After today's guide you'll be able to do a pull-up everywhere, like Steve does.

Pull-ups are my favourite train of all time.

However what if you may’t do a pull-up but?

The reply: learn this final information on getting your first pullup ASAP!

Here's a gif of a pull-up in perfect form.

We’ve helped tons of of On-line Teaching Purchasers get their first pull-up, and we’ll cowl our actual methods under! 

As a part of our Energy Coaching 101 collection, we provide you with a precise plan to observe main you to your very first full pull-up:

If you happen to can already do a pull-up (woot!), you would possibly wish to try our article on correct pull-up type, though we’ll cowl plenty of the identical materials right here.

Let’s do that thang.

Recommendations on Begin Doing Pull-Ups

Within the video above, Coach Jim walks you thru the precise development system we use with our teaching shoppers who wish to get their first pull-up (or chin-up).

Earlier than we get into workouts to progress right into a pull-up, let’s chat about some basic methods.

Think about the next three factors when trying to get your first chin-up or pull-up:

#1) This could hopefully be apparent, however the extra you weigh, the extra you must carry with a purpose to full a pull-up.

If you happen to’re really severe about finishing a pull-up, begin by getting your weight-reduction plan below management. 

As we are saying right here at Nerd Health, 80-90% of weight reduction comes all the way down to what you eat (#4 within the Guidelines of the Riot).

Listed here are some sources that will help you with weight reduction:

#2) MAKE YOUR “PULL” EXERCISES A PRIORITY. Lots of people do each different train earlier than doing any back-related workouts, in the event that they do any in any respect.

After warming up correctly, your first train ought to all the time be the stuff that you just wish to work on probably the most – on this case, it’ll be your again muscle mass.

Till you get your first pull-up performed, give attention to the again workouts detailed within the ranges and exercises on this information.

#3) The development we define is a path that works for most individuals, however does NOT should be adopted to a T.

We give pattern units and reps and when to maneuver up, however when you really feel like you may progress sooner or wish to strive doing full pull-ups ahead of we suggest, that’s OKAY.

That is the slower development technique, the place some folks will wish to do fewer reps and progress to the following ranges sooner – that’s okay.

We suggest transferring as much as the following degree when you are able to do 3 units of 8 reps of a specific train. If you would like the accelerated path, transfer on up as quicker as you are able to do 3 units of 5 reps. You do you boo.

You can follow our path for a pull-up but feel free to make it your own!

Need somebody to construct you a custom-made development plan for doing all of your first pull-up? Our 1-on-1 On-line Teaching Program will do exactly that, plus your coach can evaluation your actions by way of our app so that you’ll know your coaching accurately and safely.

Degree 1 Pull-up Exercise: Bent Over Dumbbell Rows

Do a dumbbell row as a great beginner exercise to get strong enough for a pull-up!

We’re going to begin with bent-over dumbbell rows, probably the most primary of again workouts, in case you’re ranging from ABSOLUTELY sq. one.

Degree 1 Pull-up Exercise:

  • Bent-over dumbbell rows: 8 reps for every arm (or as many as you are able to do)
  • Relaxation for a 2-minute break
  • Do one other set
  • Repeat till you hit 3 units

What weight must you begin out with initially?

No matter permits you to get to at the very least 5 reps a set.

As soon as you are able to do 3 units of 8 reps (every arm), it’s time to choose up a heavier dumbbell.

It will let you get stronger and stronger. 

Be sure you give your self at the very least 48 hours till you do the Degree 1 Dumbbell Rows once more, so you may embody these dumbbell rows on your exercises on:

As quickly as you are able to do 3 units of 8 reps, it’s time to maneuver as much as a heavier dumbbell.

  • As soon as you may carry a 25-pound (10kg) dumbbell or heavier, think about transferring as much as the subsequent degree.
  • If you’re somewhat bit greater than the common bear, you would possibly wish to persist with this step till you lose somewhat bit extra weight and get stronger – possibly go to 35 or 40-pound (18kg) dumbbells.

Need assist designing your individual exercise routine? I’ve acquired two choices for you.

