A Pull-up Training Program for Beginners
I have been receiving a lot of requests for “pull-up improvement plans.” Although the pull-up is not an event of the current Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), it is an exercise that is practiced by many Service Members of every branch.
I have noticed that people will either love the pull-up or hate it. If you have grown up performing the pull-up, you will more likely be able to perform the exercise as an adult. If you have never performed a pull-up and attempted to perform it for the first time as an adult, you may find the exercise impossible to perform. The pull-up is an exercise that requires past performance or precise physical conditioning in order to reach the bar at all.
It is never too late to learn how to perform an exercise safely and effectively. This fitness program is for the person who has never performed a pull-up or has not performed many in the past.
You might have heard your drill sergeant call it the “crawl, walk and run phases.” It boils down to simple exercise basics: progression, variety and precision. Progress at a safe rate for your own fitness level, perform a variety of exercises to develop muscular strength and endurance properly, and continue to improve your exercise form. Make precision a huge factor in all of your workouts.
Bottom line: If you have been performing pull-ups in your recent workouts, perform more pull-ups on your strength training days. If you are just starting or restarting a pull-up program, try “Assisted Pull-ups.”
Let’s get started!
Primary muscles targeted: Latissimus Dorsi,
Synergists: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Teres Major, Deltoid (Posterior), Rhomboids, Levator Scapulae, Trapezius (lower, middle), Pectoralis Major (sternal), Pectoralis Minor
Dynamic Stabilizers: Biceps Brachii, Triceps (long head)
Equipment needed: Pull-up bar that is positioned approximately 3–4 feet from the ground
Start: Sit underneath the pull-up bar. Place your hands over the top of the bar and grasp it tightly with your arms shoulder-width apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles and elevate your hips until your back and legs form a straight line. Adjust your foot position until your chest is directly under the bar.
Actions: While keeping your abdominal muscles tight, pull your body toward the bar by bending both elbows. Return to the start position and repeat until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as your pull your body upward and inhale through your nose while you return to the start position.
Warning: Try not to rock your body while performing pull-ups. Called “swinging” or “kipping” (when you use a forceful initial movement of the legs in order to gain momentum), it prevents your stabilizers from protecting you from injury. Swinging or kipping should only be allowed while performing “negatives” (when you use a spotter to get you up to where your chin is over the bar or where you jump upward on your own, and lower yourself to the ground as slowly as you can).
Basic: 5–10 seconds, or 1–3 repetitions
Intermediate: 11–20 seconds, or 4–8 repetitions
Advanced: 21–40 seconds, or 9–15 repetitions
Extreme: 41–60 seconds, or 16–24 repetitions
Basic: 5–15 seconds, or 1–5 repetitions
Intermediate: 16–30 seconds, or 6–12 repetitions
Advanced: 31–60 seconds, or 13–25 repetitions
Extreme: 61–90 seconds, or 26–40 repetitions
Perform three sets of this exercise, resting 1–2 minutes between sets. Give yourself 24–48 hours rest before attempting the pull-up training again. Perform this routine for a month and you will notice increased strength in your back and arms, better posture, and a noticeable improved physique!
Want more? If you want a free PDF (524KB) of the entire workout (called “Operation Craving Competition, pt.2″) that includes the Assisted Pull-up, simply email me at sgtken@STARTfitness.com or click here to view it online.
Now, you’re armed and ready. Now, you’re fit to fight! Stay the course!
If you are looking for a great diet plan, try my Savory Survival Guide from www.NATIONALGUARD.com/life/fitness/diet-and-health.
Warning: Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have prior to commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or short of breath.