LAST UPDATED: May 9th, 2022
This is not the usual article where I give you tips on how to perform some exercise.
This is my confession.
Confession about how I did my first pull-up.
Very related to my first day at the gym.
So, let’s start.
How to Get Better at Pull-Ups?
Let’s go back to the past – some 20 years ago.
How did I do my first pull-up?
I first entered the gym when I was 16.
And that was maybe too late.
I already had a problem with my spine caused by rapid growth in puberty.
I was as skinny as a toothpick.
Something like this:
And when I found myself at the gym I was confused and shy.
There were a few bodybuilders whose arms were bigger than my waist.
A bunch of weights everywhere, machines that I didn’t know how to use.
Horror for me.
Back then I didn’t know that the gym will be a big part of my life in the future.
So, I entered the gym and my trainer was waiting for me.
Forget about fancy LA fitness instructors – mine was an older professional bodybuilder whose peak was during the cold war.
His only motto was pain and sweat.
A big, muscular guy who never smiles.
When he saw me he told me that I need to go to the gym for 6 months without a rest day if I want to do something with my body.
Although I know today how important rest days are, I am grateful because he really helped me in my transformation.
But, this is an article about my first pull-up, so let’s get back to the topic.
After warming up he told me to grab the bar and try to do a pull-up.
It was hilarious.
That was simply too much for my skinny arms and skeleton back.
I was just hanging on the bar without any chance of doing the pull-up.
But then my trainer helped me.
The oldest way to do the first pull-up.
He grabbed my legs and lifted me.
And I did it.
For two weeks, every day, he was helping me with my pull-ups.
After two weeks I did my first pull-up.
6 months after that I was able to do 30 regular pull-ups in a set.
Only half a year later.
But I was doing pull-ups every day, as the first exercise after warming up.
Why am I writing this article?
Pull-ups are definitely one of the best bodyweight exercises you can try.
Actually, it is the best exercise you can do for your upper body.
Every bodybuilder, fitness lover or beginner must do their first pull-up. (1)
And that is always the hardest one.
Don’t give up.
Even if your instructor or friend needs to lift you to do the pull-up.
My first trainer is no longer with us.
Today I am helping beginners with their first pull-up.
Although today you can use different resistance bands to help you.
Why are pull-ups so hard?
Because you need almost every muscle group to do a pull–up.
So, they are not hard but you need to strengthen your body first in order to lift your head above the pull-up bar.
How many pull-ups should I be able to do?
If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s up to 8 reps is ok, and up to 15 means that you are in good shape.
Nevertheless, if you can’t do any don’t panic – you can do some pull–up alternatives to strengthen your muscles before your first pull–up.
How to Get Better at Pull-Ups – Best Tips:
If you aren’t satisfied with your pull–up progression you can do the following pull-up alternatives first.
Try some of the best back workouts to strengthen your back muscles.
3 Best Pull-Up Alternatives:
1. Wide grip pull-down
This is a simulation of the pull-up.
Guys who can’t usually do more pull-ups per set use the lat machine since they see it as a good choice that gives them the possibility of choosing the weight.
You can do the many variations of this exercise, as well.
Your back needs to be vertical, leaning forward or backward when you do the exercise.
It depends on whether you want to engage your middle, upper or lower Latissimus.
The vertical position affects the middle, leaning forward affects the upper (you need to pull the bar behind your neck), and leaning backward the lower Lats.
Actually, this is one of the best workouts for your back.
2. T-Bar Row
If you take a look at any top bodybuilder’s workout, you’ll see that the T-Bar row is a must to build a strong back.
Slightly bend your legs and lean forward while forming a 45-degree angle and keeping your back straight the whole time.
Inhale and lift the bar to your chest, exhale at the end of the move.
3. One-arm dumbbell row
It’s important to keep your back straight when you do this exercise, only the arm moves.
Keep your arm close to your body.
You should move your arm from the elbow and not from your hand so that you don’t engage your biceps too much.
Supplementation to Help You Improve Pull-Ups
If you want to get better at pull-ups faster, increase muscle mass and strength you should combine the above-mentioned exercises with the best bodybuilding supplements.
If you think I will show you a steroid that will build your body overnight then you are wrong.
I suggest taking only natural supplements.
The best supplement to increase muscle mass (and keep that muscle) is definitely D-bal.
D-bal is one of the best natural bulking supplements.
Thanks to the mix of powerful ingredients D-bal increases nitrogen retention in your muscles.
Nitrogen is essential for protein synthesis.
D-bal is safe and effective.
You can read more about D-bal here.
How to Get Better at Pull-Ups – Bottom Line:
This was the story of my first pull-up or my first day at the gym.
If you want your pull-up story to have a happy ending, never give up.
Doing your first pull-up is the best thing you can do in your fitness life.
My name is Cliff and I am a personal coach, sports lover, fitness enthusiast and author of MusclesMagician. I have 15+ years of experience in fitness and bodybuilding and I want to share it with you. I am here to help you build muscles and lose fat faster.