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6 Step Pull Up Progression

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Pull-ups are a commonly used body weight exercise that strengthen your back, shoulders, arms and core. However, mastering the pull-up can be challenging when starting out. Master Coach Rebecca Rouse has a 6 step progression plan to help you master your pull-up!

1. Bar hang. First get a baseline for your max hang time. Incorporate bar hangs in your program at least 1-2x/week and try to add 10-15 seconds each week
- beginner: 15-30 seconds
-intermediate 30-60 seconds
- advanced: 1-2 minutes

2. Scapular pull-ups
- Hang from a bar. Without bending the elbows, elevate and depress the scapula (shoulder blades) by pulling the shoulders up toward the ears and then down toward the floor.

3.Self-assisted pull-ups
- Begin seated on the floor with hands gripping a barbell racked in a squat rack or a Smith machine. Extend legs out in front of the body, either bent (easier) or straight (more difficult). Making the legs as weightless as possible, pull the torso up until chin clears the bar. Use the minimum amount of lower body assistance as needed.

4. Banded pull-ups
- Tie a band around the pull-up bar. Put one foot in and extend the leg straight. Extend the free leg straight to meet the banded leg. Using assistance from the band, pull up until the chin clears the bar.
- The stronger you get, the lighter the band/less assistance you will need.

5. Jumping pull-ups
- Place a box beneath the pull-up bar, high enough so that your hands are on the bar while feet are on the box. Use a boost from the legs while simultaneously pulling with the back and arms to get the chin over the bar, then control the descent.
- Use the minimum amount of lower body boost necessary. The stronger you get, the less lower body assistance you'll need.

6. Eccentric (negative) pull-ups
- With hands on the pull-up bar and feet on a box, jump up until chin clears the bar, pause for one second to stabilize the torso, and then lower the body down as slowly as possible until the elbows are fully extended. Put feet back on the box, reset, and start again from the top.
- The stronger you get, the longer it should take you to go from top to bottom.

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