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How to go from 0 to 10 pull ups quickly

How to Go from 0 to 10 Pull Ups Quicker (How I did it)

I don’t think there’s anything more aesthetically pleasing to look at than someone doing strict, proper form pull ups. 

Everyone envies the guy at the park with the aesthetic physique who seems to do it effortlessly. 

You probably want to learn those same moves, or you want to grow a wider back, so you go to the gym or a park…in search of a pull-up bar.

You attempt to do a pull up and realize you can only do a..single..rep. Or worse, you can’t even lift yourself up. 

The “You” I’m referring to is actually me and a lot of people out there.

Pull ups are difficult, and unlike push-ups, where you lift your body up with your feet on the ground, pull-ups require you to lift your whole weight up. 

That is difficult, and it’s okay. 

Everyone you see doing 10–20 reps of pull-ups starts where you are right now. 

They aren’t stronger or more skilled than you; they just have one thing over you: time. 

They’ve put in the time to build the strength and proper form. So, there’s no secret or mystery; you just need to be consistent. 

All that being said, I’ll take you through the steps I followed to reach 10 pull ups per set. The exercises, routine, and timeframe it took to get there. 

Picking Your Pull Up Strengthening Exercises

When you get started doing pull-ups, due to the low to nonexistent number of reps you can perform, you won’t be able to get much practice in. 

I mean, how does someone practice when they can only do 0–2 reps? 

You need to add exercises that will help build up strength to increase your pull up numbers. 

Here are the only 3 exercises you will need to go from 0 to 10 pull ups: 

Dead Hangs (for grip strength)

Dead hangs

The first thing I realized when I started learning the pull up was that I didn’t even have enough grip strength to hold onto the bar for the time it would take to perform 10–20 pull ups. 

This is where dead hangs come in. 

This exercise helps you build the grip strength required to hold onto the bar for longer durations. It’s pretty easy to perform; here are some quick steps:

  • Stand under the bar in your pull-up position.
  • Jump and hold the bar with your arms shoulder-width apart.
  • Then hang for as long as you can. 

Once you’re able to do 5 straight reps of pull ups, you won’t need this exercise as much. 

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, perform hanging leg raises when you’re training your abs. This exercise targets your lower abs while you hang, essentially training both your abs and grip strength. 

Check out: 7 Great Ways Jumping Pull Ups Can Benefit YOU 

Negative Pull ups (holding strength)

Negative pull ups

Negative pull ups are where the pull up strength is built. This exercise helps you build pull up strength by holding yourself under tension at the peak of the pull up form. 

The peak of the pull up form is the position when you’ve lifted your body up and your arms are at 90 degrees. 

I saw an increase in my pull up numbers when I started adding negative pull ups after I couldn’t do anymore pull-ups. 

Here’s how to perform negative pull ups: 

  • Get a bench and place it under the bar. You want the bench to be high enough that your head is close to the bar.
  • Climb the bench and hold the bar, then jump into the pull up position.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can, then slowly descend. 

Think of this exercise as an assisted progression to the pull ups that will help you increase your pull up strength.  

Lat Pulldowns (pull up strength)

People argue which exercise is better for building a wider back: lat pulldowns or pull-ups? It’s a clear-cut decision that pull ups are king. 

Related: Are Pull Ups Enough for Lats? How I Grew My Lats in 60 Days

I even argue that if you can do 10 clean pull ups, you don’t need to waste your time doing pull-downs. 

However, on your road to 10+ pull ups, lat pull-downs are essential. They help you progress when you can’t do any more pull ups. 

Instead of stopping after doing 4 sets of 1-rep pull ups, do some lat pull-downs right after. 

Here’s a video on how to do a proper lat pulldown: 

That’s it—three exercises that will help you get better at pull ups and increase your pull up strength. 

Now, you need a pull up training routine.  

Related: Are Muscle Ups TRULY Impressive or Just Gym Hype?

0–10 Pull ups Training Routine and Sets

Routines are very personal; I don’t believe in one size fits all for most things. 

Your routine will differ depending on how quick you want to learn the pull up or how much time you have for workouts in a week. 

For me, building my lats was and still is at the top of my list of muscle priorities, so I practice pull ups every day that I go to the gym. 

Here’s the routine I used as a benchmark 🙂

Day 14 Sets of Pull ups to failure, 3 Sets of Dead hangs to failure, 4 Sets of Lat pulldowns (10–12 Reps)
Day 24 Sets of Pull ups to failure, 3 Sets of Negative pull ups, 4 Sets of Lat pulldowns (10–12 Reps)
Day 34 Sets of Pull ups to failure, 4 Sets of Lat pulldowns (10–12 Reps)
Day 44 Sets of Pull ups to failure, 2 Sets of Dead hangs to failure, 2 Sets of Negative pull ups, 4 Sets of Lat pulldowns (10–12 Reps)

“To failure” means “to your limit.” So, if your limit is 1 rep, then that’s your failure. 

I followed this routine and my pull up numbers started adding up quicker than if I only did sets of 1-2 pull ups. 

To be frank, I didn’t follow this routine perfectly, so you don’t have too either. Just try to show up, do as much as you can, and you’ll see progress. 

Man doing pull ups

How long will it take to go from 0 to 10 Pull ups? 

How long it will take to get to 10 pull ups varies based on factors such as age, weight, and current arm strength. 

Younger people carry their weight easier because they don’t weigh much; the heavier you are, the more weight you have to pull up, and the stronger your other muscle groups, such as your bicep, the quicker you may advance. 

It took me 6 months to go from 2 pull ups to 10 and that’s because I could already do 2 pull ups. Going from 0-10 pull ups is a lot harder than going from 3-10 pull ups. 

The average length it will take a person to go from 0 to 10 pull ups is between 9 and 12 months. This is assuming you are of average weight and don’t train consistently. 

However, if you do train consistently, you may get to 10 pull ups a lot quicker. 

You know the exercises you need, and you have a routine to follow. You’re already on the right path to success. 

Before we go our separate ways, you need to know that, before anything else, consistency is key. 

Even if you don’t do things perfectly, as long as you show up week after week, you will eventually hit the golden 10 Pull ups!

Faysal Tahir
Faysal Tahir
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