I am going back to gym after a long break. Even when I used to go regularly and work with a trainer I gained muscle and got in shape. But the only one thing impossible for me is the pull ups. My max is two reps. What exercises or technique can be suggested to improve this? My weight is 79kg and my height is 5 11. Thanks in advance.


2 Answers 2


A couple of years ago I went from 8 pullups to 24 pullups after getting an Iron Gym for my house and doing "Grease The Groove". Basically just do unplanned sets throughout the day when you're at home, but only do a few at a time so you're never tired. Do this alongside your normal gym routine, but this should never affect your gym recovery. Keep doing your normal gym routine.

Put the iron gym by your door. Don't plan your sets, just do them occasionally as you pass by. If 2 is your max now, start with just 1 pullup at a time. Do one in the morning before you leave house, one when you get home, and another sometime in the evening. You should never feel tired after and your lats shouldn't be sore. It's easy to get zealous on a weekend and do 10 sets, but that's not a good idea. If you feel sore, you're doing too much.

Do singles for a couple of weeks, then test your max and see if you're up to 3. Keep doing 1 pullup at a time, test your max once every week or so. When you get up to 5, start doing 2 reps at a time throughout the day.

In general, do sets that are a good 3-4 reps less than your max. So when you can do max of 6, you should be doing reps of 3. At 7 you can go to 4, etc. Test your max every 1-2 weeks. Over time you'll find your pullups steadily increase, and it will feel really easy and won't cut into your gym time.


People who can only do a small number of pull-ups in a set should focus on doing as many sets as possible of one-half their maximum reps. In this case, that means (2 reps / 2) = 1 rep per set. Take a good minute or two between sets to rest, walk around, and gently shake out your arms. Try to accumulate as many sets as possible with good full pull-up form. It's okay to take a few minutes between the last few sets if it makes a difference.

Then, once you can't do any more sets without excessive rest, switch to negatives: jump to the top, squeeze and hold, and lower yourself down as slowly as possible. Do five to ten of these the first workout you try it, and increase this number over time.

Improving pull-ups is a game of volume for people who are around normal weight and can't yet do 10-15 reps. Slowly increasing your total pull-ups done in a workout, in a day, in a week, and over months is the path to doing more pull-ups in a single set. Greasing the groove with single reps or few-rep sets throughout the day can help too. As always, make sure you're sleeping and eating to recover, with plenty of protein, carbs, and fat.

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