I'm trying to get better at pull-ups. Currently I can do 3-4 unassisted* pull-ups, but would like to be able to steadily 3x10 pull-ups. What's the best way to achieve this?

I attend a gym which grants me access to the following:

  • Pull-up bar
  • Rubber-bands for assisting in pulling up
  • Assisted pull-up machine
  • Lat pull-down
  • I can also use the bar for reverse push-ups (supine row?)
  • Potentially more...

Currently I just do unassisted pull-ups: 3 x 4-5. Would I be better using the assisted machine (where I can obviously do more) or using the rubber-bands to assist (where again, I can obviously do more), or should I avoid both and use the lat pull-down or supine row instead?

I read this question about assisted pull-ups about problems with the assisted pull-up machine, and truthfully had already heard it's a bad idea because it limits movement and one doesn't get a chance to use their balancing muscles.

I also read how to practice [sic] pull-ups without equipment and how to build up to a chin-up but this doesn't strictly apply because I can already do a pull-up, and I have access to equipment.

This question about increasing pull-up reps seems to focus exclusively on pull-ups with no attention to any other exercise involving back muscles.

The OP in this question seems like they're on a totally different level to me, as I want to work up to what they are already doing!

For completeness, this question about increasing pull-ups uses a machine I don't have access to (I go to the gym, I don't have a bar at home that I can practise on frequently. Also, I'm at work most of my day, and my colleagues probably won't appreciate me installing a bar and doing pull-ups while compiling code, but I'm open to the suggestion if it'll help).

* Although I'm not 100% sure on my form: perhaps I'm not lowering myself enough

  • If it has a pool, swimming, with concentrating as pulling as much water as you can with not only your hands, but with your arms. Crawl stroke/freestyle will work your lats very nicely. Aug 15, 2016 at 20:10

4 Answers 4


I just completed my 3×10 sets last week.

It took me no more than 3 weeks to achieve it, from not being able to do even 4 repetitions.

How I did it:

  1. Before you start your workout session (every workout session, no matter if it's chest, shoulders or back day), have a good warm up and stretch your arms.

  2. Try to do as many pull ups as you can, rest for 45 seconds, then go for it again. Just do it 3 times like normal sets.

Usually, this exercise would go this way for me: 4 reps in the first set, 4 in the second and 2-3 in the third one. This seems to be "disappointing and demotivational" comparing with the results you're seeking. But trust me, as soon as your back get used to this intensity, you'll be amazed by your progress; normally you'll just jump from the 4 reps to 10 in a week or in 10 days. The strength will come and the motivation to continue along with it.

That's it, just a little bit of effort and courage and you'll achieve and you'll surely achieve everything you are dreaming of.

  • And how many of these session did you do per week?
    – FDM
    Jan 29, 2016 at 7:07
  • 3 times, that's all because i don't have enough time for additional sessions (i have a very busy work) Feb 16, 2016 at 16:29

Doing 10 pullups is a lot different than doing 50 pullups. 10 pullups is a feat of strength, while 50 is more about endurance. It's quite easy to build up to 10 chinups and you can do so in a couple months (the other answers have already answered how). If you want to do more than say 20-30 then you have to focus on losing weight, pushing to max reps every time and doing chinups every day. The reason I mention this is because you mentioned a post about building up to 50 chinups.

One great workout that can help with chinups (other than doing chinups) is one arm rows with dumbells.


No better way to get better at an exercise that doing that exercise. I would only advise using rubber bands as assistance or doing negatives if you can't do a single pull-up. Since you can do several, keep at it and you will get better.


Go to "A Shot of Adrenaline" and the sites under it's umbrella. One major way to increase pull up ability is to simply get the form right. Most people think it's all in the arms, but it's equally in the back. The articles will explain all of this way better than I possibly can. Check out Todd Kuslikis' stuff.

  • You should link the website here and if possible cite any relevant information in regards to OP's question.
    – Aizul
    Feb 5, 2016 at 7:32

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