Pull-ups for the longest time have been my nemesis. Well, basically my entire upper body used to be horribly weak. Over the past year, I’ve used these exercises to improve pull ups for both myself, and my clients.
I’m going to keep this super short and sweet, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing super ground breaking about these 5 exercises. They’re very straight forward and can be done while you’re at the gym.
Couple of things to remember! Medium or heavy weights are relative to the person. So whatever if heavy to you, use that. Whatever is medium weight to you, use that!
These would normally be done in 4-5 rounds for 6-8 reps.
Alright, let’s get started.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE PULL UPS – WIDE GRIP LAT PULL DOWN
Alrighy, head over to the lat pull down and get a wide grip on the bar and have a seat.
I recommend a heavier weight because that almost forces you to use those lat muscles which are the main muscles in a pull up.
Pull the bar down to your chest then back up for a set of 6-8
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE PULL UPS – NEUTRAL GRIP LAT PULL DOWN
Same place, just switch out the wide grip bar for the narrow grip that the knuckles face each other.
Sit down in the chair and using those lats pull straight down to your chest. then back up.
I recommend a quick pull down, then a 3 or four count back to the top. Repeat for 6-8 sets.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE PULL UPS – BENT DUMBBELL ROW
Grab a medium to heavier weight of dumbbells and then with your feet shoulder width apart and soft knees, bend at the hips and put the dumbbells in front of you.
Then with your elbows close to your side, row and squeeze those shoulder blades together.
A quick pull, then 3-4 count lowering motion to really challenge those muscles.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE PULL UPS – STRAIGHT ARM PULL DOWN ON CABLE
This one is one of my favorites! Hook on the flat bar onto the cable and stand back so that the cable it taught.
With your feet hip width apart, your knees slightly bent, and a slight bend forward, keep your arms nice and straight and pull all the way down.
Quick pull down, 3-4 count back to the top.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE PULL UPS – BANDED PULL UP
Some gyms have a pull up machine where you can choose your assistance. If that is the case for you, use that. Remember the less weight you use, the harder it will be. Because the weight is what is assisting you.
If you have a pull up rig, head over to the rig, put the band pegs through a hole towards the bottom and wrap a band around them. Make sure that the band pegs are low enough that you can stretch your arms out completely. (see below pic)
The thicker the band, the more assistance you have. As you get stronger, go for the lighter band!
Add this exercises into your workouts that you’re already doing to strengthen your pull up muscles. The best way to get to a pull up is to practice practice practice.
Use the fifth and final exercise several times a week until you are able to work your way down on the strength of band that you’re using.
Another great way to work out those pull up muscles plus get a great workout in is on the rower.
I have a free week of rowing workouts below when you subscribe to my free weekly motivational newsletter!
There’s been some great feedback on these workouts so don’t miss out!