The primary is to move over to “Construct Your Personal Exercise Routine” and get your arms soiled. Our information will stroll you thru constructing a full-body train program in 10 easy steps.

The second is to have a Nerd Health Coach do all of the heavy lifting for you (probably not, you continue to need to carry stuff), by having them construct you a tailored exercise routine:

Degree 2 Pull-Up Exercise: Inverted Body weight Rows

Inverted rows are a great exercise to work on doing your first pull-up.

Body weight rows are the PERFECT precursor to pull-ups – they work the identical muscle mass, and have you ever lifting your individual body weight, simply at a unique angle.

For this degree, we’ll give you two choices: You can too make changes.


You may observe the remainder of this exercise as a part of our 6-Degree Gymnasium exercise information, which is able to allow you to go from complete fitness center beginner to pull-up progressing badass!

At your fitness center, discover your Smith Machine and set the bar at about chest peak. 

The next bar makes the train simpler to begin:

Start with inclined inverted rows for your pull-up workout. Then drop lower for more required effort.

And as you get stronger, you may set the bar decrease:

As you get lower, like this, the row will be harder to do. Great way to progress into a pull-up.

Right here’s a complete put up I did on inverted body weight rows.

Right here’s methods to do an inverted body weight row:

  1. Set the bar at a peak the place it’s difficult so that you can full 3 units of 8 reps with two minutes of relaxation between units.
  2. Clench your butt and hold your abs tight and physique straight all through the train. 
  3. Pull your shoulder blades down and again in the direction of one another (such as you’re making an attempt to pinch a pencil between them behind your again).
  4. Focus your thoughts on PULLING along with your arms.
  5. Pull till your chest touches the bar (not your neck).
  6. As quickly as you may full all 3 units of 8 reps, set the bar heigh decrease to make the train tougher.

If it helps, here’s a video demonstration with gymnastic rings, however you can begin with a bar as displayed within the pictures under.

If you have to make the train much less difficult, bend your knees and put your ft flat on the bottom:

Bending your knees like so can be helpful to start doing inverted rows.

Degree 2 pattern exercise routine:

  • Monday – 3 units of 8 reps of overhand body weight rows

Alternate between an overheand and underhand bodyweight row.

  • Wednesday – 3 units of 8 reps of underhand body weight rows (arms reversed)

Alternate between underhand and overhand when doing bodyweight rows.

  • Friday – 3 units of 8 reps of overhand body weight rows

(After which go underhand, overhand, underhand the next week)

As quickly as you’re doing body weight rows the place your physique is at a 45-degree angle or decrease, you may progress to Degree 3.


You’ve got 4 paths right here:

1) Buy a door body pull-up bar, dangle a pair of gymnastic rings from them. After which observe the identical recommendation as above!

2) Use your kitchen desk for rows (BE CAREFUL):

3) Do inverted rows between a pair chairs, as we stroll you thru in Do Pull-ups With no Bar:

This gif shows Jim doing a row on chairs

4) Transfer as much as Degree 3 and progress with warning there.

If you’re scuffling with rows, you’re undecided you’re doing them accurately, otherwise you’re undecided methods to progress to the following degree, try our 1-on-1 teaching program

It’s the kind of program that helped single mother Leslie lose 100+ kilos and begin coaching with gymnastic rings and handstands! 

How did Leslie transform? Strength training. with pull-ups

Degree 3 Pull-Up Exercise: Assisted Pull-Ups

Steve doing an assisted pull-up, a perfect precursor to a regular pull-up!

Okay! It’s time to get to ACTUAL pull-ups right here! Personally, I don’t like utilizing the assisted pull-up machine in a fitness center because it doesn’t provide the full feeling of a pull-up, nevertheless it’s actually higher than nothing.

As a substitute, I like to recommend doing certainly one of these alternate options:

#1) Assisted Pull-ups with a chair

A chair can be a great tool to help you get your first pull-up.

Both one foot or two on the chair, relying in your wants. Your ft are ONLY there for help, use your higher physique as a lot as doable.

