Locomotion Fitness Guide to your First Pull Up

How many times have you looked at a workout and thought, “But, I can’t do a pull-up!” Too many times to count I bet. Don’t worry though – you’re not alone. For many of our athlete’s pullups are the one exercise that seems so far away.

To help get you closer to that first pull-up, we’ve put together a little guide:


Every movement has three phases: a concentric, an isometric, and an eccentric. For the pull-up they look like this:

Concentric: The act of pulling your chin over the bar.

Isometric: the split second where you pause with your chin above the bar before descending into the bottom part of the pull-up.

Eccentric: The act of lowering yourself back into the dead hang position.

To become efficient in the pull-up, we need to develop all three phases of the movement.

TRAINING THE CONCENTRIC: The actual pulling portion is the hardest part of the pull-up for almost everyone. If we can’t pull our chins above the bar how can we train this part of the pull-up? Here are a few exercises that you can use: Ring rows, Supine ring rows, Barbell assisted pull-ups, Jumping pull-ups, banded pull downs, bicep curls, and the list goes on and on.

TRAINING THE ISOMETRIC: There are two ways in which we can train the isometric phase of the pull-up. The first is to develop strength in the dead hang of the pull-up. We do so by activating our shoulders and keeping our torso in a tight hollow position. The second is by jumping our chin over the pull-up bar and holding in that position for as long as we can. Again we want to think about bracing our core and keeping our feet squeezed together with toes pointing down to the floor.

TRAINING THE ECCENTRIC: To train the eccentric, we want to lower ourselves under control from the chin over the bar position back to the dead hang. This will be tough for most people at first so start with a 3 second descent. Once that becomes too easy, you can move on to 5 and 10 sec counts.

Interested in your very own four-week program that will lay out how to get from the dead hang to stringing together your first pull-ups? If you’re a member, ask a coach about our ‘My First Pull-up’ program to help take your gymnastics to the next level.  If you’re not a member start by booking a No Sweat Intro.


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