by Mike Scialabba

You know you've done it. We all have at one point.

Done what?

Stood under the pull up bar considering pull ups on a back day, only to have the idea drown out with the grueling memory of you kicking your feet like a fish out of water and reaching for the bar with your chin only to come up about 6 inches short, of your chin!

Well stand in fear no longer! Here's a few progressions that will get that pull up bar nursing off your teets of success in no time!

Rules of the progressions: Use these progressions to start any strength training day that you would have a back emphasis or specific target.

Method 1) Jumping Pull Ups

Stand under the bar and leap up into it as hard as your can. Toward the peak of your leap, grab the bar with an overhand grip and pull yourself up the rest of the way nearly reaching your nipple line to the bar.

Give yourself a good hold at the top and lower yourself down with complete control to the very end. Repeat for 6-8 reps and perform 3-5 sets depending on how frequently you'll be attacking your back during the weeks routine.

Method 2) Band Assisted Pull Ups

Loop a thick band over your pull up bar and through itself allowing it to hang dead center of the bar. Pull it down and slide your knee in. Perform a pull up. Make sure you're utilizing a band that only aids you in about 6 good pull ups. As you improve throughout the oncoming weeks, move to a thinner band. Perform 3-5 sets depending on how frequently you'll be attacking your back during the weeks routine.

Method 3) Chin Ups – Pull Downs

Instead of doing overhand-grip pull ups, move to an underhand-grip chin up. Perform sets of 5, and add weight if necessary. Remember the goal is to get your nipple line to the bar with your chest arched up. After you can no longer perform adequate sets of 5, move to a prone grip heavy pull down for 4 sets of 3. After a few weeks, go back to attempting prone grip pull ups, or jumping pull ups.

Try these 3 methods intermittently for 10-12 weeks 2-3 times per week as a staple in your back routine. You should see marked improvement in your quest for monkey strength.


Mike is the Director and Owner of the Missoula Underground Strength Training Center located in Missoula, Montana. He’s an Expert Strength Coach and has been in the business for nearly a decade working with hundreds of individuals utilizing conventional and unconventional training methods. Be sure to check out his blog!


This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - July 23rd, 2010

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