Remember when we talked about scaling the pullup? Well, let’s shift a little bit and talk about something less gratifying and more gritty: building strength.If you look on our gigantic whiteboard of goals, you’ll see quite a bit of you have your eyes set on completing a series of pull-ups – whether that’s kipping, strict, or butterflied.
The reality is – pull-ups take practice and repetition. We’ve already discussed what you can do to make the repetition part happen via scaling, so let’s jump into the ways you can practice building strength, channeling the right muscles (important!) and getting a better understanding of the mechanics of the almighty pull-up.
First, get to the box early and do some strength work to isolate those LATS! Here are a couple drills to help:
Scap-Ups | 3×10
Bat-wings | 3×12
Kettle-bell Press | 3×10 on each side
Barbell Rows | 3×12 (light); 5×5 (heavy)
Negative Pull-ups | 4×5 or 3 reps EMOM for 7:00
In addition to isolating those LATS, building grip strength and shoulder strength will also come be essential when trying to improve your pulling strength.
Some of the movements mentioned above will improve your grip and shoulder strength since they are recruited during things like the scap pull-ups and barbell rows.
To improve your grip strength further, walk around with a heavy kettlebell in each hand (aka: Farmers carry), take the kettlebells everywhere, or hang on the pullup bar for an extended period of time. This accessory work will really come in “handy” (get it) during pull-ups, especially when the volume is high.
If you’re on the hunt for more ideas or ways to build strength for the pull-up – get at me! Let’s put together a 6 week strength-building program that helps you hit that whiteboard goal.