Pull-ups are a great exercise for the upper body. They will train the grip, biceps, lats, and core musculature. Adding capacity and strength in pull-ups inevitably translates to an increase in overall fitness. Whether you are trying to win the CrossFit Games or just look good naked, pull-ups should be a cornerstone of your program. For many, just getting that first pull-up is a big deal, and most people are still working on adding capacity and proficiency. If you are looking to improve on this movement, here is a special pull-up program, that has helped me.

This program is short, it can be done as accessory work before or after your workout 3x/week. It focuses on pull-up strength, volume, and a variety of moves to work on mechanical weaknesses.

Monday/Day 1:

“Pull-Up Strength”

  • 5×3 Weighted Pull-up
  • 150 KB Swings

Wednesday/Day 2:

“Pull-Up Volume”

  • 10 sets of 5-7 reps: Multi Grip Pull-Ups (Alternate between narrow, wide, switch right, switch left, and underhand grip – use band if necessary)
  • 100 Ring Rows as challenging as possible

Friday/ Day 3:


  • 5×5 Pull-up negative, slow and controlled
  • 3×8 Chinese Row
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls 3×10 Heavy as possible

Getting Warmed Up:

Warm-up for these day by doing 3 sets of 10 pass throughs with the PVC pipe. Grab a band and open up your shoulder with some banded shoulder stretches. Get your grip, shoulders and back primed by hanging from a bar and pulling retracting your shoulders down 10 times. Practice 10 kipping swings keeping your body long and tight and swinging from the shoulder.

Taking Care of Your Hands:

Hands tend to rip and need to toughen up. Ditch the workout gloves and wraps. They just make your hands more susceptible to tears because keep your skin from thickening and you will probably ditch them in the middle of the workout because they compromise your grip. File your calluses down. This will keep the bar from having a thick chuck to pull on and keep you from tearing. If you tear, don’t freak out. Tears take 1 or 2 days to come back from. To treat them, clean your hands with cold water immediately. If you are going to be touching stuff and the tear is wet, cover it. Otherwise let it get as much air as possible and cover it with Neosporin at night.