I don’t have a pull-up… yet.

Very good!  If that’s how you say it, you know that it’s not a matter of “can’t do a pull-up”.  It’s not impossible for you.

You can. You will.

How to get there:

Keep trying.  Everyone starts somewhere and I started with a Cindy score of 4 and a CFWU that included 6 pull-ups because that was all I could do.  But, I just kept getting 6 until I got 7 and so on.  It took some work to make the CFWU my WU.
Own that thing!


Make sure you’re doing it right.  There’s an order to a good pull-up.  First, you pull your shoulders down away from your ears.  Next, pull your elbows down near your sides using your big lat muscles.  Finally, pull your chin over the bar (easiest if your elbows stay tight to you).

Do the negatives.  8th grade… my older brother busted my chops because I couldn’t do a pull-up or a strict push-up, but he also showed me how to do a negative and I did them (just 3 a day).
By the end of summer, I was hitting 12 strict consecutive.  Negatives tell your body to get strong enough to move a heavier load, but can also cause severe soreness.


body straight - chest to bar (chin is up)

Work the progression from multiple angles.  Some people ask what “the best way” to get a pull-up is.  The best way is to make sure you’re using multiple approaches.  Banded assistance will give you the assistance you need at the bottom (sometimes more than what you need), but not at the top, jumping pull-ups done right are similar in nature.  Neither build your ability to scapulate, which is also called an active shoulder for the pull-up in CrossFit.  A great way to do this is by performing ring rows.

Pull/Press Shoulder Positions


Give as little help as needed

Get a friend to help (as little as possible).
Sometimes, it’s mostly mental and having someone touch your ankles (or goose
your bum) may get your chin over that bar until you get strong enough to do it
on your own.

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth!  If you’re in once a
week, forget it!  You have to be hitting these moves almost daily for your
body to adapt.  At least 3x/week is a good start.

Posted on November 5, 2011, in How To, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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