I can do five consecutive pull-ups.
Not that I am trying to brag, but I am pretty proud of that. Especially because it took me two years to work up to this point.
Pull-ups are one of the most challenging exercises, mostly because you’re pulling up your full body weight. The heavier you are, the harder a pull-up will be.
Additionally women tend to be weaker in our upper bodies (especially our backs) than men.
Oftentimes the tighter/stronger muscles of the chest and shoulders will attempt to do the “work” in the pull-up rather than the lat and rhomboid muscles of the back. That’s why just trying to do pull-ups won’t necessarily make them possible.
In order to develop the strength to do a pull-up, you need to address not only the large muscles of the back but also the entire core.
Below are the six best exercises to include in your programming if pull-ups are your goal.
I’ve also included a recommended number of sets and reps. You could do this as a workout on its own (as a back day) or add it to a cardio or other workout day.
There are videos linked as well so you can see how each move should be done.
Pull-up Prep Workout:
Negatives – 5 sets of 3
Straight-arm pull downs – 3 sets of 10-12
Inverted rows – 3 sets of 8-10
Bent-over scapular retractions – 3 sets of 15-20
Hanging leg raises – 3 sets of 10
Scissor kicks – 3 sets of 30 per leg
Pull-ups are possible for every woman – YES they are – but you can’t just go up to the bar and expect it to happen. It has taken me years of consistent effort using specific exercises to create the strength for pull-ups.
With the right plan, consistency and dedication you will get there!