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4 Steps to Completing Your First Pullup from a San Jose Personal Trainer

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4 Steps to Completing Your First Pullup from a San Jose Personal Trainer

This is Markus from Method3 Fitness. Today I’m going to teach you how to build the strength you need to complete a pullup, even if you’re a total beginner. Get started with pullups, using these four simple steps.

Step 1: Check Your Range of Motion

Are you able to reach your hands over your head? If not, that could be an issue with doing a pull up. As a San Jose Personal Trainer, I recommend that you work on your flexibility by foam rolling and stretching your back, shoulders, and lats. A few great stretches include:

  • Standing side bends
  • Dynamic wall slides
  • Downward Dog

Add these to your daily stretching routine to open the area around your ribcage, upper back, and arms. I recommend you warm up first before you stretch to get a better range of motion and avoid injury.

Step 2: Bar Hang

Bar hangs are a great way to start activating the muscles involved in pull ups. If you can’t reach the bar easily, you’ll need a bench or plyo box.

  1. Stand on the ground or on top of your box with your hands gripping the bar a little wider than shoulder distance apart.
  2. Bend your knees, lifting your feet off the floor so that you are hanging.
  3. Draw your shoulders down and back to engage your lats.

If this is too much, go ahead and keep one foot on the box or the floor to relieve some of the tension. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing. Complete three to five rounds. Add bar hands to your routine three times for at least two weeks to prep your muscles for the next step.

Step 3: Eccentric Pullups

Once you’re confident with your bar hangs, it’s time to move on to eccentric pullups, which help you train your lats. Add them to your workout twice a week for the next two weeks.

  1. Stand on top of the box/bench with your hands gripping the bar.
  2. Hop up so that your shoulders reach bar level and pull down firmly, pausing to hold that position.
  3. Slowly lower yourself down till your arms are fully extended.

Complete three rounds of 10 repetitions.

Step 4: Try Pullups

Now that you’ve been prepping for about 4 weeks, it’s time to attempt a pullup. You can do this by simply beginning from the bar and and pulling yourself up until your chin comes over the bar. If you’re not able to complete pullups right away, don’t sweat it. Continue to practice the exercises you learned here and add:

  • A solid regimen of pushups twice a week
  • Abdominal work three times a week
  • Back and shoulder exercises two times a week

The main movers for pull ups may be the lats, but the exercise also recruits your triceps, biceps, abdominals, and shoulders. So instead of simply focusing on this one move, make sure your strength routine is balanced with moves for your entire body. Good luck!

Stronger for Today,


Fitness Coach

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