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Building to a Strict Pullup

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Pullups are a signature Freeletics exercise, but they’re by no means easy. Not everyone can jump straight into Strict Pullups, which is why Training Expert John-Francis Kennedy is here to take us through the specific exercise variations you should focus on to develop the strength and technique necessary to perform the perfect Pullup.

Negative Pullups

The simplest variation is the Negative Pullup. This is great for building the initial strength needed to perform a Pullup as the muscles are always stronger during the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement. These can also easily be made easier or more difficult by adjusting the speed at which you lower yourself.

To do a Negative Pullup...

  • Grip the bar shoulder-width apart.
  • Jump with your chin over the bar or use a box to bring yourself to the height of the bar.
  • Lower your body very slowly and controlled by straightening your arms.

Once you can manage 5 sets of 5 repetitions with at least a 5 second descent, progress to...

Assisted Pullups

These are the perfect way to practice the full range of motion of the movement with a little assistance.

To do an Assisted Pullup...

  • Attach a resistance band to a pullup bar and rest one knee in the band.
  • Grip the bar shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull yourself up so that your chin is above the bar.
  • Keep your shoulders down away from your head.

You can adjust the difficulty of this exercise by using stronger or weaker resistance bands. Generally, the thicker the band, the more assistance it will give you.

Once you’ve mastered five sets of 8-12 Assisted Pullups, it might be time to move on to that iconic Freeletics exercise, the Strict Pullup.

Strict Pullups

The Strict Pullup is a comprehensive upper body exercise, challenging every major upper body muscle group. Want to know more? Check out our guide to Strict Pullups here.

To do a Strict Pullup...

  • Grip the bar shoulder-width apart and the arms fully extended.
  • Pull yourself up to get your chin over the bar.
  • Try to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Lower yourself under control until your arms are extended.

Let’s recap

Pullups are never out of reach - simply adjust the exercises to your level. Negative Pullups and Assisted Pullups are all great places to start when it comes to upper body training. With these adaptable variations, there’s no excuse for not training your upper body.

Start your Pullup training now