I am sure we can all agree that pull-ups are… awesome. Aside from being a functional and incredibly beneficial exercise, the pull-up is cool and says a lot about your fitness level. Sure, being able to deadlift a lot of weight is cool too, but there is something awe-inspiring about a guy or gal who can grab a pull-up bar and bang out a set of ten reps like it was nothing.
To that end, we have put together this guide, outlining everything you need to know about the pull-up and how to master it in a matter of weeks. Yes, weeks (not months or years). And the best part? We will be sharing some information about an item that could make pull-up training more accessible, so stick around to find out and let us dive in.
What are Pull-Ups, and what makes them so beneficial?
Pull-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises you can use to build upper body strength, improve your stability, and develop your grip. The objective is to reach up, grab a sturdy bar, and pull yourself up using your forearms, biceps, and back muscles. You can perform the movement with an overhand (palms facing forward, see picture on the left) or underhand grip (palms facing back; also known as a chin-up, see picture on the right).
A notable pull-up benefit is that the exercise develops the latissimus dorsi, the upper body's largest muscle. Doing so gives the back a broad and muscular appearance that screams fitness. Aside from that, pull-ups develop your grip strength because you have to work hard and support your body weight during each set. All you need is a pull-up bar to have great workouts, even if you are in a bad gym.
Another benefit of pull-ups is that the exercise overloads all involved muscles well, leading to growth and strength gain. Plus, the exercise offers a fantastic overloading potential, making it a great movement to build a training routine around. The best part about pull-ups is that all you need is a bar to perform the great movement at home.
How to start mastering the Pull-Up in just a few weeks
Mastering the pull-up might seem like an impossible task, especially if you can not do a single repetition right now. Luckily, there are simple tactics we can follow to make that happen. What you need to start, for example a wall mounted pull up bar. Let's take a look:
1. Do eccentric Pull-Ups
Not everyone can reach up, grab a bar, and pull themselves up. Doing so requires a base of strength and skill, which take time for us to develop.
Eccentric pull-ups are a fantastic option for beginners because not everyone can pull themselves up, but almost everyone can practice a controlled descent from the top position. So even if you can only lower yourself for two or three seconds, you have a base to work off and improve.
The objective with eccentric pull-ups is to reach the top position by jumping or stepping on something. Once there, lower yourself as slowly as you can by engaging your back, arms, and midsection muscles. Performing eccentric pull-ups is good for developing your muscles' necessary strength for a full pull-up. Most trainees will be able to do a complete pull-up by the time they can lower themselves for 45 to 60 seconds.
2. Leverage a Resistance Band
Resistance bands are awesome because they are affordable, light, portable, and incredibly versatile. One of their many benefits is that you can use a band to learn the pull-up. To achieve that, you have to wrap a looped band over a pull-up bar, let it hang, and step over it. Doing so allows the band to take away some of your body weight, making the exercise easier to perform.
Doing pull-ups with resistance bands allows you to progress to the first unassisted pull-up because you get quality practice and can strengthen all of the muscles involved in the exercise. The primary drawback with using a resistance band is that it offers the most support off the bottom (while it is stretched the most), but the assistance diminishes as you reach the top and the band returns to its regular length.
3. Do inverted Rows
Inverted rows are a bodyweight exercise with similarities to the pull-up. The objective is to grab a sturdy bar, lean back, and keep your feet planted on the floor. Once in position, pull and lower yourself repeatedly, working your back and biceps in the process.
Leaning back creates a more horizontal body position and makes the exercise more challenging. In contrast, staying more upright allows you to pull less of your body weight, making the movement more beginner-friendly.
Performing inverted rows is beneficial for your pull-up performance because you get used to the movement pattern. Plus, you get to train and grow the same muscles you would during a pull-up.
4. Lose some Weight
Weight loss is a bit of a taboo topic, but we need to mention it here because it directly impacts pull-up performance. Simply put, the more you weigh, the harder you will have to work to pull yourself up effectively. Losing some fat can make it easier to achieve your first pull-up and start building from there.
It is one thing to do pull-ups at 200 lbs of personal weight, and a whole other to do the same at 160 or 170 lbs.
5. Practice the exercise Frequently
The final beneficial tactic for improving your pull-up performance quickly is practicing the exercise more frequently. Performing pull-ups depends on skills that, like any other, improve through practice.
Here is a simple schedule you can follow:
- Monday - Eccentric pull-ups
- Tuesday - rest
- Wednesday - Band-assisted pull-ups
- Thursday - rest
- Friday - Inverted rows
- Saturday & Sunday - off
Introducing the Pullup & Dip Bar
As we now know, pull-ups are one of the best exercises you can include in your training to build your back and develop your pulling strength. Plus, the movement is fantastic for improving your core stability, becoming more athletic, and reducing your risk of injuries. The only problem with the movement is that you need a pull-up bar, which can be problematic when training at home or in the backyard. Luckily, there is a product that makes it easy to start doing pull-ups and dips no matter where you are.
