Tip: Don't Add Weight to Your Pull-Ups

So you can do 8 decent pull-ups. Big deal. You're still not ready to do the weighted version. Do these instead.

A lot of lifters are under the impression that once they can do several consecutive pull-ups, they should go ahead and add weight to progress the exercise.

In theory, this makes sense. In practice, however, it's rare that I see anyone at the gym doing weighted pull-ups with a full range of motion and complete control of the exercise. People are all too often in a rush to progress an exercise that they aren't even doing well in the first place.

Instead of adding weight, here's a simple routine you can try that will significantly increase the challenge of the basic pull-up without the need for any additional equipment. As a bonus, this drill will force you to dial in your pull-up technique and quickly expose any weak links in your form.

How to Do It

  1. Pull your chin above the bar and pause at the top for 2 seconds.
  2. Carefully lower yourself until your elbows are bent to 90 degrees and pause for another 2 seconds.
  3. Slowly come down to a full hang, again pausing at the bottom for 2 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3. Be careful not to bend your knees (bending the knees almost always leads to kipping).

Don't even ask me about weighted pull-ups until you can do 10-plus reps using this cadence.