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How to Go from 0 to 10 Pull Ups QUICKLY

Become a master of this amazing bodyweight exercise.

Discover how to go from 0 to 10 pull-ups quickly by following these guidelines and tips from Jeremy Ethier.

Jeremy Ethier is a fitness enthusiast, certified kinesiologist, co-founder of Built With Science, and the creator of the fitness-focused YouTube channel “Jeremy Ethier.” He is known for providing evidence-based fitness and training advice, backed by scientific research. Jeremy shares workout routines, exercise tutorials, and nutrition tips to help individuals achieve their fitness goals. His content often emphasizes the importance of proper form, effective workout strategies, and understanding the science behind fitness practices

In a video, Jeremy Ethier talked about pull-ups prowess as a muscle-building exercise. In his tutorial aimed at beginners, he uncovers the challenges associated with mastering this impressive feat of strength and emphasizes the need for a strategic approach to maximise its muscle-building benefits.

Exploring why pull-ups pose a formidable challenge, Jeremy points out that regardless of weight, individuals must contend with lifting their own body weight in each repetition. Moreover, he stresses that pull-ups extend beyond being a mere back exercise, necessitating attention to various muscles in the body. To address these challenges, he outlines three key steps.

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How to Go from 0 to 10 Pull-Ups QUICKLY

The initial step involves altering the training approach for strength improvement. For those unable to perform pull-ups or manage fewer than four in a row, Jeremy introduces two alternative exercises: inverted rows and assisted negative pull-ups.

As one progresses to achieving five to seven pull-ups consecutively, Jeremy advocates a pull-up progression regimen. This involves sets of 2-5 reps, ensuring a comfortable distance from maximal effort, with a cumulative goal of 20 reps, progressing to 30 over time. Resistance bands become a valuable tool in this phase, reducing the resistance for enhanced performance.

For those nearing the elusive ten consecutive pull-ups, Jeremy advises increasing the difficulty. Weighted pull-ups, using a 5lb weight, or adjusting resistance bands contribute to this intensified routine.

Jeremy also addresses common weak links in the pull-up chain, focusing on the core and lower traps. Exercises such as the long lever rocking plank and scapular pull-ups target these areas effectively.

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The workout program Jeremy presents is comprehensive, tailored to different skill levels. From inverted rows to weighted pull-ups, each level corresponds to specific exercises and rep ranges. Jeremy recommends integrating this routine into a weekly or bi-weekly back workout, with periodic assessments to track progress.

In a nutshell, this is what you should be doing depending on how many pull-ups you can do in a row:

0-4 Pull-Ups:

  • Inverted Row: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Negative Pull-Ups: 5 sets of 5 reps (progress to 5 second descents each rep)
  • Long Lever Rocking Plank: 3 sets (aim to hold for 60-120 seconds)
  • Scapular Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 8-15 reps (2 second holds at top position)

5-7 Pull-Ups:

  • Pull-Ups: Sets of 2-5 reps staying 2 reps away from failure (aim for 20-30 reps total)
  • Banded Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Inverted Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Long Lever Rocking Plank: 3 sets (aim to hold for 60-120 seconds)
  • Scapular Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 8-15 reps (2 second holds at top position)

8-9 Pull-Ups:

  • Weighted Pull-Ups: Sets of 2-5 reps staying 2 reps away from failure (aim for 20-30 reps total)
  • Banded Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Inverted Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Long Lever Rocking Plank: 3 sets (aim to hold for 60-120 seconds)
  • Scapular Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 8-15 reps (2 second holds at top position)

In conclusion, Jeremy instils confidence in viewers, assuring them that with consistency and commitment, even those unable to perform pull-ups initially will witness remarkable progress—a testament to the power of science in fitness.

For a full explanation in video format, click it below to hear from Ethier himself.

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Pull-ups are arguably the best upper body exercise you can do without the need of any equipment. Check out some of the benefits of doing pull-ups regularly.

