How To Start Doing Pull-Ups For Beginners – Part 1 (with Video Demonstration)

Many people struggle to do pull-ups. They don't often take the time to develop the strict strength necesssary. In CrossFit, many people start using bands and then progress from those to kipping pullups. This blog post is the first of a series on how to progress safely to kipping pull-ups and beyond.

The trouble with using resistance bands

I don't have anything against resistance bands in general. The problem that I have with them is that when they are not used correctly, they support you right where you need the most strength - at the bottom of the pull-up/hang position.

Because it helps you out of the bottom, people often don't develop the strength needed to at the bottom of the hang.


Simple Principle - Eccentric Training

A simple and effective way to begin training your shoulders is to learn how to maintain tension and good posture during the eccentric phase of a pull-up. That means your muscles are working while you are lengthening them. This type of training is a very effective way of developing strength.



Eccentric training makes your SORE from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)!!! Don't be surprised if you have sore shoulders. 

The secret is to persist and not do too many to start with


The Exercise - Eccentric Pull-Ups (Supported by legs)

  1. Use a box and plates so that on your toes, your chin or chest is above the bar.
  2. Take the tension in your arms as much as possible
  3. Slowly lower yourself - it can be between 4-10secs
  4. Use your legs as little as possible but as much as you need to maintain good form (ribs down, controlled descent, no pain)
  5. Stand up and repeat your reps with minimal breaks until the end of the set.
  6. Rest 3 mins between sets

The Program - Absolute Beginners

Reps: The first week or two are to get used to them so we start slow. If you are used to pull ups, then go to weeks 3-6 at your own risk!

  • Week 1 - 3 reps
  • Week 2 - 6 reps
  • Weeks 3 to 6 - max effort up to 12 reps - that means if you cannot lower without losing control, your set has ended, even after 2 reps.
  • Rest 3 mins between sets


  • Week 1 - 3 sets
  • Week 2 - 4 sets
  • Weeks 3 to 6 - 5 sets


  • Week 1 - Once or twice that first week - you will likely be sore if you do it correctly.
  • Weeks 2 to 6 - Every 2nd day / 3 times per week


  • As you improve, use less legs to support yourself
  • You might be able to progress sooner than 6 may take longer than 6 weeks.
  • You are ready to progress to the next level when you can do 5 sets of 12 reps by starting at the start position on your toes, holding on and lowering completely and in control all the way to the bottom.


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