6 Ways To Improve Your Pull-up Strength Immediately

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your arms and back is by doing pull-ups. It makes sense right? You don’t need any equipment except for something sturdy that will hold your body weight. Pull-ups can be hard to do, especially for beginners. Even those of you who have been doing pull-ups for years can improve your efficiency at the exercise. Practice these 6 ways to improve your pull-up strength immediately.

First lets take a look at the proper technique of a pull-up. I’ll explain what range of motion you should work in, and also how to spot yourself if you’re having trouble finishing a set:

1 – Negatives & Isometric Holds

If you can’t do a full repetition the most effective way to gain strength quickly is by doing negatives. These are basically eccentric muscle contractions. To do a negative get your chin over the bar by either jumping up, or standing on a chair or bench. Release your body down into a dead hang as slowly as possible. Slow eccentric contractions are one of the best ways to gain strength.

Isometric contractions are also beneficial if you can’t perform a full rep. To do this again, use a stool or something else to get your body into a partial pull-up. Hold yourself in the halfway point for as long as you can. Even if it’s only a few seconds, you’re going to make gains.

Eccentric and isometric contractions are not only for beginners. If you’re just looking to do something different on the pull-up bar try these out. Doing 4 sets of 6-10 negatives will work your back and arms just as good as any round of pull-ups.


2 – Lat Pull-down

The latissimus dorsi is the main muscle involved in the pull movement of this exercise, hence the “lat” in the name. This exercise basically mimics the same motion of the pull-up except its in the form of a machine. This is beneficial because it’s easy to adjust the weight.

While doing a traditional pull-up you only have one weight option, your body. With the lat pull-down machine you can easily do drop sets, burn outs, and pick specific weights to work with. Mix it up doing 4-6 reps using really heavy weight. Then next week use lighter weight and get up to 15 reps.

lat pull down

3 – Supine Row

This exercise is perfect for anyone just starting off and wanting to build up back strength before jumping on the pull-up bar. To do this exercise lay flat on the floor facing the ceiling. Grab the bar or handles that you are going to use to pull yourself up. Then straighten out your body so that your knees, hips, and shoulders are all in a straight line.

Your goal on this exercise should be to get 4 sets of 12-15 reps. Use higher reps to condition your muscles.

supine body weight row

4 – Deadlift

The deadlift doesn’t train the same back muscles as the pull-up but it does require a ton of grip strength. If you have a strong grip the pull-up will be exponentially easier. Once you get the proper technique of the deadlift, go for 5 or 6 sets so that your grip will get conditioned.

5 – Bicep Curl

The biceps are the secondary muscles involved in the pull-up. One week train biceps with a heavier weight for 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions. That will promote the most strength gains. Alternate that with workouts using lower weight but higher repetitions.
bicep curl

6 – Band Assisted Pull-ups

If you can’t lift your entire weight just yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a pull-up. Just get a resistance band and tie it around the pull-up bar. Stick your knee, or your foot into the loop that’s dangling down. It will give you a slight boost to help you get up over the bar. As your back and grip get stronger, gradually use it less and less.

Band Assisted Pull-up

The pull-up is one of the most popular and cheapest ways to strengthen your arms and back. If you aren’t good at it that doesn’t mean you should just forget about it. Getting better at your weaknesses is the definition of getting fit. I hope you enjoyed these 6 ways to improve your pull-up strength immediately. Leave a comment below and let us know how these techniques work for you. If you like the article, take a second to share it on facebook.

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.