  1. Muscle Building: Pull-ups primarily target your upper body muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi (lats), biceps, and upper back. This makes them an excellent exercise for building muscle mass and strength.
  2. Versatility: You can do pull-ups virtually anywhere you can find a sturdy horizontal bar. This makes them a convenient and versatile exercise that can be incorporated into various settings, from gyms to playgrounds.
  3. Functional Strength: Pull-ups engage multiple muscle groups and promote functional strength. This means the strength you gain from pull-ups translates well into real-world activities and movements.
  4. Improved Grip Strength: Grip strength is a crucial component of pull-ups. As you consistently perform this exercise, you’ll notice improvements in your grip strength, which can have benefits in other exercises and daily activities.
  5. Scapular Stability: Pull-ups require scapular retraction and depression, promoting stability in the shoulder blades. This is essential for overall shoulder health and can help prevent injuries.
  6. Core Engagement: To maintain proper form during pull-ups, your core muscles must engage to stabilize your body. This adds a beneficial core workout component to the exercise.
  7. Variety of Grip Positions: Pull-ups can be performed with different grip positions, such as wide grip, narrow grip, chin-ups, and mixed grip. Each variation targets muscles slightly differently, providing a well-rounded upper body workout.
  8. Increased Body Awareness: Pull-ups require coordination and control. Performing them regularly can enhance your body awareness and proprioception, contributing to better overall athletic performance.
  9. Boosted Metabolism: As a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, pull-ups can contribute to an increased metabolic rate. This means you’ll continue burning calories even after your workout is finished.
  10. Aesthetic Benefits: Let’s not forget the aesthetic side of things. Regularly incorporating pull-ups into your routine can help sculpt your upper body, giving you that desirable V-shaped torso.

Overall, pull-ups are an excellent exercise for building upper body strength, improving posture and grip strength, and increasing cardiovascular endurance.

Remember, like any exercise, it’s crucial to start at your current fitness level and progressively increase intensity. Whether you can do one pull-up or ten, the consistent inclusion of pull-ups in your routine can lead to numerous physical and functional benefits.

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What Muscles do Pull-Ups Work?

Pull-ups primarily work the following muscle groups:

  1. Latissimus Dorsi: Also known as the “lats,” these are the large muscles in your back that are responsible for the pulling motion during the exercise.
  2. Biceps: The biceps, located on the front of the upper arm, are also activated during pull-ups and assist in the pulling motion.
  3. Forearms: The muscles in the forearms are engaged during the grip strength required to hold onto the bar during the exercise.
  4. Shoulders: The shoulder muscles, including the deltoids, are also involved in the pulling motion during pull-ups.

In addition to these primary muscle groups, pull-ups also work the muscles in your chest, upper back, and core to a lesser extent, providing a comprehensive upper body workout.

Should You Do Pull-Ups Every Day?

While pull-ups can be a great exercise for building upper body strength, it is generally not recommended to do pull-ups every day. This is because your muscles need time to rest and recover after a workout in order to repair and grow stronger.

Doing pull-ups every day without allowing for proper recovery time can increase your risk of injury and also lead to overtraining, which can negatively impact your overall fitness goals.

Instead, it is recommended to incorporate pull-ups into a well-rounded strength training program that includes other exercises and allows for adequate rest and recovery time between workouts. A good rule of thumb is to aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, with at least one day of rest in between each session.

It’s also important to note that everyone’s fitness level and recovery time can vary, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your workout schedule accordingly.

Pull-up progressions

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Ring rows

There are many popular progressions to achieving the required strength to do pull-ups. They include the ring row, banded pull-ups, and negatives (jumping up and slowly lowering down).

In addition to progressions, you’ll need solid and consistent practice.

  • Deadhangs – deadhangs are an effective way to build shoulder stability and grip strength, both of which you’ll need before you can perform a pull-up. Aim to simply hang from a bar for around a minute. Deadhangs can be performed passively or with active shoulders, train both.
  • Push-ups – push-ups are your friends when working on developing strict strength for pull-ups. Most athletes are able to perform at least a dozen push-ups unbroken before they have the strength to perform pull-ups.
  • Ring rows – ring rows follow a similar movement pattern of a pull-up except you get the extra aid from having your feet on the floor. Alongside with ring dips, ring rows are a great exercise to develop strength for pull-ups.
  • Bands – use a band to get yourself used to the movement pattern of pull-ups and know exactly which muscles will be taxed. Bands take some weight away from your body and help you perform the movements easier. Assisted pull-ups have their place as a developmental exercise but you should combine them with other variations and progressions to develop better pull-ups.
  • Negatives – in your quest to becoming stronger, negative pull-ups are probably one of the most effective exercises because they focus on the eccentric part of the movement. Jump onto the pull-up bar so your chin is over it and hold this position for a few seconds. Then, lower yourself as slowly as possible until your arms are extended again. Make sure you go through the full range of motion.
  • Chin over bar hold – this will help you develop your end strength, required for the final portion of the pull-up. Aim to hold this for around 30 seconds while keeping your whole body under control.
  • Supine barbell row – this movement will allow you to develop similar muscles to the pull-up except in a different plane of motion and at an easier intensity. Unlike ring rows, the supine barbell row keeps the hands in a fixed position (like the pull-up).

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