Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Female Pull Ups

Here's a video of Anna performing some body weight pull ups and chin ups.  Please note that his didn't come over night, it took months of training. If you're a female (or male) unable to do a pull up on your own, this is an awesome goal to set for yourself.

Want to get better at pull ups?
Try using some resistance bands (see the beginner pull up progressions below), and slowly work your way down the bands over weeks/months until you're able to do some for body weight.

Band assistance is great because it works with your natural strength curve, unlike the assisted pull up machines.  Based on your leverage you're weaker on the bottom of the pull up and thats where the bands will give you the most assistance.  The assistance decreases as you get closer to the top of the movement where you are strongest.

It will take some time, but try to get a few out every time you train.  The more you practice the better you'll get at them. Be sure to choose a band tension or use multiple bands that will ensure you're performing a pull up in the full range of motion.

UPDATE: Here are two ways to go about improving pull ups:
1. Do them first when u are fresh and try dedicating an entire workout to them. Pick a number of reps to achieve for the day, like 30 or 40. Then do as many sets as you need to do to hit that number (using bands, jumping pull ups or regular pull ups).

So as an example your reps might look like this... 6,5,3,3,3,2,1,3,2,2. Time the workout and take as much rest as needed. This example was 10 sets, figure about 2-3 minutes rest between sets, you're looking at roughly a 30-minute workout.

2. I've found most people new to pull ups require an Average Band and 2 Light Bands. We set it up around one knee, but you may also stretch the band further and step into it. Try to work up to a few 5-10 rep sets over a period of a few weeks, then drop down in band tension... the progressions might look like this.
- Weeks 1-3: Average Band, 2 Light Bands
- Weeks 4-6: Average Band, Light Band, Mini Band
- Weeks 7-9: Average Band, Light Band
- Weeks 10-12: 2 Light Bands
- Weeks 13-15: Light Band, Mini Band
- Weeks 16-18: Light Band
- Weeks 19-21: Mini Band
- Weeks 22-25: Body Weight

Anna performing Body Weight Pull Ups and Chin Ups

Beginner Pull Up Progressions


  1. Update post to include band progressions and a sample pull up workout.

  2. Tomorrow's post will have some advanced variations of the pull up.

  3. That's awesome, Anna! And you barely rested between the two sets!

    My personal pull-up goal is ten. I'm at six, now, and I assume it'll take at least another year to get to ten!