Pull up bar training is an amazing way to quickly get stronger which can help you lose fat, build muscle or improve your sporting prowess!
But what if you’re not strong enough to lift even your own bodyweight?
You can go from not being able to lift your own bodyweight to being able to do 10 reps in a matter of weeks. The key to achieving this is using specific techniques which focus on building your strength.
Don’t worry if you think you’ll never be able to do bodyweight pull ups and chin ups, I used to think like that to (which was part of the problem!) but I overcame my lack of strength and you can too!
I maintain that getting good as pull ups and chin ups was one of the keys to me achieving my best ever condition as I explained in my
fat burning workout plan
Everything you need is right here on this page, so get comfy, go get yourself a nice cold drink and let’s get started!
Why I Started Doing Pull Ups and Chin Ups
I never used to do any kind of pull up bar training. Ironically, every workout would start and end with me hanging from a pull up bar.
I’d start by hanging from the bar, twisting and turning to stretch and I’d end in the same place doing leg raises and other ab exercises.
I didn’t realise that one of the keys to quickly improving my physique was literally in my hands!
So what was the catalyst that made me see the error of my ways?
The embarrassing incident that I spoke about in
An Impromptu Pull Up Workout and My Resulting Social Relegation!
stayed with me forever.
In truth, it’s in my mind every time I hang from the pull up bar ready to do set. It’s the driving force that now motivates me to set new personal bests and keep getting stronger.
After that incident I made pull up bar training a priority and it started right at the beginning…
Learn How To Do Chin Ups Correctly!
I thought I knew how to do chin ups properly, how hard could it be right? Hang from a bar and pull!
Turns out I actually had chin ups and pull ups mixed up, I wasn’t breathing at the right point and a whole bag of other mistakes that were holding me back.
how to perform chin ups
properly made an immediate difference and they no longer felt as difficult as they once did!
The problem was, they felt easier, just not easy enough…
I kept looking for an answer and I realised I needed to make the movement easier by breaking it down into smaller sections…
Climb A Mountain One Step At a Time!
I knew that full range of motion chin ups were a big ask, so I decided to focus on individual areas of the movement.
I figured that breaking the movement down into small chunks would allow me to practice and improve each part individually.
My cunning plan was to then piece them together and finally be able to do chin ups!
I used all of the tools at my disposal which included:
- A Bench – Standing on it made the pull up bar nearer and the movement shorter, this meant I had half the distance to travel each rep!
- A Helping Hand! – I used a personal trainer or anyone else training at the gym to push my legs upwards, this helped me make a rep when I wouldn’t have been able to myself
The exact techniques I used are covered (with pictures) in my article
Pull Up Station Techniques To Quickly Improve Your Chin and Pull Ups
which shows you where to start based on your current strength levels.
I believe the techniques in that article made all the difference in developing my pull up training strength, read that article, print it out, take it to the gym with you and live by the methods in there!
Can You Use Pull Up Machines Instead?
Whilst generally being no fan of exercise machines, I stumbled across the pull up machine one day when I couldn’t find a spotter for love nor money!
I didn’t want to abandon my pull up bar training as I’d been making good progress and I’d graduated to step three of my
pull up station techniques.
I decided to the pull up machine and I found it an adequate substitute that day, I spoke about the benefits and drawbacks of this piece of equipment in my article
Use A Pull Up Machine To Improve Your Strength When Training Solo.
I summarised by stating that a pull up machine can be useful if there is no one around or you train alone but that it isn’t the optimal choice available.
Making The Impossible…Possible!
I used the very techniques on this page to go from 0 reps to 10 reps over an 8 week period. I consistently worked hard every week to improve the number of reps I did.
I was finally able to do 10 bodyweight chin ups! But that wasn’t where it ended….
I wanted to keep getting stronger when my bodyweight wasn’t enough!
I bought a weightlifting belt where you can chain weight plates to the belt for added resistance. Weighted chin ups were now my goal and I believe it was focussing on this movement that helped me shed fat while getting stronger.
It also meant that when I do chin ups without the belt and I can do bodyweight chin ups easily!
Here’s a recent training video of me doing a set of chin ups. Excuse the overhead lighting making me look bald and this shows you how YOU can do what I did and be able to do a set of 10 reps in a matter of weeks!