You can too use a field or similar-sized object for a similar consequence:

A box can be used instead of a chair for a pull-up.

#2)Assisted Pull-ups with train band: 

Staci using a band for an assisted pull-up.

You may get several types of train bands with totally different ranges of energy, or a spread pack for straightforward development.

Put your foot within the train band and pull your self up.

#3) Assisted pull-ups with a accomplice:

A friend can be a great asset when you're trying to do a pull-up.

Have a good friend maintain your ft behind you and allow you to full every rep. Have them use the least quantity of assist doable to get you thru your exercises.

Right here’s methods to do an assisted pull-up:

For an additional reference, Coach Jim and Staci present you methods to do a variation of assisted chin-up proper right here:

That is in all probability the TOUGHEST degree earlier than getting your pull-ups. If you happen to get caught on “assisted pull-ups” and “assisted chin-ups”, you’re not alone. That is the place most individuals get caught.

We work hand-in-hand with folks such as you to get them their first pull-up in our On-line Teaching Program. If you happen to don’t know methods to match these actions into your exercises, otherwise you simply need someone to provide the actual exercise to observe each day, we acquired you!

Lastly, a exercise that features Degree 3 pull-up workouts

  • Monday – Assisted Pull-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Wednesday – Inverted Body weight Rows – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Friday – Assisted Chin Ups – 3 units of 8 reps

It will allow you to ramp as much as Degree 4.

Degree 4 Pull-Up Exercise: Prime holds and Bar Hangs

Coach Staci showing you the bar hang

Alright, so we’ve began off nice! We’re working these pulling muscle mass and assisted variations – however an precise chin-up would possibly really feel miles (or kilometers) away.

Heck, simply even holding onto the bar could also be a problem with out some help.

What ought to we do now? 

How about we work on holding onto the bar!?!

Earlier than we work on doing full vary, unassisted chin-ups or pull-ups, it’s actually useful to be robust and assured in holding unassisted elements of the motion.

That is the place Prime Holds and Bar Hangs are available in!

#1) A Prime Maintain is precisely what it appears like – we maintain the highest place of the chin-up or pull-up for a number of seconds (5 to 10). You’ll probably discover holding the highest of the chin-up (palms going through you) simpler than the pull-up.

Coach Jim holding at the top of a pull-up

That is positively one thing that you just wish to first do assisted. We’ll then work to switch extra weight – little by little over a number of exercises – off our ft and onto our arms till we’re holding ourselves unassisted on the high.

Utilizing a band is an effective possibility for assisted chin-ups, however utilizing a field, bench, or one other sturdy object might be a greater possibility right here.

It can let you shift that weight onto your arms somewhat simpler.

That stated, if all you’ve got is a band for this train then that’s okay! Look to make use of thinner and thinner bands, whereas lifting the ft and knees up a bit to additional cut back help (because the band gained’t be stretched as far).

#2) On the opposite aspect of the motion, we’ve the Bar Dangle…which is just about what it appears like too!

Staci showing you the simple yet effective bar hang.

To carry out a bar dangle:

  • Seize the bar with palms going through in the direction of you or away from you. You’ll probably discover hanging with palms going through away from you to be a bit extra comfy. Both route will assist strengthen up your grip.
  • Similar to with the highest maintain, you’ll wish to begin assisted then work to shift your weight out of your ft onto your arms till you’re hanging unassisted.

This gif shows Coach Jim doing assisted then unassisted hangs.

To additional supercharge this train: as soon as you’re hanging unassisted, work on retracting your shoulders down away out of your ears.

Like so:

Coach Jim doing a shoulder retract, shown from the back

And so:

Coach Jim doing shoulder retracts, shown from the front.

This small motion is TOUGH (and you may even follow it assisted) however getting robust right here will set your shoulders in a good higher place on your first chin-up/pull-up.

We’ll look to hold from the bar (assisted or unassisted) for a complete time of 30 seconds to 1 minute. At first this time could also be damaged up into a number of units (e.g., 10 seconds, 10 seconds, 10 seconds), however it is best to finally work as much as one full set.

So how ought to we combine both of those into our coaching?

