A Top Trainer Shared a Simple Tip That Will Help You Do More Pullups

·2 min read
Photo credit: Athlean-X - YouTube
Photo credit: Athlean-X - YouTube

The pullup is a bodyweight staple, but can be difficult for many to master at first. In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. breaks down how anybody at any ability or level of fitness can improve their pullups—even if they've never done one before.

"Even if you can't do any pullups right now, there's a built-in mechanical dropset to the pullup," he explains. This is broken into three parts: pulling ourselves up to the bar, holding ourselves above the bar, and lowering ourselves back down. Each of these movements requires a different type of muscle contraction: concentric on the way up, isometric to hold the body in place, and eccentric on the way down.

Simply holding yourself up at the bar in as best a position as possible for as long as you can will help to build up isometric strength, says Cavaliere. Then, as you lower yourself down, try to do so in a controlled and slow manner; this will encourage a greater eccentric contraction in the muscles.

"As you build up both of those, your ability to do a concentric pullup, the actual pullup itself, is going to improve as well," he says. "You don't need to be able to do a pullup now in order to be able to learn how to do more pullups or to build more strength to do so."

If you are already able to do pullups, then you can still use these same dropset mechanisms to develop your concentric, isometric and eccentric strength, and improve your performance.

Cavaliere also shares some additional advice on how to perfect your pullup technique, including looking at how you hang from the bar. If you're bending your legs back at the knees, you're likely creating an "energy leak" in your pullup. "You need to have stiffness through your entire body in order to do the pullup right," he says. "Point your toes, straighten your knees, squeeze your glutes. Get all of that tightness in your lower body so you're creating rigidity in your torso, which is going to make you feel a lot lighter."

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