Pull-ups are a really hard bodyweight exercise to perform, especially for women. This is not because we can’t do them, but simply that our body composition is naturally suited to have strong legs/lower half and less developed upper body strength.
With that said, it may take you a little longer to get your first real pull-up, but you CAN do it!
I have always been a big believer that one should be able to push and pull one’s own weight. To me, it’s just practical for everyday life to push/pull with ease. The push part is definitely easier than the pulling.
Simply work on your push-ups. Full push-ups on your toes. Obviously modify for any injuries or strength level when beginning but the ultimate goal should be 10 full push-ups without modification.
The pulling your weight is the hard part! So let’s discuss how this can be done in a relatively short amount of time.
First option is utilize the pull-up assist machine. This is what I did.
- Set the assist on a weight in which you can get 5-10 pull-ups. The last few reps should be really difficult. Do this 2-3 times per week.
- After 2 weeks lower the weight on the assist and do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) on that lowered weight. Then up the weight and knock out a few more.
- Once that weight is easy, lower it again and complete AMRAP before upping the weight.
Keep repeating until you can do 1 unassisted pull-up. Doesn’t matter if it’s just 1 and then you have to use the assist again. The first one is the hardest to get but if you stick with it you will be doing 5 unassisted pull-ups in no time!!
Second option (and you can mix and match between these two) is to do negatives. A negative pull-ups is simply only performing the lowering portion of the pull-up.
- Start in the up position. Use a chair or jump up to get yourself in that position.
- Then slowly lower yourself down. Make sure when you lower yourself , you are controlling how slowly your weight comes down.
Check out Laura’s negative pull-ups and watch how controlled she is when lowering herself.
I use negatives almost every time I do pull-ups. I have worked up to 10 reps on pull-ups but cant seem to break through and get 12 or 15. Negatives will help me overcome my plateau and hopefully drive my reps back up.
Stick with it and you will be doing your first pull-ups or improving your pull-ups in no time!