#1) For the Prime Holds, do that initially of your exercise (after your warm-up) for 3 units of 5 seconds. Be sure you give it your all! Actually squeeze the muscle mass tight and put as a lot weight on the arms as doable!

With all that effort, you’ll wish to give your self 30 seconds to a minute relaxation in-between. I do know that appears like loads for simply 5 seconds of labor – however when you had been working exhausting sufficient, you’ll want it!

#2) For the Bar Dangle, do that on the finish of your exercise for 30 seconds to a minute. Once more, look to finish this in as few units as doable, whereas making the train as difficult as doable. Transfer from assisted to unassisted, with the shoulders retracted downwards.

You can start your gymnastic ring training by simply hanging from the rings!

If you must take a break throughout the bar dangle time, then take sufficient relaxation in order that the following maintain is productive.

Right here Are the Workout routines You Can Embrace for Your Degree 4 Exercise Routine:


  • Prime Maintain (Assisted or Unassisted) – 4 units of 5 seconds
  • Assisted Pull-ups – 3 units of 8 repetitions
  • Bar Dangle (Assisted or Unassisted) – 30 seconds complete time


  • Prime maintain (Assisted or Unassisted) – 4 units of 5-10 seconds
  • Body weight Rows – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Assisted or Unassisted) – 30 to 60 seconds complete time

Friday –

  • Prime Maintain (Assisted or Unassisted) – 4 units of 5 seconds
  • Assisted Chin-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Assisted or Unassisted) – 30 seconds complete time

If you’re capable of carry out the Prime Holds and Bar Hangs unassisted, then it’s time to maneuver to the following degree!!!


Coach Staci showing you the front plant

What’s this??? Secret hidden workouts?

I simply wished to convey your consideration to an ideal addition to any of those exercises – particularly as issues actually ramp up.

Prepared for it?

It’s . . . the entrance plank!

This gif shows Coach Jim doing a front plank

The entrance plank (or any of your favourite midsection stabilization workouts) is a superb train to do, ought to holding a Prime Maintain or a Bar Dangle show powerful.

If you happen to haven’t already felt it throughout the earlier pull-up exercises – your center must be concerned too!

Throughout a pull-up or chin-up, if we squeeze by way of the midsection and glutes, the close by muscle mass are capable of contract stronger by way of a phenomenon often known as muscle irradiation.

Moreover sounding like one thing the Implausible 4 encountered in house, this cool “trick” can assist engaged close by muscle mass within the midsection, together with these large again muscle mass that pull us up!

A picture showing the latissimus dorsi muscles

You may see muscle irradiation for your self when you’ve ever been requested to flex your biceps for somebody. You’ll instinctually squeeze your hand tight, as a result of it helps the biceps interact stronger!

If wanted, throw in some entrance planks work close to the tip of your exercise.

You may even begin in your knees:

If you can't do a normal plank, start with doing them on your knees until you can advance.

Look to carry 30 seconds to 1 minute of complete time.

Alright, again to our common scheduled programming!

Degree 5 Pull-Up Exercise: Unfavourable Pull-Ups

Staci jumping up to do a negative pull-up.

Okay! We at the moment are DANGEROUSLY near getting our first pull-up!

The massive step at this degree is doing a detrimental pull-up:

  1. Seize onto the bar with an overhand grip
  2. Leap so your chest is touching
  3. Slowly decrease your self below management till you’re on the backside of the motion.

WARNING: This may be very harmful when you’re very chubby, which is why I’d suggest transferring slowly by way of steps 1-3 first.

Nevertheless, after getting a good quantity of again energy (which you bought from Ranges 1, 2, and three), doing negatives is a good way to construct arm and again energy.

You’ve got two choices for detrimental pull-ups:

  1. Hop up on a chair to get above the bar after which decrease your self again down. The secret is “in management.”
  2. Leap above the pull-up bar, after which start to decrease your self again down IN CONTROL.

You don’t must decrease your self so slowly that one repetition destroys you…decrease your self at a managed velocity – Counting to “three Mississippi” throughout the motion is an effective tempo.

