Getting Your Pull Ups Stronger - Helpful Read

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Getting Your Pull Ups Stronger - Helpful Read

When training to get stronger there are certain principles and rules you have to follow. If working hard was the way to get the best results many more people would be getting what they want, but that’s not the case. Now these are not written in stone but if you follow these guidelines you will get your pull ups stronger.

Just because you’re practising pull ups 2 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re going to get a greater result than someone that only does them for one hour. Follow these principles and you will get stronger, no doubt. It’s all a matter time.

Repetitions Ranges

When training for strength the repetition range stays between 3-5 repetitions, do not be tempted to go above 5 repetitions since that’s going into muscle size/muscular endurance protocol and we’re not after building bigger muscle we’re after pure strength that will allow you to get to your first pull up.

Rest Times

You might be surprised but a rest between each exercise is going to be 3-5 minutes long, you need to allow your body to recover so you can have a quality set. We’re looking for perfectly executed repetitions, not rushed and poorly performed. When working for strength your body uses the creatine phosphate energy system which takes long to recover. Perform an exercise that is challenging to do 5 repetitions of and rest 3 minutes, you will most likely be able to do 5 repetitions again. Now do a set of 5 again and only rest for 30 seconds this time. You won’t be able to do 5 repetitions any more. Your nervous system also needs that rest.


The tempo at which we’re going to perform each repetition is 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down so 1 repetition should last 6 seconds. This allows you to properly tense your body and engage all the muscles. Having such a slow exercise execution ensures you’re not cheating by using momentum.


You’re only going to perform 2-3 sets per exercise and typically on each training session for your pull ups strengthening you will perform around 6-9 sets in total meaning you have to pick 2-3 different exercises to work with for example pull ups, isometric holds & active hang.



The more tension you will create in your body the stronger you will be, when you’re performing exercises it should feel like your body is a one unit working towards a specific objective. If you’re pulling with your upper body and relaxing your bottom half you won’t be able to perform as well as you could. Make sure you tighten your abs, grip and squeeze your glutes.

Importance of core strength

If you have a strong core you will be able to keep your body nicely in line when doing a pull up without the need of bending your knees and crossing them behind your back, bending your lower back or kipping up. If you engage your core properly you should feel like your body is going up as what I like to refer to as “one unit” when you have leaks of tension in your form eg not engaging your core properly you will perform the exercise inefficiently.

Importance of grip strength:

Grip strength is essential for you to unlock your first pull up, if you can’t hold yourself up on the bar for longer than 2 seconds how are you meant to do a pull up? You need your grip to get strong and firm so when you do hang of the bar you’re not fazed by it. There is one trick that will make the whole journey easier and that is using a liquid chalk. If your hands are sweaty like mine, it doesn’t matter how strong your grip is your fingers will start sliding of the bar which doesn’t help at all.


* Take your shoes off, if you point and contract your toes it will help you generate more tension and make you feel more aligned.

* Use bare hands with chalk, avoid using gloves. You will get a better grip & muscle engagement.

* Focus on what’s going on internally, if you concentrate on your technique and muscle tension it will be easier to overcome the external resistance.

* When you grip the bar create tension in your body & grip before you even start hanging/ pulling.

* The progressions that you’re working with has to challenge you.* Don’t be tempted to go to muscular failure.

* Don’t get stuck on one progression for too long, from time to time you will have to try the harder variation.

* Stay consistent with training

* Complete the full range of motion

* Be sure to tense your glutes, ABS and grip.

* From time to time remember to work with different grips narrow, shoulder width and wide.

* Get enough sleep

* Eat well

* Make sure you always performing the exercises with the right form.

* Basics are where it’s at, don’t complicate things.

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