Pullups are probably one of the toughest of the bodyweight exercises. You’re pretty much pulling your entire body up using just your arms, back, and shoulder muscles, which is why so many people struggle with this exercise.
If you want to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, try the tricks below…
Try Assistance Bands
Assistance bands wrap around the bar and provide you with a place to stand as you are doing pullups, thus making it a bit easier to get a few more reps in. If you’re having a hard time reaching the end of your set, using these bands will be the smart way to go. It’s not cheating, but it’s like having someone to spot you as you do your workout.
Focus on Negatives
The concentric (positive) part of the exercise is when you pull yourself up, but you should focus on the eccentric (negative) part of the exercise–letting yourself down. Jump to bring your chest up to the pull-up bar, and slowly lower yourself, taking about 4 or 5 seconds to reach the bottom. Do a few of sets of this negative exercise, and you’ll develop a new type of strength that will help you increase your reps.
The key to doing more reps: pushing yourself PAST what you can do alone. Have a friend help you do a few more pull-ups, and force yourself to pull as hard as you can in those last 2 or 3 reps. That’s when you make the most progress in terms of muscle and strength gain, so you should make it a point to always push yourself hard–provided you have someone there to spot you.
Do More Pulldowns
If you want to build the strength needed to pull yourself up, use the cable machine to do heavy pulldowns. This exercise is exactly like pullups, except you’re pulling the weight down instead of lifting your body weight. It can help you to develop the muscles that do the work in your pullups, and you’ll find that you have much more strength when it comes pullup time thanks to this exercise!
A lot of the work is done by your biceps, the glamor muscles that everyone wants to develop. Thankfully, you can improve both the strength and appearance of your biceps by curling heavy weights. You only need to do heavy curls once every couple of weeks, but doing so will give you MASSIVE increases in strength that will make it just that little bit easier to do pullups.
Try Squat Pull-Ups
Want to get a bit more power in your pull-ups? Try doing squat pull-ups, which combines a squat with the pull-up. You can use more of your leg power once your back tires out, pushing both sets of muscles to their max. You’ll find that this is one of the best exercises you can do to boost your upper and lower body strength drastically, and it will have your muscles quaking in no time!
Use Resistance Bands
Instead of doing an actual pull-up, the TRX bands allow you to do modified pull-ups without your ever having to leave the ground. You’ll find that the modified pullups can help you to work your back at a number of different angles, developing strength that will be needed to do more regular pullups. It can boost both your strength and endurance, and you’ll build stronger forearms and biceps as well as back and shoulders. The resistance bands can make life a lot easier for you, so they’re worth trying.