8 Pull Up Progressions For Beginners To Advanced

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Pull Up Tutorial With Beginner And Advanced Modifications

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing 8 pull up progressions for beginners to advanced.

This exercise tutorial will show you how to do my favorite back exercise, that not only strengthens your back, it’ll also help you build stronger arms, and melt your stubborn belly fat.

One part of my Live Lean Transformation 1,000,000 Mission is to get you to move your body more effectively.

In other words, focusing on exercises that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

These exercises are called compound movements, because they activate more muscles to perform the lift.

Melt Belly Fat With This Back Exercise Tutorial

Working more muscles means a higher calorie burn, thus burning fat faster, including your stubborn belly fat, during the workout and after the workout.

Hello afterburn effect.

KEY POINT: Just because you’re not directly training your abs, it does not mean you’re not melting fat there.

You melt way more fat doing compound moves vs crunches.

A compound exercise that fits this criteria, is the pull up.

How To Do A PULL UP | Exercise Demonstration Video and Guide

How To Do A Pull Up

Now before you stop reading this post, because you can’t do a pull up, I’m going to show you various modifications to make this exercise easier for you.

Follow these beginner pull up progressions to progress your way up to a full pull up.

I’ll also show you more advanced pull up progressions to try, so you can continuously improve.

Let jump into it.

8 Pull Up Progressions For Beginners To Advanced

Here are your coaching cues on how to properly perform each pull up progression.

Use these pull up progressions for beginners to complete your first pull up.

Let’s start with the beginner pull up progressions, then move our way to the more advanced pull up progressions.

#1. Partner Assisted Jumping Pull Up From The Back

The Partner Assisted Jumping Pull Up From The Back is an excellent starting pull up progression for beginners.

To get started:

  1. Place a stable box or platform underneath the pull up bar. The platform should be high enough so you can extend your arms to grip the pull up bar while standing on it.
  2. Stand up on the platform, with your partner standing behind you, then grip the pull up bar just outside shoulder width.
  3. Your partner should place their hands on the back of your shoulders to provide assistance.
  4. Next, while holding on to the pull up bar, bend your knees, then take a little bit of a leap with your legs to jump up as your partner gently pushes you to the top of the pull up.
  5. Once you pull your chin over the bar, slowly lower back down to the bottom of the pull up, as your partner continues to assist you by pushing into your back.
  6. Repeat for reps.

#2. Machine Assisted Pull Up

If you don’t have a partner, you can use the assisted pull up machine at your gym as your no partner beginner pull up progression.

To get started:

  1. Place the pin in the machine to select a weight that will assist you with completing the pull up. The more weight you select, the easier the pull up will be.
  2. Place both feet on the foot support, then with a shoulder width, overhand grip, grab the pull up bar with both hands and hang with your arms fully extended and your legs straight.
  3. Initiate the pull up by contracting your back muscles to pull your chest up to the bar.
  4. Keep your core tight, your glutes contracted, and your body in a straight line when pulling.
  5. Then under control, slowly lower your body back to the starting position with your arms fully extended.
  6. Repeat.

Note: depending on the type of assisted pull up machine, you may stand on the platform with straight legs, as shown in this video, or kneel on the platform with bent legs, as shown in this video.

#3. Bent Leg Inverted Row

If your gym doesn’t have an assisted pull up machine, I still have you covered with this bent leg inverted row using a squat rack.

The Bent Leg Inverted Row is an excellent beginner exercise to build up the required strength in your back to complete a straight leg inverted row.

Compared to the straight leg inverted row, the bent knee inverted row is an easier beginner progression, as it makes the movement a little easier when your knees are bent.

To get started:

  1. Set up the barbell so it reaches hip height.
  2. Lie down underneath the barbell, grab it with an overhand grip, 1-2 inches outside of shoulder width, and bend your knees to plant your feet firmly into the floor.
  3. Contract your abs and glutes to keep your body from your head to your knees, in a straight line while you look up at the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  4. Initiate the movement by contracting your back muscles, pulling your shoulder blades back and together, then pull your chest to the bar.
  5. Slowly lower yourself back down until your arms are straight, maintaining your body in a straight line. 
  6. Repeat for reps.

If you want to challenge yourself, complete the straight leg inverted row by fully extending your legs, then pull your body up to the bar using your lat muscles.

This is another great bodyweight exercise for the back.

#4. Partner Assisted Pull Up From The Ankles

The partner assisted pull up from the ankles is another beginner progression to completing a full pull up.

With this partner modification, your partner will assist you be grabbing your ankles and holding them for leverage.

Even though you’re still doing a lot of the work by using your lats to pull your chin over the bar, the assistance from the ankles will help you complete the pull up.

To get started:

  1. Grab the pull up bar with a just outside shoulder width grip.
  2. With your partner standing behind you, bend your knees and place them on top of your partner’s hands.
  3. This will provide you with leverage.
  4. Contract your back muscles, keep your abs tight, then use your lat muscles to begin to pull your chin up over the bar as you press your ankles into your partner’s hands.
  5. Once you get to the top of the pull up, under control, slowly extend your arms to lower your body back to the bottom of the pull up as your partner continues to push into your ankles to support you.
  6. Repeat for reps.

