How to get your first pull up

When it comes to fitness, few single moves require as much strength as the pull up. It recruits your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, thoracic erector spinae, infraspinatus, and most of your core muscles–wow, a lot of muscles with one move!

It’s one of the most challenging moves because you’re lifting your entire body weight. It’s also super cool when you can actually do it. I’m here to share with you 4 progressions and moves that will help you get to your first pull up!

Dead hang

This is the first movement you can do when chasing down that dream of doing your first pull up is a dead hang. A pull up requires a significant amount of grip strength so in order to improve it, you need to spend time specifically working on it. A dead hang is just that, simply hanging by your hands for as long as you can.

Scapular retractions

This allows you to activate your lats (one of the main muscles working in a pull up). It also brings awareness to scapular and back muscles you need to use when doing a pull up.


These are kind of fun and much harder than anticipated. Negatives still work the muscles you need for a pull up and help you build the strength you need for a standard pull up.

Assisted pull up

You can use bands or a chair to help you get above that bar. Just be sure you don’t push off the chair. Just rest your foot/feet there to take some of the weight off the pull up.

Do these moves 3x a week 10 times ea for 3 rounds and you’ll start to see improvement and eventually get that pull up. Know that it will take time though. It won’t happen in a matter or days or even weeks. Give it AT LEAST 2-3 months of consistency before getting that first pull up. Good luck!

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