How to Get a Pull-Up

How to Get a Pull-up


We have many members at CrossFit Paladin that have earned their first pull-up. While it does take a decent amount of strength, it might not be as far away as you think. Here are some simple steps to start working toward your goal.


Ring Rows– Ring rows are a great place to start building that pulling strength because they are easily scalable (quickly make them easier or more difficult), and you can work on them even if you don’t have a set of rings. Have a pole, post, or door frame? You’re in business!

To start, grab hold of the rings (or pole, etc) with both hands. Have your feet in line with the rings, and then carefully lean back. Once your arms are fully extended (this is the starting position), pull your body toward the rings, keeping your body straight as a board, driving your elbows back and down, pulling until the rings contact your chest/shoulders. Control yourself to the start position, repeat.

One rep is counted when going from straight arms, pulling the body in, and returning to straight arms.

You can start with 3 sets of 10, or 5 sets of 5. Rest about a minute between sets. Do this 2 times per week.

Make it a little easier by walking your feet back a small step. Make it more challenging by walking your feet forward a step or two.


Bar Hang– Being able to hang from the bar is an important step in getting a pull-up since it is the first step of the pull-up. However, for many of us it’s been years since we attempted to hang from anything by our hands so we will need to build our strength in that area as well.

To hang safely, start with a bar (monkey bars at the park can work great) that isn’t too high off the ground. Grab the bar with both hands, in an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), thumbs just wider than the shoulders and wrapped around the bar. Slowly lower yourself into a hanging position. Keep the shoulders strong- pull the shoulders down and away from the ears. Keep legs together and straight, why not make it look good while you’re there?! Come out of the hang BEFORE your grip fails.

Accumulate 30 seconds in the hang to start. Maybe you can only hold on for a couple seconds to start- that ok! Do it 15 times (rest as needed between attempts) and you’ve accumulated 30 seconds! The goal is to work toward 30 consecutive seconds in the hang. Perform 2 times per week.


These two exercises will help start building the strength needed to perform a pull-up!

Stay tuned for our next article with some new tips!

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