Negative chin ups

Jump up to the bar and lower your body as slow as possible. Start with 4 sets of 3 reps.

When you can complete one set of 5 reps with a 10 second tempo on the lowering phase, you’re close to getting your first chin up!

Just a little side knowledge: in a chin up your palms are facing towards your body, in a pull up your palms are facing away from the body. Chin ups utilise more bicep and are generally easier to achieve than a pull up.

3. Chin ups

Yassss! You’ve successfully lifted your own body weight! It’s ok to be a bit smug here and take a moment to rejoice at your spectacular feat of strength.

But don’t stop there, to get a pronated grip pull up (palms facing away from the body) you should keep working to build your chin ups to 5 consecutive reps, starting from a straight arm dead hang, and finishing with your chin over the bar.

Once you’ve got your first pull up, just keep doing pull ups (there’s that consistency we talked about) and eventually you’ll start building multiple reps.

Final note:

Even once you’ve become a bad ass with all the pull ups, it’s still a good idea to revisit and strengthen these progressions from time to time.

Also be sure to change your grip between supinated (palms facing you), pronated (palms facing away from you) and neutral (palms facing each other) to keep your tendons happy and strengthen your pulling through multiple directions.

Jade X

Melanie Corlett