Pull Ups Progressions Everywhere | Liberate Breakfast
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Pull Up Progressions Anywhere

I rarely see proper pull ups performed on the gym. Coming from a world where I literally got paid to do pull ups for a living I find this extremely hard to swallow.

Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast

Pull ups are amazing for strength, posture, aesthetics, pulling you literally out of life threatening situations*, and confidence. The pull up is one of the most popular and most efficient pull techniques available.

Any trainer worth his/her skin-tight t-shirt is going to get you performing pulling techniques using an underlying fundamental programming principle… Push v. Pull.

I’m sure you are familiar with many push exercises, you’ve probably even prioritized things like bench press, shoulder press, and overhead press in your current workouts. Why do we do this? My working theory is that there aren’t enough mirrors that allow us to see our backs on this planet**. If there were you would quickly realize that you may have the front side of a professional body builder but the back side of a prepubescent 4th grader.

“Not me man! I’m jacked. My pecs are just so big that they make my back look flat and unimpressive….”

-Every Bro Science “Doctor” Ever



In all seriousness, the world around us is designed to create bad posture. From long work day sitting at a desk, to constantly looking down at your smart phone, all the way to hanging your head low like Charlie Brown for not living up to your parents expectations. By focusing only on push exercises you raise the potential of exponentially exacerbating this problem. Pull ups are here to help and may even make your dad love you again.

By having a strong back you will start pulling your spine back into its proper, erect, position. When you are out of balance with more muscles on your front than on your back your spine suffers. This is precisely why it is important to conduct a pull exercise for every major push exercise you conduct. Pull ups are a perfect partner for an overhead press. Horizontal pulls are the perfect partner for bench press…. See how it works?

A little bit of Yin… A little bit of Yang.

Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast

Want to start pulling like a boss? Don’t know how or think it is impossible? Below are some pull up progressions to get you started, regardless of where you prefer to exercise. But first…. Form.


Proper Technique

What is proper pull up form? It’s pretty simple for this exercise because your body tells you how far you can move.

As you can see this beautiful man’s form is impeccable.

Tight core:Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast

Focus on Scapulae engagement at the bottom:Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast


Pull chest to bar to engage full back, Focus on pinching the shoulder blades together at the top, Chest to Bar is perfect form: Focus on Scapulae engagement at the bottom


The above techniques translates to just about every pull exercise imaginable. These are the fundamentals of a pull:

  • Full Extension
  • Back Engagement
  • Pull To Chest
  • Repeat


Basic Progression Exercise

Horizontal pulls:

Scapulae engagements: Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast Pull up Progressions Liberate Breakfast


Eccentric pull ups or as I call them Let-downs: Link IG Post: 

Assisted pull ups- preferable not with a partner because you can’t get consistent assistance. Using a machine or a band:

Frequency 2-3 times a week with variations with 8-10 reps per set. Once you can do one variation for 3 sets of 10 move on to a more difficult variation.

Use pull ups as your last major lift of a workout or your first assistance lift. Depending on your view of pullups’ importance.


Home workout

Horizontal pulls: Perform these on your kitchen table or counter. It is important to use a sturdy surface that allows you to fully extend your arms and back at the end of the technique. A porch railing or a dowel between to similar height counters can also work.

Hanging: The easiest way to satisfy the requirement of needing a pull up bar is just to buy one. There are many models available that fit in a door frame, just remember that the more you spend on the bar the less likely you are to fall from an equipment malfunction. A steel beam in the basement, your garage door frame, or porch rafters can all be used as pull up bars as well.,

Assisted/ Eccentric Pull ups: Buy some bands they are relatively cheap and should last you years. The next best alternative is to use a chair. Put your foot on the chair and apply the amount of pressure necessary to complete the rep. It is much harder to quantify how much effort you are supplementing with a chair. I always prefer the bands over a chair or a partner helping.


Commercial gym:

Horizontal pulls: Smith Machine (this may be the only time I ever recommend the Smith Machine). I’m not saying anymore about the smith machine.

Set up a bar in the squat rack. Be prepared to get some looks with this one if you go to a gym with serious squatters. Usually if I’m going to perform horizontal pulls in a squat rack I make sure it is right after I squatted or I will perform these in between my sets of squat.

If they have parallel dip bars and they aren’t at some ridiculous height. Just use a box to get your feet to the proper height.

Hanging/ Assisted/ Eccentric Pull ups: Pull up bar… If your gym doesn’t have one get a new gym…. Seriously. Also force them to buy bands if they don’t have them. You’re paying for a membership. Make them work for you.



Tree branches and logs are your best friend here.

The wider the branch or log the more intense it will be on your grip. Same goes for in the gym. By finding fatter bars or hanging on the structural beams of the racks themselves you will be working your grip strength as well. This way when you’re hanging from a ledge you can’t make the excuse that the rock face is a non conventional width compared to your olympic lifting bars are Gold’s Gym.


Time to Execute

Make Gabe proud.

{Insert pic of stallone smiling from Cliffhanger}

The only way to become a pulling machine is to start pulling no matter where you may find yourself.

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*Pun Intended

**I can’t speak for the International Space Station. I’ve never been there and am not totally sure how the whole zero gravity thing works.


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