Your Cart is Empty

March 11, 2020 5 min read

Deciding to learn how to do a pull-up is easy. Actually learning how to do a pull-up, on the other hand, can straight up suck. Those fitness influencers on Instagram can sure as hell make pull-ups look easy, but alas, true to form, reality is a far cry from #Instagood and we seldom crush our fitness goals in a matter of days. It can take anywhere from weeks to years (yes, years) to learn to do a pull-up, depending on your current fitness level.

This said, learning how to do a pull-up is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and fitness. 

The Benefits of Learning How to Do a Pull-Up

Pull-ups worka variety of muscles, including most of the muscles in your upper body. We're talking back muscles, arms, chest, shoulders and core. That's a lot of muscle activation from one move. 

And the benefits of learning to do a pull-up don't end there. As far as functional movements go, it doesn't get much better than pull-ups. Learning to do pull-ups strengthens the muscles required to help us pull ourselves up if we fall, lift and support our own body weight, and notably, improve our grip strength—and grip strength has been linked to better overall health and fitness.

Learn more:Grip Gains: Why You Need to Be Training Your Forearms.

Chin Up vs. Pull-Up

Pull-ups can be interchangeably called chin-ups, BUT strictly speaking, they’re not the same things. 

A pull-up uses an overhand grip and wide hand stance whereas a chin-up uses an underhand grip and a narrower stance. Because chin-ups recruit more muscles (notably, biceps as well as back and shoulders), they are usually easier for people to do. 

This guide to learning how to do a pull-up is going to teach you how to do pull-ups and chin-ups. 

Let's get started.

6 Steps to Learning How to Do a Pull-Up (and Chin-Up)

Step 1: Strengthen Your Back

Since your back does the brunt of the work during pull-ups and chin-ups, your exercise progression should involve strengthening your back.

The best move for strengthening your back pre-pull-up is the bent-over dumbbell row. 

You want to lift heavy, while still maintaining form. How heavy?

You shouldn't be able to do more than 8 reps for 3 sets. If by the final set you can only do 5, that's cool: you're at a solid weight.

You're aiming to lift your entire bodyweight, remember? So, if you can smash out 10-12 reps, that's not getting you closer to the ultimate goal of pulling-up your entire heft.

Include bent-over dumbbell rows in your workouts 3 times a week with at least 24 hours in between days for rest. Also, be sure to keep increasing the weight as 8 reps becomes easy. 

Once you can comfortably lift 25lbs or more, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Inverted Bodyweight Rows

Now you're going to start training with your own bodyweight. This is where having a set ofChallenger Bars will come in handy. Safe and stable, these parallel bars can be used together or by themselves to help you crush your pull-up goals. 

Score 25% offChallenger Bars now when you shop ourSpring Break Sale

Here are a few ways you can perform an inverted pull-up withChallenger Bars. If you're working at a gym and don't haveChallenger Bars, use a barbell and a Smith machine.

Option 1 (Easier): Bent LegChallenger Bar Pull-Up/Chin-Up 

Option 2 (More Challenging): Straight LegChallenger Bar Pull-Up/Chin-Up

Do 8 reps for 3 sets. Again, fit this move in three times a week, and alternate between using an overhand and underhand grip each time. This will help you alternately build your back and bicep strength for what's to come. 

Once this 8 rep range becomes comfortable, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Resistance Band Pull-Ups/Chin-Up

It's time to do a full pull-up—with a little help. The resistance band is going to relieve some of the effort, but not all of it. You're still going to get a feel of what it is like to do a complete pull-up.

We recommendThe Pink Thing, which has 8 loops you can easily slip your foot through to make assisted pull-ups easier. Of course, you're going to need a pull-up bar to do this move, so either use the one at your gym or a home pull-up bar. 

GetThe Pink Thing for 25% off when you shop ourSpring Break Sale

If you don't have bands, or if resistance band pull-ups are still too challenging, try chair or box pull-ups. 


In this move, you're going to place one or both feet on a chair or box and pull up. Your lower body should not do any (or precious little) of the work. Your feet are there for support only! Use your upper body as much as possible. 