#5. Partner Assisted Pull Up From One Ankle

The Partner Assisted Pull Up From One Ankle is a beginner progression to completing a full pull up.

Providing assistance to just one ankle is a more challenging partner modification compared to when your partner holds both ankles.

To get started:

  1. Grab the pull up bar with a just outside shoulder width grip.
  2. With your partner standing behind you, bend one knee and place it on top of your partner’s hands. Your other leg remains straight.
  3. This will provide you with some leverage, but not as much if you bent both knees.
  4. Contract your back muscles, keep your abs tight, then use your lat muscles to begin to pull your chin up over the bar as you press your ankle into your partner’s hands.
  5. Once you get to the top of the pull up, under control, slowly extend your arms to lower your body back to the bottom of the pull up as your partner continues to push into your one ankle to support you.
  6. Repeat for reps.

#6. Jumping Pull Up

The Jumping Pull Up is a beginner modification to the regular pull up.

By jumping up, you use momentum to pull yourself up to complete the concentric part of the pull up rep.

After that, the goal is to try and focus on slowly lowering your body on the way down during the eccentric part of the rep.

This will help you build up the required back strength to complete a full pull up.

To get started:

  1. Place your feet directly underneath the pull up bar. This will allow you to jump straight up and down.
  2. To make the jumping pull up more challenging, jump up from the ground to grip the pull up. Or to make it easier, stand on a secure box or step, so you can continuously hold on to the pull up bar.
  3. To begin the movement, squat down and jump up to grip the pull up bar with an overhand grip.
  4. Use the momentum from the jump to assist your back muscles in pulling your chin over the bar.
  5. Focus on keeping your entire body tight as you raise and your body.
  6. Once your chin is over the bar, try to control the lowering of your body by extending your arms, then releasing the bar. If you’re standing on a box or step, you do not need to release the bar.
  7. Repeat for reps.

#7. Pull Up

All right, now we’re moving on to the standard pull up.

Here are a few key coaching points to get started:

  1. With a shoulder width, overhand grip, grab a pull up bar with both of your hands and hang with your arms fully extended and your legs straight. If the bar is not high enough to hang with straight legs, interlock your feet and bend your knees behind you.
  2. Initiate the move by first contracting your back muscles.
  3. To do this, pretend like you’re trying to pull the bar a part, by pulling your arms away from each other. This technique will really engage the lats.
  4. Keep your core tight, your glutes contracted, and your body in a straight line when pulling your chest up to the bar.
  5. Then under control, slowly lower your body back to the starting position with your arms fully extended.
  6. Make sure you are going through a full range of motion, by going all the way down and then all the way back up again, with your chin over the bar.
  7. Repeat.

#8. Dumbbell Pull Up

Here’s an advanced pull up progression.

Once these bodyweight pull ups get too easy, try adding some extra resistance with weights.

One way to do this is by putting a dumbbell between your ankles.

The Dumbbell Pull Up is an excellent way to continue strengthening the back.

To get started:

  1. Hold a dumbbell between your ankles, then grip the handles of the pull up bar with a just outside shoulder width grip. 
  2. As you hang at arm’s length, focus on keeping your abs tight, then contract your lats and think about pulling your elbows down to pull your chest to the bar, while getting your chin over the bar. When you flex and shorten your abs, you help ensure all the tension during the pull up is going through your lats.
  3. Pause, then under control, slowly lower your body by fully extending your arms back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat for reps.

You can also add weight to your pull ups by completing a:

There are your 8 pull up progressions for beginners to advanced.

Try to get at least 10 reps of the beginner pull up progressions.

Once you can do that, move up to the more advanced pull up progressions.

Enjoy all those new pull up gains.

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Question Of The Day:

  • Can you complete a pull up?
  • How many of these 8 pull up progressions have you tried?

Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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10 responses to “8 Pull Up Progressions For Beginners To Advanced

  1. Hi Brad, great tips. I love pull-ups and break up my entire workout in 5
    reps 10 times. I do 2 time with the same grip going from furthest to
    closest so that I focus on different part of my upper body. You obviously
    are the guru and I will borrow your technique. Do you think my approach is
    right or should I break up my workout differently as in more reps each time
    and adjust the number of times I do it? I am a fan of tibata and like to
    mix 5 pull ups with 10 push-ups. Let me know your thoughts.

  2. Brad, I can do ten pull ups and I don’t go all the way down. Normally I do
    50 pull ups every other day during lunch break. Whats differences doing the
    pull ups all the way down versus not going all the way down? Thanks!

  3. Great video! I have to say, as a girl I honestly used to think I’d never be
    able to do pull ups, but using these modifications over the years has
    really helped & now I can do up to 7 or 8 consecutive pull ups unassisted.
    Next year hopefully I’ll get my gainz up to Brads level. 🙂 There is no
    feeling more empowering than to literally lift yourself up! Ladies get up
    there & train yourself to pull up! Hire a trainer to help if necessary,
    this is a must-do exercise for everyone.

  4. Love this video. I think pull ups are one of the most overlooked exercises
    that hold some of the biggest benefits.

    I do a variety of pull ups with different grips, weighted and unweighted,
    and Max rep challenges.

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