Build Your Pull-up Strength


For many gym goers, pull-ups are elusive. For some it's the Mt. Everest of gym movements; even after months, maybe years of training, little or no progress has been made. The goal of getting your chin over the bar can seem impossible.


We want to start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with not being able to complete a strict pull-up. Some people try and try, yet still never get one. But maybe they were going about it all wrong? Maybe they were trying to run before they could crawl? In this article we'll discuss what to do, what might be holding you back, and where you can find a pull-up program that works.



Add: Pulling & Pushing Movements

This might seem obvious, but you need to add more pulling movements to your training. A mixture of horizontal, vertical, and angular. Pulling is the best way to build your back, specifically the rhomboids and lats, that make pulling exercises such as the pull-ups achievable.


3 Pulling movements for developing Pull-ups:

  1. Crossover Ring Rows

  2. Chinese Rows

  3. Box Assisted Pull-ups


But that's not enough. You also need to push. Pressing is one of the best ways to strengthen the shoulders and pecs, and these are equally as important when you’re trying to do a pull-up- they help to keep the shoulders in proper positioning so that it remains stable and moves correctly. By doing so, you’re ensuring that each muscle is working effectively so you can optimise your movement.


3 pushing movements to add to your training:

  1. Half Kneeling Landmine Press

  2. Seated Z-Press

  3. Dumbbell Bench Press


Consider: Your Weight.

During a pull-up you will be lifting close to 95% of your total bodyweight. The amount of work that you have to do is in proportion to your size, and carrying extra weight does make pull-ups more challenging. The more you weigh, the more your muscles will have to work to lift you during a pull-up.


However, this does not mean you have to lose weight by any means necessary. Not all kinds of weight loss are going to be beneficial. Let’s take a look at two examples:

  • If you lower your body fat percentage but keep your muscles mass you will end up weighing less while still having comparable strength levels as before thanks to keeping the muscles intact;

  • But say you decide to go on a starvation diet. As a result, you lose some fat but also lose some of your muscle mass too. This is not just unhealthy but also will adversely impact your strength levels.

Weight loss is definitely going to help; there is no doubt about that... but it is not all about the numbers on the bathroom scale. We want to see improvements in overall body fat percentage to make pull-ups easier.


Sign-up to: The Ultimate Pull-up Program

If you're dreaming about your first pull-up, or currently working towards 5 unbroken reps, we have a program for you!


Chalk's Ultimate Pull-up program is an easy to follow program that will rapidly develop your strict pull-ups. The program is designed so you can perform regular class programming or alternative programming alongside your specific pull-up work.


This 6-week program consists of 3 sessions per week, each lasting 30-40 minutes. All set, reps and rest times are induced for each exercise along with instructional videos that will explain how to perform each movement, common faults, and how to modify the difficulty to your current abilities.


Ready to get started? Sign-up below.


If you're looking for more supplementary training programs to bring your fitness to the next level, you'll find it at chalk.fit/online

All our programs are delivered via Fitr Training - the most powerful coaching platform on the market, so you will always have your sessions available to you wherever and whenever you need them. Programs can be attached to your workout calendar so it's easy to follow and always include guidance notes, coaching videos and quick access to our team via in-app messaging.

Online training has never been easier.