I remember a time for many years at the gym where I could not do pull-ups and because I would struggle to do a couple this was something that I neglected for years.

But then I came across advice on how to do more pull-ups and this got me able to do more than a pathetic two pull-ups.  So whether you were hopeless like me or on a plateau where you can’t seem to improve try this:

The Pull-Rest-Pull Method

Firstly you’ll need a stop watch, set it to go for a minute.  Do as many pull-ups as you can in that minute, resting as needed, it doesn’t matter how many you can do in a row, but how many you can fit into that minute.

So when I could only do two I did that, stopped, rested and stretched for 10 to 20 seconds, then did more, rested, repeat, until the minute was up.  Doing it this way I only did about 4 or 5, but that was more than I had previously done!

I would then rest for a minute, this would give me a bit of energy for the next minute.  Do the same trying to get as many out as possible.

Rest again for another minute and do a final set.

If you are giving it your all the 1st minute should have the most pullups and the 5th minute should have the least pull-ups.  So as below this is what the routine is:

1st Minute Pull-ups
2nd Minute Rest
3rd Minute Pull-ups
4th Minute Rest
5th Minute Pull-ups

You can do this using a variaty of pull-up techniques. Check out the ones below:

Shoulder Pull-ups

Using Biceps

Some tips on getting the most from this:

  • During the last 10 seconds of each set, if you are not still doing pull-ups jump up to try and get one more out, controlling the movement downwards – this is called a cheat rep.
  • To make it harder or easier alter how far you allow your body to drop down, if you do a longer range motion you will feel a more wider range of muscles working.
  • Vary with different pull-ups each time you train (Hint: there are may different grips to give you different ways of doing a pull-up)
  • If you can’t do pull-ups at all try this.  Pull up one of those aerobic steps and jump into each pull up you do, leaving a short pull-up at the end.  Most of the momentum will build up from the jump (see video below)
  • In a few weeks you will hopefully see improvement!

Doing pull-ups with a jump

Here is what I have improved after a two months of training doing standard pull-ups:


1st Minute 6
2nd Minute Rest
3rd Minute 4
4th Minute Rest
5th Minute 3


1st Minute 18
2nd Minute Rest
3rd Minute 13
4th Minute Rest
5th Minute 8

Give it a go and see how you get on!

For this article I used Pullupszone to show the different methods of doing a pullup.

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