The Beginner Pull Up Program: Flexed Hang and Ring Rows
How To Do A Pull Up?
Pull Ups Are Not Just For Gymnasts Anymore!
You Can Also Try These Other Exercises…
1. One Arm Dumbbell Row (Dumbbell Push Press) 2. Two Arm Dumbbell Row 3.
Three Arm Dumbbell Row 4. Four Arm Dumbbell Row 5. Five Arm Dumbbell Row 6. Six Arm Dumbbell Row 7. Seven Arm Dumbbell Row 8. Eight Arm Dumbbell Row 9. Nine Arm Dumbbell Row 10. Ten Arm Dumbbell Row 11. Eleven Arm Dumbbell Row 12. Twelve Arm Dumbbell Row 13. Thirteen Arm Dumbbell Row 14. Four Leg Lying Squat Deadlift 15. Seated Calf Raise 16. Standing Calf Raise 17. Kneeling Cable Crunch 18. Face Pull 19. Side Plank 20. One Arm Bridge 21. Two Arm Bridge 22. Three Arm Bridge 23. Four Arm Bridge 24. Five Arm Bridge 25. Six Arm Bridge 26. Seven Arm Bridge 27. Eight Arm Bridge 28. Nine Arm Bridge 29. 10 Armbar 30. Choke 31. Twister 32. Hammerlock 33. Triangle Lock 34. Rear Naked Choke 35. North South
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Most people are content with just knowing how to do a pull-up. They stop there, never expanding their knowledge or abilities in this area. Others may move on to the classic flexed arm hang.
The flexed arm hang is an important skill, don’t get me wrong, but it is sort of an awkward movement that doesn’t translate well to other aspects of calisthenics (or daily activities).
What’s a better option?
The pull-up of course.In this article, we’ll be talking about the pull-up. Specifically, the one that most of us have done time and time again in grade school. OK, maybe you haven’t done one in a long time, but it is never too late to start again! This pull-up is known as the chin-up (pronounced like “chin” and “up” instead of the other way around).It is an excellent exercise for targeting your back, biceps, and forearms. It tends to favor those who are already strong as it is a difficult exercise for beginners. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do one right away; you’ll bulk up fast if chin-ups are one of your main calisthenics goals.The best part about chin-ups is that they are easily scalable. A beginner can use their legs to “jump” themselves up to the bar (kicking at an angle) and a more advanced individual can add weight via a back pack or by having a partner hold extra weight. Even someone of average strength can jump up to the top of the bar before letting their body down, taking some of the stress off of their arms.Let’s begin!If you need to learn how to do a pull-up, then you should start with the flexed arm hang. Begin by grabbing onto a bar (or something at a similar height) with your hands at shoulder width or narrower. Keep your arms completely straight and your toes pointed away from the bar. The key is to hang forward with straight legs, all the way to where your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle, still holding on to the bar. This is the flexed arm hang, and it should be held for at least 60 seconds.Once this occurs, you can move on to the pull-up. You can jump up to the bar using your legs or if need be, you can have a friend lift you by the feet. The goal is to get yourself as close to the bar as possible so that the last thing you do is pull your body straight to the bar. Slowly let your body down and repeat. Once you can do this 10 times in a row, you are ready to move on to the next step.This is where things get fun! Once you have completed 10 chin-ups, you can start adding weight. The easiest way to do this is by using a backpack stuffed with books (or anything else that’s heavy). The goal is just to get used to the weight being added so work your way up to it slowly if need be. You can add weight to your body in other ways, but we’ll leave that for you to research on your own.Now that you’ve learned the basics of pull-ups, it’s time to start scaling the movement so that it’s possible for anyone to follow.This is the first step towards mastering the pull-up. All you have to do is turn your body around from the top of the bar (or rings or whatever you’re using). All you do is turn your body around and lower yourself down to the bottom of the bar. You can then push yourself back up to the top and repeat. It’s very simple, but also very tiring as you’re now working against gravity as well as your own weight.This one is relatively easy. All you have to do is grab the bar with your arms completely straightened out. From here, you can start bending your arms and lowering your body towards the bottom of the bar. When your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle, push yourself back up to the top of the bar.The hard part about this movement is lowering yourself down while keeping your body straight. It’s best to keep looking forward so you don’t twist or hurt yourself in anyway. If you’re doing it right, it will feel like your arms are partially pushing you up and out of the bar as you lower yourself.This is a relatively simple movement, but one that takes much practice. All you have to do is grab the bar with your arms completely straight. From here, bend your arms so that your chest/stomach move towards the bar. As you’re lowering down, keep turning and twisting your body so that you finish the movement facing completely forward.This movement is a great pre-cursor to the sideways pull-up and can also be done on rings as well. All you have to do is grab onto something (bar or rings) with your arms completely straight. From here, bend your arms so that your chest/stollum/etc move towards whatever you’re grabbing onto. As you’re lowering down, keep turning and twisting your body so that you finish the movement facing completely forward.This is by far the hardest progression in this particular guide, and one that takes much practice. All you have to do is grab something (bar or rings) with your arms completely straight. From here, bend your arms so that your chest/stomach move towards whatever you’re grabbing onto. As you’re lowering down, keep turning and twisting your body so that you finish the movement facing completely forward.You’ve now mastered all the basics movements of a pull-up! The next step is to combine these movements into a full pull-up. The best way to do this is to simply find something that you can hang from, and then start at the beginning. Do a half pull up, then release and turn around and do a negative, then do the second half of the pull up, release and turn around and do a negative, etc. etc. Keep going until you’ve completed an entire pull-up. Once you can do this, move on to the next step.This is the final step towards mastering the pull-up. All you have to do is combine everything you’ve learned so far. Once you can do this on a bar, try taking the movement out of a gym setting and onto something like a tree branch or pipe (with protective padding of course).Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not allowed to work on other people’s property without their permission. If you’re strong enough, and skilled enough, you’ll be able to show people that hiring a personal trainer isn’t the only way to accomplish what they want.I realize that this is a lot of information to take in at once, so feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back to it when you feel like you’re ready to start working on your pull-ups. I also want to remind you that I am NOT a professional and you should seek the help of one of these professionals if you feel like you’re in over your head or in pain. Pull-ups are a great way to build strength and muscle mass, but only if you do them correctly. If you start having a lot of pain or feel like something is tearing, see someone immediately.If this guide helped you at all, please share it with others! Strength training is an amazingly beneficial thing for teens to know about (and do) these days.Thank you for reading, and best of luck in your training.Peter Van VeenenM.Ed. (O.T.R.)P.H.Ec.
Sources & references used in this article:
Scaling CrossFit workouts by F Delavier, M Gundill – 2013 – Human Kinetics
HOW SAFE IS THE “FLEXED ARM HANG TEST”? by J Gordon – The CrossFit Journal, 2015 – library.crossfit.com
A comparison of muscle activation during the pull-up and three alternative pulling exercises by S Bubanj, G Šekeljić, J Marković… – Acta …, 2017 – actakinesiologica.com
Gymnastics and movement instruction: Fighting the decline in motor fitness by JK Hewit, DA Jaffe, T Crowder – J Phy Fit Treatment & Sports, 2018 – vitaefit.fr
… the effect on instrumental performance: a preliminary study comparing Pilates exercise and a trunk and proximal upper extremity endurance exercise program. by J Coelho – Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
Rehabilitation of the shoulder following rotator cuff injury or surgery by KS Kava, CA Larson, CH Stiller… – Music Performance …, 2010 – researchgate.net