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Thread: I can't even do one pull up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    I can't even do one pull up

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    Hi peeps,

    Been looking around at these exercise routines, a lot of the primal exercises suggest pull ups. I cant even do one of these.

    I can do push ups in abundance, but pull ups i just cant manage it. Does anybody have a workout plan that can help me 'build up to a pull up'


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Pull-ups require more strength from your back muscles, while push-ups require chest muscles.
    Do assisted pull-ups first (on a machine) and just keep trying to do normal ones as far as you can. Eventually you'll get them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Northern NJ
    jump up to bar and try to "catch" yourself on the way down, the slower the better, this is called a "negative" and will help a lot. You can also just jump up and hold on for dear life (with your chin above the bar) for as long as you can, this is called a "static hold" and will also build a lot of strength.

    see also:
    -australian pull-ups
    -chair assisted
    -band assisted

    but concentrate on getting stronger overall, more muscle = more better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    What iniquity said. don't ever, ever, ever use the assisted pullup machines.

    check out He's got some great progressions and advice on how to work up to pullups. I used to not be able to do a single one. I can rip off 10 or so dead hang pullups now at around 200 lbs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I started doing Simplefit last August. At that time I couldn't do a pull up either. I couldn't even pull myself up an inch. I didn't have access to a gym for assisted pull-ups. So I used some bands for doing pull downs until I was strong enough to do a pull up. I would substitute 3 pull downs for each pull-up I was supposed to do. Worked great. I can now do about 15 slow good form pull-ups in a row.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Topeka, Kansas
    primal blueprint fitness guide has the progressions you are looking for why not simply follow it? its free
    Primal Chaos
    37yo 6'5"
    6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
    current 338lbs 49" waist
    goal 240lbs 35" waist

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Calgary, AB
    I started with not being able to do more than hanging on the bar. Now I can do 5-6 chin-ups and 2-3 pull-ups on fresh muscules. It took ~ 1 year to get there.

    Here is what I did, based on the research.

    -first, you need to be realistic about your body weight vs your ability to do a pull-up.
    -if you are a female, chin-ups will come easier for you than pull-ups, and both will be difficult, since upper body strength is normally not a woman's forter. You will also have a better luck doing pull-ups with a narower, shoulder length grip, rather than the wide grip as you will be relying more on the bicep that way.
    -start with isometric hangs. Just hang there for as long as you can or try to start doing bent legs or straight legs raises while keeping yourself from swinging. It will help pass the time and you will be building your core strength at the same time
    -The next step is doing negatives. Assistance machines are not really a good idea, as the motion is different. Go good old bar!
    -to do a negative, jump up, get the chin over the bar, hands in the chin-up grip. Lower yourself SLOWLY on a count of 30. Do as many of those as you can.
    -Once you can go 10 chin-up negatives, start building up to:
    5 negative chin-up grip with 5 lbs weight strapped to your belly + 5 negative pull-ups
    Increase weight to 10 lbs on the chin-up, add 5 lbs on the pul-up till you build up to 10 reps each. Test to see if you can do a full chin-up or pull-up from a full hang
    Keep going adding weight on negatives, and testing to see if you yet achieved the full one, until you do. It's easier from there!

    Good luck!!!
    My Journal:
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Here's the link to my article on learning to do a pull-up.
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Syracuse, NY
    Simplefit is a great way to increase your pull-ups. I went from being able to do about 5 to 10-12. But it takes time.
    My weak attempt at a journal:


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Shop Now
    Pullup Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness - YouTube

    Mark has a series of youtube videos that show a progression for each of his 5 essential moves.
    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."

    My journal:

    My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.

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