Truly – it’s an awesome goal for anyone, especially for women, because pull ups are very challenging. If you have decided to make pull ups a goal for yourself I’m proud of you already.
In today’s video I’ll share with you some of the tips I recommend to beginners – things you should avoid – as well as what you absolutely NEED to do to achieve this goal.
Let’s get started.
Although hanging from the bar is an excellent exercise to get your hands and arms stronger and give you better endurance for pull ups, hanging there without engaging your muscles does you more harm than good.
Whenever you are hanging from the bar, even if it’s only for a few seconds, it’s imperative that you engage your muscles, like you’re plugging your shoulders into their sockets.
When your muscles fatigue and you can no longer engage them, it’s time to let go of the bar and rest.
It’s okay if you can only do this for 5 seconds when starting out, you’ll slowly work your way up to 30 second or 60 second holds, but you MUST engage your muscles while hanging in order to get stronger and receive the benefits this exercises is intending.
It may seem like it’s helping you get higher up but really it’s just teaching you bad habits and distracting you from what you truly need to focus on: using your back muscles.
Instead of reaching your chin and straining your neck and trap muscles you should keep you neck in neutral. If you cannot make it to the top of the bar then have a partner spot you, use a resistance band looped around your knees, or use an assisted pull up machine. Find some other way to do pull ups without straining your neck.
Training this neutral neck habit early on will help you in the future. Train it early.
You have to go into this goal with your expectations pretty low. Realize that Pull Ups are very challenging and building up the strength for them can take weeks, months, or years. Not hours or days.
If you give up after just 10 days of practicing you’ll never get any closer.
Set yourself up with the expectation that it may take you a year. Then when you’re able to achieve it in only a few months you’ll be delighted and surprised!
The amount of time it will take you depends on so many factors, especially how strong you are to begin with, how dedicated you are to the goal, how hard you’re working towards it, etc..
Just don’t make the mistake of setting your expectation that it will be really easy or fast to achieve.
This one is for the super ambitious ladies who are so determined they want to practice for hours every day.
You can’t practice pull ups daily. They are an intense full body exercise and rest is required to grow stronger and get better at them.
By practicing pull ups too often you’ll overwork the muscles used in pull ups and set yourself up for injuries like elbow tendonitis.
You also risk emotional and mental burnout.
Rest days are essential. Your body needs rest in order to grow stronger.
I wouldn’t recommend doing pull up practice more than 2-3 consecutive days without taking a rest day.
I’ve personally learned these lessons by making all the same mistakes myself, so don’t worry if you’ve already made these mistakes, they are all reversible. When we know better, we can do better.
Now that you’ve been warned about what not to do, let’s talk about what you should do.
Any exercise where you are pulling something from above your head down to your shoulders counts as a vertical pull. You can do this with a cable machine at the gym, use stretch bands at home, single arm pulls etc..
Any exercise where you’re holding still but abs are activated is key for strengthening your core to be able to do pull ups. Ab strength is a big piece of pull up strength and getting your core stronger will help pull ups become easier for you.
Moving while holding your core stable is excellent for helping you achieve your pull up goal.
Don’t do this workout every single day, your back muscles need recovery time to get stronger. Do this 2-3x per week and be consistent with it, 2-3x per week over several weeks to really see a difference.