Back Exercises

Perfect Your Pull-Up Form Using Bands

Get creative and learn how to execute this exercise.

Perfect Your Pull-Up Form Using Bands

The Problem

You can’t do a single, solitary pullup. You want to, you know you should be able to, and you envy people who can snap off rep after rep like it’s nothing, but you still can’t get your chin over the bar.

The Solution

Reduce your degree of difficulty and make consistent progress every week by putting elastic strength bands to work. Performing this move in a power rack with bands strung across the spotter bars or J-hooks starts you out with resistance you can handle, then makes things harder each week as you progress. The key to this setup is the power rack. It's adjustable, which allows you to start with an easy—higher on the rack—resistance, moving down a position each week until you’re able to perform the exercise without help.

How to do it

  1. Set the bands across the spotter bars or J-hooks so they’re slightly behind the crossbar you’ll be hanging from, then bend the knee of one leg so the dorsum (top) of your foot is supported by the band.
  2. Make progress each week. Try for three sets of 10 from the appropriate band position. The following week, lower the band and repeat.
  3. Look up from the bottom of the move to the top. Keep your eyes on the prize: the bar over which you’ll need to get your chin.
  4. Leg position- Bend your knees and contract your glutes. This will keep your body in one piece and minimize unnecessary movement.
  5. Switch your grips- Go wide, narrow, underhand, and overhand. Learning to pull yourself up from a variety of positions will make you stronger.