Learn how to do a pull-up

Not so long ago The New York Times ran an article: “Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups.” I sort of giggled when I saw it. A week or so before I was doing Amen’s class when a pint-sized dynamo cranked out pull-ups no problemo. She wasn’t super pumped up like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane… she was obviously in good shape, but petite. Here name was Yana Gadaev, and she had once been a first-time at Amenzone, huffing and puffing like me. Her pull-up secret: hard work and practice… and Amen.

So to help us all cross pull-ups off our fitness bucket list, Amen has come up with a step-by-step, week-by-week guide to get us there. Oh, and that’s Yana in the photos guiding your through. Over to Amen…

Pull Ups – One step at a time
Traditionally, pull-ups are more difficult for women, but with my training I am confident you will be able to conquer THE PULL UP. The first thing you must address is the I can’t attitude. Let’s assume you can and you will.

Begin with building your upper body strength, in particular, your arms, forearms and traps. A perfect exercise for all three of these muscle groups is push-ups 3 sets x 12 reps.

pushup on floor

Prep with pushups

If you’re working out in a conventional gym, you can do the following exercises:
*Inward & out ward curls using a bar for forearms 3 sets x 12 reps. No weights necessary
*Dips for triceps 3 sets x 15 reps on a bench, chair or tire
*Explosive vertical bar thrust with bar or tire, no weights necessary 3 sets x 12 reps

Also, adding exercises that encourage you to carry your own body weight work wonders. Both of these exercises work your core, upper & lower body prepping you for your first pull up:

*Bear crawls 3 x 1 minute rounds. If you’re at home pick an open area and bear crawl wall-to-wall for your rounds.
*Planks 3 x 1 minute rounds

Add the Week 1 exercises to your daily routine for upper body strength.

Do the bear crawl!

Do the bear crawl!

Visualize yourself doing a pull-up. The power of visualization cannot be underestimated.

Begin this week by using an assist when attempting your first pull up. This could be a wall as shown in the photo or if in you’re in a conventional gym, some have machinery with pull-up assists. If you are training with a partner, they can act as a support for your feet to push of off. Shoot for 3 sets x 10 reps. Continue with Week 1 exercises and just add this set.

Use the wall to your advantage

Use the wall to your advantage

Continue to use an assist this week. Gradually, lower the level of assistance you use each day. Again, you will keep up with WEEK 1’s exercises.

When attempting your first pull up, try to ensure your arm to elbow form is at least at a 45 degree angle, then shoot for 90 degrees. The stronger you get, the better your form will be.

Before and..

Start and..

... finish - You did it!

… finish – You did it!

It is a great success when you achieve your first pull-up. If you can do one, you can do 10 eventually. Now you know you CAN do this!!!!!

Continue with the suggested upper body exercises in your daily routine and attempting the unassisted pull-ups at the end of every workout. Aim for 3 days minimum, 5 days maximum with 2 days rest.
Every time you reach the goal, raise the bar by 1 more pull-up.

At this stage, depending on your strength level, you will find that you are able to do anywhere from 5-10 pull-ups comfortably. Remember consistency & confidence will be your secret to success!

Cheers & Good Luck,
Amen Iseghohi

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