Pullups, one of the best full body pulling movements you can do and all you need is something overhead to hold onto. However many people, especially women struggle to do even one. This article will show you how you can get to that first pullup or, if you can already do a few, to show you how to increase those numbers

First you need a pullup bar of some sort. You don’t need one of those bars with the angled ends, a straight bar is fine.

If you cannot do any pullups then you will need to get a box or bench to stand on so you can get your hands on the bar. If you are tall enough you don’t need the box.

Next lets examine hand position. A pullup is done with the palms facing away from you. This grip forces you to use the lats and is much harder than the chinup, which is done with the palms facing you. The chinup allows your biceps to do most of the work. Since our focus is on the back we want to do pullups. There is also the alternating grip where one hand faces away and the other towards you. With the alternating grip you get the best of the other two grips. You must make sure to switch the hands and do the same number of reps both ways.

Where do the hands go on the bar? Some people like a really wide grip but it puts more stress on the shoulders and makes pullups much harder. In addition you can’t use the alternating grip of the hands are to far apart.

I prefer to keep my hands approximately shoulder width apart, this gives an almost straight pulling line putting you in a strong mechanical position.†

With hands on the bar jump up & slowly lower yourself down. If you went down faster than you went up you need to find a tall enough box to rest your legs on or have a friend hold your legs above the ankle to take some of the weight off your arms. With the feet supported get your chin back over the bar and try the negative again, going down as slowly as possible. Keep your abs tight and squeeze the bar. Focus on your lats. I f you don’t know where you lats are, squeeze your armpits, the muscles below and behind that flare out are the latissimus dorsi, lats. Do a few reps, no more than 5 and call it a day.

This slow descent (try for a 4 to 5 count descent rate) will build a lot of strength where you need it, but it will also make you sore so you need to keep the rep count low for now. However, if your pullup bar is in your home or you have easy access to one† during the day, every hour or so you should do a few negatives. Doing this for a week or two should get you to the point where you can do the negatives at full body weight.

Once you can do 5 to 10 good slow negatives it is time to start working the pulling movement.†

With your feet supported pull yourself up as high as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t get your chin over the bar, just pull. During the pulling movement think about driving your elbows into the floor, slowly lower yourself. Do sets of 5.

The next step is to do partial negatives. Jump up and work on doing the negative 1/2 way down & try to pull yourself up from there. Again keep the reps low at first and try to do them several times throughout the day