Listed here are the workouts you may embody on your Degree 5 Exercise Routine:


  • Unfavourable Pull-ups – 4 units of 1 rep
  • Assisted Pull-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 30 seconds complete time


  • Prime Maintain (Unassisted) – 4 units of 5-10 seconds
  • Body weight Rows – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 60 seconds complete time


  • Unfavourable Chin-ups – 4 units of 1 rep
  • Assisted Chin-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 30 seconds complete time

When you’re doing the entire detrimental repetitions in every trainyou’re prepared to do a pull-up.

As you’ll see above, we’re providing you with the “pull” workouts in case you are constructing your individual exercise. If you would like a very good newbie fitness center exercise program, these actions will slot in completely.

Alternatively, we are able to do the entire heavy lifting for you (effectively, not ALL the heavy lifting) – we’ll create a selected exercise so all you must do is log into your NF Teaching App every morning and do the exercise your coach prescribed!

Degree 6 – Doing Your First Pull-up or Chin-up

OH BOY! My expensive Insurgent, it’s time for a…

We made it! Here's Staci doing a pull-up!!!

At this level you’ve got two choices:

A chin-up is whenever you seize the bar with an underhand grip along with your palms going through in the direction of you.

A chin-up is a pull-up, but with your hands facing towards you.

Many discover chin-ups barely simpler than…

A pull-up is whenever you seize the bar along with your palms going through away from you. Seeing as this can be a pull-up information…


  1. Seize the bar with a grip barely wider than shoulder-width, along with your arms going through away from you.
  2. Begin from a useless dangle.
  3. Interact your shoulders, pull them down and again in the direction of one another (like you’re pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades!)
  4. Flex your abdomen, pull your physique till your chest touches the bar.
  5. Slight pause, yell out “I’m a champion!”
  6. Decrease your self all the way in which again all the way down to a useless dangle.

We cowl all of this and extra in our put up “ Do a Correct Pull-Up,” however the above will get you began

Relying in your weight, your degree of health and energy, and the way far alongside you’re in these progressions, you would possibly be capable to begin with even multiple pull-up.

At this level, you is usually a full Gymnasium Class Hero by following a Gymnasium Exercise with these actions in there on your “pull” workouts:

 Degree 6 routine weekly schedule:


  • Pull-ups – 4 units of 1-2 reps (transfer onto the following train when you can’t carry out a rep)
  • Assisted Pull-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 60 seconds complete time


  • Unfavourable Chin-ups – 4 units of 1 rep
  • Body weight Rows – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 60 seconds complete time


  • Chin-ups – 4 units of 1-2 reps (transfer onto the following train when you can’t carry out a rep)
  • Assisted Chin-ups – 3 units of 8 reps
  • Bar Dangle (Unassisted) – 60 seconds complete time

Congratulations! You’re now doing pull-ups. Be sure you watch that video above to ensure you’re doing pull-ups with correct type. Almost all people does them incorrectly, with unhealthy type.

Need to ensure you have correct type along with your pull-ups? Check out our 1-on-1 Teaching program! Our spiffy cell app allows you to ship video of your pull-ups on to your coach, who will present suggestions so you may excellent your approach.

They’ll additionally construct a exercise program that’s {custom} to your scenario, which may have you doing units of 10 pull-ups in NO time!

Degree 7 – Superior Pull-up Strikes

Now you can move onto advanced pull-ups like Steve is doing here.

When you’re capable of do 3 units of 10 pull-ups or chin-ups, you’ve got just a few choices:

OPTION #A: Proceed to get higher at doing extra reps – 3 units of 12, 3 units of 15, 4 units of 20, and many others.

OPTION #B: Begin doing different varieties of pull-ups.

Listed here are some superior pull-ups you may strive: 

#1) WIDE GRIP PULL-UPS (seize the bar WAY out with each arms):

Maintaining a wide grip is a great advanced pull-up.


Another form of an advanced pull-up for you. Shift your weight from arm to arm.


If you own some rings you can use them like so for some advanced pull-ups.

