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5 Ways to Get Better At Pull-Ups WITHOUT Working On Pull-Ups!

Posted by: Emily Beers

I've always been a better pusher than a puller. When it comes to strict pulling work, my lats just don't seem to want to work as much as they should.

Although strict pull-ups will never feel as natural to me as handstand push-ups, my strict pull-ups started improving when I began pulling in other ways—when I started following a systematic pulling routine.

Things that have, and continue to help me, on my journey to building strict pull-ups include:

5. Accessory Work

Lots and lots of accessory work, such as banded pulling work really helps.  This allows you to log a ton of reps, even when you've done a lot of pulling already that day.

4. Ring Rows:

I used to think ring rows were just an 'easier' progression for strict pull-ups. Adding ring row variations to my program, though, quickly showed me this wasn't true. Instead, improving horizontal pulling during ring rows and ring hinges translated into improved vertical pulling.


3. Old School Strength:

Re-introducing movements, such as bentover rows, has also proven successful in building strength.

2. Tempo:

One of the most important aspects of a pulling program is to include different prescribed tempos to all of the above movements.


1. Lat Activation Creativity:

Finding new, interesting ways to engage the lats and make them fire like never before — such as during rope pull-ups and lever progressions - has been another key.

 If you're interested in improving all things pulling — pull-ups, rope climbs, muscle-ups — reach out: Emily Beers

Posted by Emily Beers on

Emily Beers, hailing from Vancouver, crosses bridges by being not only a CrossFit athlete, but also a journalist. She has been a regular contributor to the CrossFit Journal since 2011. She qualified and competed at her first CrossFit Games as an individual athlete in 2014.

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