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How to Train for Pullups?

author image Alli Rainey
A professional writer since 1997, Harvard graduate and pro rock climber Alli Rainey's articles have appeared in "Climbing Magazine," "Rock & Ice" and "Men's Fitness," among many others. Rainey is also an ACTION certified personal trainer (CPT) and climbing coach.
How  to Train for Pullups?
Implement a pull-up training program until you can do pull-ups on your own. Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

A compound exercise involving several major muscle groups, pull-ups work your lats, deltoids, teres major and biceps muscles. This makes pull-ups an efficient choice to include in your eight to 10 strength-training exercises that you perform at least twice a week, as suggested by the American College of Sports Medicine. Pull-ups also have the advantage of being easy to perform at home with the installation of a door-frame-mounted pull-up bar. Always warm up with five to 10 minutes of aerobic activity before you train for pull-ups.

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Lat Pulldowns

Step 1

Sit on an exercise bench facing a lat pulldown exercise machine. Grip a straight bar overhead with your hands shoulders-width apart, palms forward and arms straight. Wrap your thumb around the bar or align it with your fingers.

Step 2

Pull the bar down until it touches or nears your chest, bending your elbows to bring them as close to your sides as possible.

Step 3

Return the bar to the overhead starting position for one rep.

Assisted Pull-Up Machine

Step 1

Grasp the bar of an assisted pull-up machine with your palms facing forward and hands shoulder-width apart, arms straight.

Step 2

Pull your body up as high as you can, bringing your chin up over the bar.

Step 3

Lower back to the starting position for one rep.

Assisted Pull-Ups

Step 1

Grip a pull-up bar with your palms facing forward, hands shoulders-width apart and arms straight.

Step 2

Lift your feet off the ground, bending your knees so that your feet extend behind you. Cross your legs at your ankles.

Step 3

Pull up as far as you can, trying to bring your chin above the bar. When you can’t pull up anymore, have a partner push up on your feet to assist you in completing the upward motion.

Step 4

Hold this position as long as you can, with or without assistance as needed, and then lower as slowly as you can to the starting position for one rep.

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