Tip: Improve Your Tempo on Pull-Ups

If your goal is to build more muscle, use this tempo prescription to get better results.

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An underused method to increase muscular force output and growth-inducing TUT (time under tension) is programming specific tempos into your pull-ups. In order to recruit a maximal number of fast-twitch muscle fibers, make the concentric contraction (the pulling UP part) as explosive as possible as your chest approaches the bar.

At the top of the movement, squeeze for 1-2 seconds to maximize TUT and force output in the shortened state of the biceps, lats, and upper posterior-chain musculature.

Control the eccentric or lowering portion of the movement by trying to "press" yourself back down into a full tensioned hang. The tempo I recommend for strength and hypertrophy is X120. In tempo lingo, that means:

  1. Explode up as your chest moves toward the bar.
  2. Hold isometrically at the top for one second.
  3. Take about two seconds to lower your body.
  4. With no pause, come back up for another rep.