6 Weeks to your 1st Pull-up (Beginner Program)

-Pull-ups, as you know, may be a bugaboo (I’m not totally sure what that means but it sounds right) for  you and many others. It is an exercise that is difficult to scale which makes it difficult to progress.  It is also heavily dependent on your strength-to-bodyweight ratio. But it should not be avoided and don’t fool yourself, the “Lat Pull-Down” machine is not doing your body justice.-

-For many their typical program simply consists of performing as many pull-ups (if any) as they can until they have that moment when that chin is just short of the bar and your feet start performing the Elaine Benes  “little kicks” dance.  Maybe you’re reading this because you are a beginner and have just been too afraid to even approach a pull-up bar.  Below I’ll provide a 6-Week  “Conjugate”-ish Program that will improve that raw overhead pulling power, maybe even enough to pull your chin over the bar for the first time or turn your measly few pull-ups into 3 sets of 10.-

*There is no “kipping”. If you perform gymnastic or butterfly pull-ups in conditioning workouts these strict pull-ups will help a good deal and help support your shoulders against injury when performing the accelerated versions.

* This program is written with the assumption that you are injury free and have competence in the movement.

* For an Advanced Program Check this out


Week 1:

Test: Perform as many pull-ups as possible.
*If you are far from achieving your first bodyweight pull-up find the LEAST resistant band that allows you to perform a single pull-up. This will be our established starting point.  Tests and Re-Tests are vital in fitness based programs even if you don’t get much of a training affect from the test.

Week 2:

EMOTM for 6 minutes perform 6 pull-ups with a band that will allow you to do so.
*EMOTM= Every Minute on the Minute
*Perform 6 pull-ups every minute using the same band for a total of 6 minutes.
*Set a timer or keep an eye on your watch.

*The set of 6 does not need to be performed “unbroken”. They just need to be completed within the minute. This may come in to play on your final sets.

Week 3:

5xME Jumping Pull-up with 4 second descent.

*Set up a stable box underneath your pull-up bar that allows you to jump and pull your chin over the bar.
* Once over the bar lower yourself with your feet in the air at a slow 4 sec pace. Safely put your feet back on the box/ bench once your arms are fully extended.
*If you can no longer pull your chin over the bar or can no longer maintain the 4 second pace your set is complete.
*If you are unable to maintain a 4 second descent to start perform 5 sets of 5 reps holding the slowest descent possible.

Week 4:

4x ME Drop Set
*Perform a max effort set with the least resistant band possible than move up to a stronger (thicker) band each set.
*Start with the first band you know you can do a pull-up with. Move to a stronger band from there on the next 3 sets. This should mean you’re using the strongest band on your last set.

Week 5:

3×3 w/ Least resistant band possible

*Perform 3 sets of 3 pull-ups.
*Do your best to use a band that would only allow you to perform 3 repetitions
*Rest 2 minutes in between sets.

Week 6:
Re-Test Week:
Perform as many Pull-ups as possible
*If you unable to re-test your pull-up ability with the band you tested in week 1.


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