Pull-Up Progressions by Ron


Well, it’s happened. I have finally successfully completed my first strict, tactical pull-up! And my second one, and my third!

If you know me, you know that this has been a long time coming. It was well over a year ago when I made this a goal for myself. Why did it take so long? I was impatient. I would work on it for a while, get frustrated, stop. Then I’d get inspired again and work on it some more, get frustrated, etc. etc.

I spoke with Ron, one of my kettlebells instructors, about this goal. He gave me a progression to work with, and it didn’t involve a band (which is good, because I use a hangboard instead of a bar). The progressions worked. The key to getting the progressions to work, however, is patience, which I lacked. But eventually I adopted the attitude that I would just do a little work each day, working from wherever I was, and before I knew it, I was there. As Ron says, there are no shortcuts.

Below you will find the progressions I used. It’s important to give each step its due diligence before moving on to the next. Patience and consistency in practice. Slow and steady, the turtle and all that.

Pull-Up Progression according to Ron:

*note: do this first with palms facing you, and then move to palms out and repeat the progression again. Be patient with yourself and master each step before moving on to the next.

  • Start at the top and do a reverse pull-up (from top to bottom), slowly. Work on this until you have gained enough control to stretch it out over a full 30 seconds.
  • Now start at the top of the pull-up, let yourself down 2 inches, then pull up 1 inch. Down 2, up 1. Work on this until you can, again, stretch it out over 30 seconds. If there’s a spot that’s tougher than the rest, spend more time there.
  • Start at the halfway point this time. Slowly lower to the bottom, without releasing tension, and then pull yourself up to the top of the bar. This one is awesome, and was the first time I thought that I might actually be able to do this thing!
  • Last but not least…. do a pull-up!

This took me many months of work (on and off) to accomplish, so be patient! It helps to have someone else watch every once in a while, too. I was shrugging one of my shoulders for a while without realizing it until Seth pointed it out to me. Once I was aware, I was able to even things out.

Here’s proof of me doing a pull-up. I probably should’ve put on some make-up or combed my hair, but I was so excited that I had to video it right away.

Proof: Eliz Did a Pull-Up! from Eliz1 on Vimeo.

Next step is to keep those legs from swinging around.  🙂

6 thoughts on “Pull-Up Progressions by Ron

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Thanks, Dave! It’s amazing, it took so long to get that first one, but now that I’ve got it, I’ve already done five today. Those progressions can be applied to all sorts of stuff. Love adding new stuff to the toolbox.

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