The pull-up is one of the most difficult movements in the gym. Pushing out a full set requires a tremendous amount of upper body strength. Most people tend to compromise on form to get out the reps. While this may have its place in Crossfit, when training for strength and size, there should be no compromise on form. So how can we increase our strength on the pull-up bar? Here are three methods that may just give you the power you need.


Hanging Method

The hanging method may sound strange but merely hanging from the pull-up bar may help give you the strength you need. This method creates an important form of loading. By increasing the amount of time you can hang, you set yourself up to increase the amount of pull-ups you can do. To test it out, time how long you can hang for and then double it. That will give you the new time that you should aim towards getting. Once you have achieved this, take a day or two off and then try to do pull-ups. You may be surprised how many more pull-ups you can do.


Ab Wheel Method

You are probably wondering how the ab wheel has anything to do with the pull-up. Well, let me explain. The ab roller mimics the muscle movements for a proper pull-up. It requires a tight abs, a hollow core and an explosion over the top at the finish. Once you have mastered the ab wheel, try to do a pull-up with the same mechanics in mind. Cross your feet, squeeze your knees together and ‘roll’ yourself up over the bar.


This method uses a more of a form and mind / muscle connection to help improve your pull-up as opposed to actually building strength.

Pavel’s Russian Fighter Method

If you can already perform 5 or so pull-ups quite comfortably, try this method to increase your overall maximum number of reps. It allows you to slowly increase your reps over 4 weeks but requires daily attention to this exercise.




The 5RM Russian Pull-up Program


Week 1


Day 1
5
4
3
2
1
Day 2
5
4
3
2
2
Day 3
5
4
3
3
2
Day 4
5
4
4
3
2
Day 5
5
5
4
3
2


Week 2


Day 7
6
5
4
3
2
Day 8
6
5
4
3
3
Day 9
6
5
4
3
3
Day 10
6
5
5
4
3
Day 11
6
6
5
4
3


Week 3


Day 12
7
6
5
4
3
Day 13
7
6
5
4
4
Day 14
7
6
5
5
4
Day 15
7
6
6
5
4
Day 16
7
7
6
5
4


Week 4


Day 17
8
7
6
5
4
Day 18
8
7
6
5
4
Day 19
8
7
6
5
4
Day 20
8
7
6
6
5
Day 21
8
8
7
6
5


Rest a few days and test the new max number of pull-ups.


* We have altered Pavel’s method slightly to fit into the average gym-goers schedule. The original program is a 6 day on, 1 day off program that runs for 30 days.

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