How To Start Doing Pull-Ups For Beginners – Part 2 (with Video Demonstration)

Beginners wanting to do Pull-Ups in Crossfit are at the greatest risk of injury, particularly if they are not strong. This blog post picks up on the same ideas and progresses it further. If you have started Part 1, you may be able to do Part 2 already...they are very similar exercises. Ask your coach or health profressional if you can do Part 2 because good technique is the key. Be patient and the results will come with minimal injury risks!

Strength And Endurance Are The Keys

My concern as a physiotherapist is that both beginners and Games athletes eventually fatigue and place their shoulders under greater risk of injury at the bottom of the pullup. Therefore, to reduce the risk of injury, I want good technique and strong muscles, tendons and ligaments around the shoulders. Then they have to be able to repeat this over and over again - a Workout like Angie, Barbara or Chelsea will have 100-150 pullups in them.

Eccentric And Concentric Training Together

Eccentric training is really good for strengthening and getting you over the first few hurdles of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) that you will feel. Maintaining the tension all the way down into the dead hang (bottom of the pullup) is important to ensure your strength is being developed throughout the full range of pullups.

Concentric training is added to begin getting the strength needed to pull yourself up to the bar. Pulling from the very bottom will help you develop the strength that you need at your weakest point - at full stretch in the dead hang.


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. I repeat this warning here because you can't be too careful!

The Exercise - Tempo Pull-Ups With Slow Eccentric and Faster Concentric Phase (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 for the count of 5
  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. Pull yourself up to the start position within 2 counts. You have now completed 1 rep.
  6. Repeat your reps with minimal breaks until the end of the set.
  7. 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 do 5 sets of 12 reps where can hold your bodyweight at the bar in the start position without using your feet and be able to lower yourself down to the dead hang in full control and for 5 counts.

Questions? Ask Below!


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