The Pullup Bar
The Pull-up bar from Pullup & Dip is not one but several pull-up bars. It is a relatively new product that allows trainees to perform all sorts of fun and effective movements. In addition, this product offers excellent functionality and versatility, from the challenging pull-up and dip to the more accessible hanging leg raise.
The first thing you will notice about the pullup-dip bar is that each piece is made of solid metal, which inspires confidence that it will be able to support your weight. The entire thing weighs around 13 kilograms or 28.6 lbs. In addition, each of the handles is thick enough and has a surface that offers great grip, so you can rest assured that you will be able to train safely even if your palms get sweaty.
Mounting the Pullup & Dip Bar at Home and Outside
When purchasing the item, you can get it with an indoor and outdoor adapter, which allows you to use the bar at home as well as outside. You should pick the one that fits your needs, but we recommend getting the complete package. You never know when you might need it.
The indoor adapter has a triangular shape with rounded corners and plenty of openings for bolts, which you need for mounting on the wall. This will be the more challenging part of the installation process because you will have to drill holes in your wall.
If drilling holes into your wall is not possible, or you are looking for a less permanent set-up, there is also the option of getting a pull-up bar for your doorway. Unlike other options on the market, this door mount is secure and can support your body weight with no risk of detaching. It also comes with a resistance band you can use to perform assisted pull-ups.
In contrast, the outdoor adapter is designed for attachment to vertical objects, such as trees or poles. Luckily, attaching the adapter outside is easier and does not require special tools like a drill. First, you have to envelop the object with a protection mat that comes with a fastener, which allows you to work with vertical objects of numerous thickness levels. You then have to attach the outdoor adaptor to the mat with another fastener. Once you have done the above steps, secure the foundation with the tension belt that comes as part of the package. You then have to put together the main elements, which takes a minute or two and mount them to the adaptor. After that, you are done and can proceed to your workout.
In any case, the user manual is clear and simple to follow, with many good pictures that illustrate each step in the process.
How does the Pullup & Dip Bar feel during a Workout?
At first glance, the Pull-up & Dip bar might feel flimsy and in no way able to support your body weight. But, each part is made of solid materials to withstand significant loading without bending or breaking. As soon as you reach up, grab the bar, and lift your feet off the floor, you realize how stable the bar is and how secure you feel using it. The effect is particularly pronounced when using the bar at home because you can mount the adaptor more securely on the wall, preventing any looseness.
The next thing you notice about the product is its versatility. You can mount the bar one way and perform movements like dead hangs, pull-ups, hanging knee raises, L-sits, etc. You can then place the bar upside down in a few moments and have yourself a parallel bar for dips.
The bar is incredibly simple to modify, making it effortless to switch between exercises during your training. As mentioned already, you can rotate the bar for pull-ups or dips. You can also modify the bar and change the grips in seconds. Use the dip bar for movements like neutral-grip chin-ups and the straight bar for your traditional pull-up.
Suppose your objective is to do basic bodyweight training or look for a practical item to take for outdoor sessions. In that case, the pull-up & dip bar is undoubtedly a fantastic option.
With that said, there are some drawbacks to mention. These mostly apply to more advanced trainees looking to perform movements like the front lever and muscle-up. The problem is that the object you are attaching the bar to will get in the way, be it a pole, tree, or wall. You simply do not have the mobility you get from a standard pull-up bar.
Similarly, the manufacturers of the product recommend against uneven loading, such as grabbing one side of the bar and not the other. As such, movements like the single-arm pull-up might not be a good idea.
What we think of the Pullup & Dip Bar
Our opinion about the Pullup & Dip bar is that the product is solid, well-built, and offers a personal touch that is always welcome. We love the craftsmanship, the product's design, ease of use, and overall versatility.
Using the product is easy thanks to the clear instructions manual and the overall simplicity of the design. You don't need any technical knowledge or a degree in engineering to make full use of the Pullup & Dip Bar. Pricing on their website is usually around $79.90.
Another thing we enjoy about the product is how easy it is to tweak during your training. You can swap the individual handles in seconds, depending on the movement you want to do. On top of that, you can tweak the bar for pull-ups and dips, possibly even super-setting the two exercises for intense and efficient workouts.
The only potential issue with the bar is the weight, making it challenging to take on the road. You can fit all of the necessary parts in a medium-sized bag, but the whole thing weighs 13 kilograms (nearly 29 lbs), making it challenging to take on a road trip. And not sure how a hotel feels when one of its guests drills some holes in the walls. In such a case, you might want to stick to the standard fitness equipment.
Dips, Pull- and Push-ups?
The famous question is, are dips better than pull-ups? Dips are the opposite of pull-ups. Pull-ups work your biceps and the muscles in your back. On the other hand, dips work your triceps and chest, along with muscle groups like the deltoids in your shoulders. Both exercises are easy to learn. However, as people often find it easier to push than pull their body weight, dips might be easier for most. So you are going to think, and what about push-ups - are dips better than push-ups? Dips are best to maximize strength gains and build a nice lower chest. Push-ups are something for lifters who want to test their endurance and improve their fitness. Learn more about how to master push-ups in our next blog post.