#5) TOWEL PULL-UPS (Nice for grip energy)

OPTION #C) Add weight with a weight belt and do weighted pull-ups or weighted chin-ups:

A weighted pull-up is great for progressive overload on your muscles.

Personally, my favourite factor to do in a fitness center is weighted pull-ups; when you’re at this degree and taken with doing so, right here’s what you have to do:

  1. Get a weight belt. I purchased this one on Amazon and it’s labored out extremely effectively for me. I’ve tried doing the entire “put weights in a backpack” and it actually works, however the angle of the weights hanging off your again is bizarre. With a weight belt, the burden hangs down between your legs (not a euphemism) so it feels extra pure.
  2. Add small quantities at a time. Most gyms may have 2.5 lb (roughly 1kg) weights; you would possibly really feel silly placing on a giant weight belt and solely hanging a tiny weight off it, however you have to begin someplace.
  3. Constantly add extra weight. I’ll heat up with two units of 5 pull-ups with no additional weight, after which do 3 units of 5 weighted pull-ups. If I can full all 3 units of 5 reps (with my chin over the bar for each rep), I’ll make a remark so as to add 2.5 or 5lbs (1 or 2kg) to my weight belt for the following time.

Right here’s methods to incorporate these Degree 6 workouts into your fitness center exercise routine:

  • MondayWeighted Chin Ups – 3 units of 5 reps
  • Wednesday Elevated Toes Physique Weight Rows – 3 units of max repetitions
  • Friday – Broad Grip Pull-ups – 3 units of most repetition
  • (The next week, I’d alternate by doing the chin-ups with out weight, after which doing weighted pull-ups

The place do you go from right here? How about working in the direction of probably the most spectacular workouts of all time? The MUSCLE UP (warning: uber superior)!

Our new app, Nerd Health Journey, not solely has an journey to get you your first pull-up, however we’ll additionally present you precisely methods to do cool body weight tips just like the muscle-up too. No guesswork wanted right here, simply leap into the app and observe the missions and exercises for the day.

You may strive your free trial TODAY, proper right here:

Raise Your self Up (A Life With Pull-Ups)

The world can be your pull-up bar as Steve is showing here.

Regardless of your place to begin, you CAN do pull-ups.

And also you WILL do pull-ups with this information. 

You don’t must observe the development above precisely – it’s merely one path which you could take with a purpose to attain the promised land…the place the pull-ups movement like wine and the ladies instinctively flock just like the Salmon of Capistrano.

High Five! You are now doing pull-ups!

Simply ask Christina, who can now do a number of units of pull-ups – her story is unbelievable:

Christina started rocking pull-ups after Nerd Fitness Coaching

Or Bronwyn, who misplaced 50+ lbs and now does chin-ups along with her daughter on her again!

For folks on the lookout for the following step, we’ve constructed 3 choices which may float your boat:

1) If you’re someone that wishes to get outcomes like the ladies above and observe a tailored pull-up energy program designed round their life and targets, try our standard 1-on-1 On-line Teaching Program.

You’ll work with our licensed NF instructors who will get to know you higher than your self, verify your type, and program your exercises and diet for you.

#2) Exercising at dwelling and want a plan to observe? Take a look at Nerd Health Journey!

Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra incessantly, eat more healthy, and degree up your life (actually). We even have an superior journey that will help you get your first pull-up!

Attempt your free trial proper right here:

3) Be part of our free group, the Nerd Health Riot, and we’ll ship you our free Energy 101 Information, which you may get whenever you join within the field under:

Observe the trail that works on your schedule, your expertise, and your degree of consolation with this motion – there’s no disgrace in going slowly and progressing safely.

And when you’re gung ho about pull-ups, prepared for negatives and making an attempt to squirm for that first rep, be happy to go for it. Simply be secure.

If you DO lastly do a pull-up, I wish to be the primary to know – electronic mail me at and inform me about it!

For the Riot,


PS: Take a look at our different three articles on pull-ups:

PPS: Need to be taught extra? Learn the remainder of the Energy Coaching 101 collection:


Picture Souce: Muscle groups that Transfer the Humerus

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