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Five exercises to help you nail your first pull up

Five exercises to help you nail your first pull up

If you’re still aspiring to your first pull up and want to ensure the rest of your routine is building up to that big moment, these exercises can help.

Each of the five exercises listed below help train the exact muscles you need to achieve strong and effective pull ups.

With all these muscles working properly your first pull up shouldn’t be far off.

1. Bent Over Rows

As this video shows, bent over rows require you to choose a dumbbell of a weight that challenges you and to ensure you are in the optimal position for performing the exercise:


The bent over row is a compound exercise which works many muscles throughout your upper body, the major group targeted being in your back – the rhomboids and latissimus dorsi in particular. Your biceps, forearm muscles and shoulders also play a supporting role and all the muscles are needed for a successful pull up.

2. Deadlifts

Our deadlift video shows the perfect form for a standard deadlift, focusing on getting all your muscles to work in unison as you use your hips and abs to lift and lower the dumbbell:


Deadlifts are essentially designed to strengthen your core, training the central muscles in your body to ensure you can hold your own body weight and are able to utilise the other muscles in your body with ease. A strong core is essential for a successful pull up.

3. Body Weight Row

Utilising a barbell locked in place or in fact any immovable object positioned at arm’s length, you’re ready to carry out a body weight row, as our video shows:


The body weight row, also known as an inverted row works all the muscles in your back as well as your biceps and traps. It helps ensure your back is as strong as the other parts of your upper body and a well-trained back is key to effective pull ups.

4. Assisted Pull Up

If you’re still not quite achieving that pull up then why not have a little help? The assisted pull up allows you to experience the move with a little extra boost:


This move allows you to enjoy what a pull up feels like with a little extra support, until your body has been honed through these other moves to carry out the exercise unaided.

5. Negative Pull Up

Why not trying going down rather than pulling up? Lowering yourself below the bar in a ‘negative’ move to the standard pull up still allows you to build that core strength you need for the real thing:


Negative pullups give your upper body muscles the lift they need to head towards that elusive pull up and with all these moves mastered and worked into your work out you’ll achieve it in no time.


the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.