Pull-ups are considered the most effective exercise for gaining muscle volume in the bust area. They probably share the podium with the dips and consist of lifting your body with the simple force of your arms by gripping a bar.
Maybe the terms supine traction or overhand are not familiar to you, but it is not very complicated. The difference is in the position and the spacing of the hands when taking the bar.
To help you understand the difference between pronation and supination, you can take a look at the picture and this short article from the site “I retain”.
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Why try to do pull-ups?
These are definitely the best moves for the biceps and the back, especially the latissimus dorsi. It therefore seems difficult to do without it to build a concrete bust.
Only, there is a small problem… many people fail and get discouraged. In general, beginners, people in overweight and women are not able to do a single pull-up. Some succeed, but with such difficulty that they cannot do several sets to get the maximum benefit.
If this is your case, don't be discouraged. I myself have a lot of difficulty with pull-ups, but I hang on because I know all the virtues of them.
So I'm going to give you the 4 best ways to progress, regardless of your current level, even if you are unable to do just one today.
4 techniques to improve pull-ups
Before going any further, I would like to point out that the techniques you are about to discover apply to both supination and pronation traction. The first ones primarily work the biceps, while the second promotes the latissimus dorsi work.
Let's go for the 4 techniques to help you do it more easily:
1. Do pull-ups!
No, I'm not delusional and it's not a typo. That's the bare bones truth, folks. If you want to do more pull-ups, you have to ALWAYS DO MORE. Let me explain…
For example, if you are able to do 3 in a row today, you must have the goal of doing 4 next time. Maybe you won't make it, and you'll get stuck at 3. Maybe you'll be able to do 3 and a half. It doesn't matter, to progress, you have to go up to your bar with the firm intention to do at least one more.
You must be like a baby who wants to learn to walk. Will you get there if you keep crawling all day? No. It is by trying often, and probably by often failing that you will end up walking... and running (even too quickly according to your parents 😀 ).
It's the same with learning to do pull-ups. You have to try again and again to get there and to progress.
Don't forget the moral of Jean de La Fontaine (The Lion and the Rat):
Patience and length of time do more than strength or rage
Do your best to add a repetition (or to do your first pull). If you can't do it, it doesn't matter. Try again next time, then the next, again and again (that's just the beginning, okay, okay, as our good Francis Cabrel would say).
When you get there, your goal will be to add yet another.
2. Do negative pull-ups
What is this? It exists ? Well yes, ladies and gentlemen!
We use the term “negative” when we talk about the descending part load in a movement. For example, when you pick up a dumbbell or the handle of your bands elastic bands for doing a biceps curl, this is the positive phase. When you release the dumbbell or handle to slowly return to the starting position, this is the negative phase.
When doing pull-ups, the negative phase is when you drop your body back to the starting position at the bottom. However, you will see that this phase is essential to help you progress. Indeed, it will be easier for you to retain your body weight to return to the starting point than to pull on your arms to go to a high position.
Despite everything, the negative part of the movement is very important since it works exactly the same muscles (biceps and back), but to a lesser extent.
So to progress you have to use this phase. It will allow you to strengthen and develop the muscles you need to do this exercise. And you will see that this way of doing things is extremely effective.
How to do negative pull-ups?
To correctly do the negative version of the movement, you must start at the high point, where you would have arrived if you had the necessary strength. And that is the challenge. You can achieve this in 2 different ways:
By gaining momentum. Grip the pull-up bar as you normally would. But instead of lifting with just your muscles, jump enough to get your chin above the bar without too much effort. That doesn't mean you won't have to use your arms or back at all to help yourself, but the effort will be much less.
Here is a first example by gaining momentum with a support (an overturned bucket or a chair is enough):
Using support for your legs. This other technique is even easier for beginners. You just have to use a stool or a chair as a support for your legs, which greatly reduces the load on your arms and back. However, you must keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to get rid of the support and that you must increase the effort during the negative phase (for example by raising your feet from the support.
Another video that shows you how to do pull-ups using a chair (it's even easier):
And There you go !
Once you reach the high position (chin above the bar), you are ready to do the negative phase at the strength of your muscles. Let your body down as slowly as possible controlling the movement. Focus on the muscle groups being used. If it's still too difficult, use your legs to assist you, like in the last video.
Done 3 sets of 8 to 10 pull-ups if possible. Do not go below 5 repetitions. It is better to lighten the load using the 2nd method than to reduce the series below 5 repetitions. Otherwise, you will not make progress.
3. Do assisted pull-ups
Some people can't do it because they're still too heavy. They may have already developed enough muscle, but their weight is too great to do this exercise in good conditions.
If this is your case, you need to find a way to lighten the load. How to achieve it?
Simply by using one of these techniques at home:
The elastic bands : They are really useful for 1000 things. You already know, if you often read my articles, all the good that I think of bands bodybuilding rubber bands. I also use it for assisted pull ups. If you have them, they can help you. You can also start with simple loop tapes such as the AmazonBasics templates.
Then you just have to follow the example of these photos:
Here is also a video example with a simple rubber band. It's in English, but the Youtubeur shows you how to attach the band:
Find a partner: This is the same principle as for the elastic bands. You ask your spouse or a friend to help you by holding your legs during the exercise. This way, you can alternate between the two of you.
4. Train more often
Do you remember the example of the baby who wants to learn to walk at the beginning of the article? Imagine that this child only tries to walk once a week. Now imagine he tries 3 times a week. What do you think is the frequency that will allow him to walk faster? Of course, the highest frequency.
In this case, we can really say that doing more is better. In the case of pull-ups, it's the same. You need to do it more often to progress quickly.
In the beginning, 3 times a week is a good rhythm. Then you will reduce to 2 times when you are able to do at least 3 sets of 8 for the 2 versions (supination and pronation).
The equipment you need
I end with this subtitle because I know that you will necessarily ask yourself the question. What do you need to do push-ups safely at home ?
In fact, you don't need much. A fairly strong metal bar placed high enough. There are various more or less expensive solutions depending on your budget, your place in the house and where you want to put it.
Here are some examples :
Drawbar on the door frame. It is very convenient because you can install and disassemble it easily. In addition, it offers many hand positions, which allows you to vary the versions of the exercise. Its weak point in France is that the door frames are often a little too thin. This product is more suitable for the American market with door frames that are 10 to 20 cm thick.
Extendable door bar. I own one too. This type of bar is very practical because it adapts to almost all doors. Its weak point is that you have to use the screws in the door jamb if you don't want to take the risk of seeing the bar come off during the effort.
Wall-mounted pull-up bar or ceiling. It's the TOP of the TOP if you want a fixed and solid bar. But the price is pretty solid too and you have to be sure you have a very strong ceiling or wall. However, it is the best choice if you train often. I don't see any downside to it.
Roman chair. It's the material I prefer because it allows you to do something other than pull-ups. The major drawbacks are the price and the size. But if you like, choose a model that is both sturdy and stable. First prizes, on the other hand, often lack stability.
- 【MULTIFUNCTION】Power tower, also called Roman chair, dip...
- 【FLEXIBILITY】Equipped with push handles, pole...
- 【COMFORT】For a non-slip workout, we have...
Well, there it is ! You know 4 extremely effective techniques to learn how to do pull-ups and progress, even at home. Put these tips into practice without delay and you will make huge progress.
Try the methods in points 2 and 3 to see which works best for you first, then change as you progress until you are able to do your first pull-ups without assistance.
When you're a pro, you can even find someone to shoot you on the feet to make the exercise more difficult 😉
Come on, courage friends, you will get there!
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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API