Again, alternate grips between underhand and overhand grip every time you train, and go for 3 sets of 8 reps, max, 3 times a week.

Step 4: Negative Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups

Negative pull-ups involve using a box or chair to help yourself jump up so the top of your chest is level with the bar, and then you slowly lower yourself down. 

Repeat for 8 reps max, 3 sets or until failure. Do this once a week, along with the assisted pull-ups once a week and the bent-over rows once a week.  

Step 5: Full Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups

As we mentioned earlier, chin-ups are often easier than pull-ups. So, start with that. 

  • Grab the bar with an underhand grip, a smidge wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  • Allow your body to hang.
  • Activating your shoulders, pull them down so your shoulder blades pinch toward the midline of your back. 
  • Draw on your biceps to help fuel the movement!
  • Engage your core and keep pulling until the top of your chest is at the bar level.
  • Pause for a split-second and then lower yourself back down all the way. 

For pull-ups, you're going to follow almost exactly the same course of action, except your grip will be overhand, and about two hand lengths wider than shoulder-width apart. 

You may only be able to do one pull-up at first, and that's GREAT! That's a start. Do that one pull-up, and then keep up with your chin-ups and inverted bodyweight rows for 3 sets of max reps the other two days a week (for that grand total of three days per week).

If you want more ways to incorporate pull-ups and chin-ups into your workouts, check out our Pull-Up Playlist onSweatflix. All these workouts have pull-ups and/or chin-ups and will help you build a stronger, leaner body. 

Not a member ofSweatflix? No worries! You cansign up for a 30-day FREE trial and score access to 1000s of workouts for all fitness levels. 



Leave a comment

Also in Insider News

Vegan Celebrities & Why They Made the Switch to Plant-Based Eating
Vegan Celebrities & Why They Made the Switch to Plant-Based Eating

March 27, 2020 3 min read

Which vegan celebrities have made the switch to plant-based eating? Spoiler: some of the sexiest, strongest bodies in Hollywood are on this list!
Read More
ABS on FIRE: The Best Home Workout for Abs
ABS on FIRE: The Best Home Workout for Abs

March 25, 2020 1 min read

Got 20 minutes? Then you’ve got the time to smash this home workout for abs. Join BodyRock Trainer Beth--FREE WORKOUT VIDEO included!
Read More
How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System
How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System

March 23, 2020 4 min read

Learn how to naturally strengthen your immune system with these simple, safe and powerful tips. Read the blog, and stay healthy!
Read More
Shipping & Delivery

Fast, Express Shipping.

'Due to COVID-19, online stores are experiencing some shipping delays. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we assure you that we are working hard with our shipping partner UPS to get you your order out to you as quickly as possible. Thanks for your support and understanding.'

We want you to start your fitness journey with us as quickly as possible, that’s why we send every package to the USA & Canada via expedited or standard shipping with our partners at UPS. Once your order is received and processed, it just takes 2-4 days to get to you once it leaves our warehouse. That’s our commitment and we stand by it.

We ship within Canada and the United States via UPS with Standard & Expedited shipping (whichever is faster)

For locations outside of the US and Canada, we ship using FedEx International (EUROPE and Other Nations), which is usually in transit for 7-10 business days, depending on location.

We ship all of our physical products with UPS, from our warehouse location in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Signatures are required on all orders. Delays caused due to custom withholds are not included in these estimated delivery times.

Returns & Exchanges

BodyRock Equipment

We offer a 30-day return policy, as long as: it is not more than 30 days past the date of delivery; and your item is in its original condition and packaging with the original order number. Refunds will be issued when the equipment is received back to the BodyRock warehouse, minus the original cost of shipping, and the customer is responsible for the costs of return shipping. To request a refund on physical product purchases, please contact us.

Digital Products

We cannot issue refunds on digital goods such as e-books or videos, as these are non-tangible goods that are irrevocable once the order is placed.


All of the BodyRock clothing is made to order and so is final sale. If you have any questions about sizing prior to placing your order, please contact us.