How To: Get Your First Pull-up “Full Program”

by Austin Gwaltney B.S., ACE-CPT, USAW, FMS II

Throughout the course of a week, I will get asked this question at least once, “What do I have to do to get one strict pull-up?”. I have the answer to your first pull-up! The pull-up requires a high degree of strength to bodyweight ratio and will require consistent practice in order to become proficient at the movement. What does that mean? The better your nutrition and the lower percentage of bodyfat you have, will normally relate to the ease at which you can achieve the pull-up. Secondly, if you are practicing the actual pull-up movement 3-6 times a week it will expedite the process as well.

Though the task may seem a bit daunting at first, do not worry! I have a plan that has worked for many people with all body types. The trend of success with all of them was consistency, progressive overload, specificity, and time.  Consistency goes without saying, you need to be consistent to get good at a skill. Progressive overload is simply doing more than the previous session or week of work, and consistently progressing to make it harder on your body week in and week out. This will ensure that your muscles are forced to adapt and produce more force every week. Progressive overload is the key to gaining strength in all areas of your training. Specificity is the principle that states: in order to get good at a movement you must practice that specific movement often and with as little fatigue as possible.

 

art_kbforwomen6
Weighted pull-ups are the ultimate goal!

To demonstrate the point of limiting fatigue, imagine that you were trying to barbell back squat a heavy 1 repetition max. You would not be able to hit the same max weight every day due to fatigue. The same is true with a one rep pull-up. Trying to a achieve one rep in the pull-up is truly a max strength attempt, the idea is to practice the movement like a skill, and achieve as much work as possible with as little fatigue as possible ( i.e. 1 minute rest periods below) . Lastly, time is your friend, it may take some people 2 weeks to achieve a pull-up or it may take others 8-12 weeks. Everyone is different in regards to the time required to achieve a pull-up. After consistently practicing, you will not only be able to do many reps, but you will be able to do weighted pull-ups as well.

Here is the plan:

NOTE: Throughout the beginning of this plan, we use a resistance band to create a progression.

Monday Wednesday Friday
WEEK 1 10×2 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Bottom hang isometric hold 3×15 sec.

10×2 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Bottom hang isometric hold 3×15 sec.

10×2 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Bottom hang isometric hold 3×15 sec.

WEEK 2 10×3 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 3×5 sec.

10×3 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 3×5 sec.

10×3 w/ medium band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 3×5 sec.

WEEK 3 10×2 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 2×10 sec.

10×2 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 2×10 sec.

10×2 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Top of bar isometric hold 2×10 sec.

WEEK 4 10×3 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×5 sec.

10×3 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×5 sec.

10×3 w/ Medium mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×5 sec.

WEEK 5 10×2 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×10 sec.

10×2 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×10 sec.

10×2 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×10 sec.

WEEK 6 10×3 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 2×10 sec.
Scapular retraction 4×5 reps

10×3 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×10 sec.
Scapular retraction 4×5 reps

10×3 w/ Mini band

(1 minute rest between sets)
Lower to half-way and hold for 3×10 sec.
Scapular retraction 4×5 reps

WEEK 7 Test Pull-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see above, this program is set-up for six weeks. We can move the program out for a longer duration or decrease the duration if needed. I look forward to seeing you knock out a set of awesome pull-ups in the gym! If you have any questions about the pull-up program email Coach.austin.isc@gmail.com or just ask me at the gym.


Leave a Reply