How to Get a Strict Pullup

Perform one of the following exercises 3-5 days per week.   You may perform this before or after your workout or even on a rest days.  Remember, more is not always better.  Adjust your volume as needed based on what we are doing in class and level of soreness.  Always make sure you are properly warmed up before your sessions!

Vary your grip.  Hands shoulder width apart with palms away is the standard position we are training, but chin-up (palms toward you), wide grip, narrow grip or any combination of these (eg, narrow chin-up) are all variation you should train.  You may also perform these movements as a challenging ring row for additional variance or if you do not have a spotter available.   Perform the same grip for all sets and reps on any given day.

Prioritize quality over quantity and be honest with yourself.  Be sure to develop strength through the full Range of Motion.  This means making sure your chin makes it over the bar at the top and you do not swing or drop in that bottom inch for every rep.  Over the course of weeks you will increase your reps/sets and decrease your rest time between sets.

Ideally use a spotter instead of a band.  The spotter can help just as much as needed to get through the reps and sets.  Typically this will involve someone spotting by holding at the waist.   If the athlete needs more help and the waist is too challenging to allow for perfect form, try having the athlete bend their knees and cross their feet behind them.  The spotter holds the feet and the athlete can press through their legs to help out.  If this is still too challenging, the athlete should perform ring rows for a while until they are strong enough to work on the high bar.  For all variations be sure to prioritize maintaining a tight midline!


Exercise #1:  The Negative

-Start with your chin over the bar, hold for a full second, then lower yourself slowly to the bottom.  From the bottom you can jump back up to the top for the next rep.
-Perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a 60-90sec rest between sets.  Start with a 3 second negative and work up to a 7 second lowering time per rep.

NOTES:  Remember to vary your grip.  Do not perform more reps/sets than you can maintain quality.  Remember every rep you need to start with your chin over the bar and control the entire movement, including those bottom couple inches!  Use a spotter as needed.


Exercise #2:  Assisted Strict Pullup

-Be sure to start with your arms fully extended, body in hollow position and feet off the floor.  To perform each rep, you must initiate the pullup without any swing, get your chin over the bar and then control the whole way down.
-Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps with a 60-90sec rest between sets.

NOTES:  Remember to pick one grip and stick with it for all reps/sets.  Do not perform more reps/sets than you can maintain quality.  Every rep must start with your arms fully extended and control the entire movement up and down.  Review the spotter variations as needed.


Be patient, focus on quality, stay consistent and you will achieve your handstand pushup!  Let us know how it works for you…happy training!


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