How To Perform a Perfect Pull-Up – Explained

Finally Do A Pull-up

Don’t worry if you are not able to perform a perfect pull-up. It’s perhaps one of the toughest exercises and not to mention a very effective one that works on your biceps, back, and forearms altogether.

This hard-as-hell exercise does take time to master, no doubt, but if executed with the proper form and technique, you’ll save a lot of time and target your muscles more effectively.

pull up

If your workout routine is missing pull-ups, you are way behind from getting that badass look.

Fortunately, you don’t need any weights to do a pull-up. It can be completed with just your bodyweight.

This program is broken down into 6 weeks or 6 levels. “Level 1” starting with the bent-over dumbbell rows and ending with level 6 — pull-ups.

Execute A Perfect Pull-up

Following dozens of requests from fellow lifters who are struggling with their first pull-up, we’ve put together a detailed guide on executing a perfect pull-up.

pull up

We’ll be progressing in a step-by-step manner and you have to be patient and consistent with the entire routine.

1. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows

To strengthen the lats, we’ll start with bent-over dumbbell rows as it works on your back and arm muscles too. It’s a simple but very effective exercise for a wide, V-shaped back and assists with the bodyweight pull-up.

Your goal should be to grab a heavier dumbbell each workout. Once you can do 8-12 reps with a dumbbell with a weight you consider heavy (with proper technique), move on to a heavier weight.

  • Monday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Wednesday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Friday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.

2. Inverted Rows

Bodyweight rows are quite similar to pull-ups but even then, your entire bodyweight isn’t being used. You’ll be doing it on a Smith machine so that you can adjust the height of the bar. The lower the bar on the Smith machine, the more difficult it will be.

Get under the bar and grab it at shoulder’s width. Brace your core and pull yourself towards the bar until your chin is just above it. Gradually lower and repeat until failure. Once you are able to do 8-12 reps with no rest or pause, lower the bar a notch. Perform at least three sets.

  • Monday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Wednesday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Friday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.

3. Assisted Pull-Ups

The assisted pull-up machine is the one where you can hook weight, stand over a platform and do a pull-up. The machine basically pulls your body from underneath so it’s easy to pull yourself up. If your gym doesn’t have this machine, ask a friend or gym buddy to hold your feet from behind you to complete a rep.

You can also place a chair for assistance but try not to push off of it too much. For assisted pull-ups, aim for three sets of 8-12 reps.

  • Monday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Wednesday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Friday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.

4. Negative Pull-ups

We’ve finally entered the phase where we’ll be focusing on doing the actual pull-up. During negative pull-ups, there is nobody to help you, no assistance machines and no chairs.

Get under the pull-up bar, jump above the bar, hold the position for a second and very slowly, lower yourself in a controlled manner. Jump above again and repeat. Make sure all the reps are very slow and in full control. However, don’t go too slow or else you’ll lose strict form. Just maintain a controlled speed.

  • Monday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Wednesday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Friday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.

5. Chin-Ups & Pull-Ups

We are another step closer to doing the perfect pull-ups. No negative pull-ups, no jumps, no assistance and complete bodyweight.

Get under the pull-up bar, but instead of a wide-grip that we’ll use in the final level, grab the bar with your hands just under shoulder’s width and palms facing towards your face. Now, pull yourself up. If you’ve been following the previous exercises properly, you’ll be able to easily pull yourself up. Get your chin above the bar and lower yourself in a controlled manner.

  • Monday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Wednesday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.
  • Friday: 3 sets, 8-12 reps.

6. Pull-up (The Final Assault)

After successfully going through level 5 and doing three sets of 8-12 reps of pull-ups and chins-ups, you’ll be doing the actual pull-ups with a wide-grip and in full control.

Get under the pull-up bar, and grab it with a wide-grip, more than shoulder’s width apart. Now, using the shoulder blades and your lats, pull yourself up until your chin is near the bar. Keep your legs crossed throughout and your motion in full control. Aim for three sets of 8-12 reps each.

Share this with someone who is struggling with pull-ups.

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