Pull-Up update: Moving away from Banded Pull-ups

Quest imageAs you know, from my many, many posts on this topic, I’ve been trying to get a strict pull-up for a long, long time.

In that time, I’ve made some serious progress – moving from not being able to do one with the Blue Band, to be able to do a pull-up fairly easily with the black band.  In that time I also learned how to kip and in fact, just this week, started being able to string 2-3 kipping pull-ups together. This will make a huge difference in metcons that have pull-ups in them…but doesn’t really get me any closer to being able to do a strict pull-up.

Since starting my quest for the pull-up, I’ve pretty much stayed focused on doing multiple reps of banded pull-ups.  And I think this was a good approach for building up my strength. But now, as I’m getting closer and closer to being able to do a pull-up, progress has gotten very slow. According to my oh-so-scientific calculations (i.e. I guess), I still need about 10kg of assistance.

The video below shows my “progress” after 2 and 4 weeks of the Full-Circle pull-up Program. I like the Full-Circle program because it varies the amount of assistance that you use each day.

If you found yourself thinking “Well, I can’t really see the difference….” don’t worry, so did I.  Apart from being a smoother in the first part of the pull-up, it doesn’t look like I’ve made a huge amount of progress during this cycle of the program. Maybe this is because it took me almost a month to do a 2-week cycle. Could be. Or maybe it is because now that I am so close, I need to focus more on the problem areas of the pull-up for me.

These are very clearly the first pull and the last pull at the very top. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get out of the bottom of the pull-up (the dead-hang position) without assistance.  It’s also hard to pull myself the last couple of inches needed to get my chin over the bar.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the internet about pull-ups (I know, surprise, surprise!!) and there has been a lot of talk lately about how banded pull-ups don’t really help you in these two areas.

So I started looking for alternative ways to target my problem areas.

I came across these two articles, which had some very helpful suggestions for things you can do to get your first pull-up…that aren’t banded pull-ups.



So, to try and jump start my progress, I’ve decided to do my own make-shift program combining some of these movements from these articles  for the next two weeks to see whether they can help me overcome the difficulties I’m still having getting a pull-up.

I will be alternating these movements:

  • Segmented and Eccentric Pull-ups (Negatives)
  • Barbell Pull-ups
  • Deadhangs (to work on grip strength)
  • Scapular Pull-ups (pulling down your lats)

As usual, I will keep you updated, probably with another one of my (demonstrating a clear natural talent for filmmaking) videos.

What are your thoughts? Bands or no-bands for training your pull-up?






One Response to “ Pull-Up update: Moving away from Banded Pull-ups ”

    1. Jennifer says:

      I love how committed and dedicated you are to this goal, Rae!! You WILL GET IT!!!

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