Sep 16th, 2013
Author: Mike Minium
This is Part 2 of the video series; make sure you catch Part 1 here
As many of you chasing your first pull-up already know, we’re big fans of working the negative as a primary means to train for getting your first pull-up. This is ideal if you’re strong enough to control your descent and you can engage the correct muscles (the lats and the biceps–not the traps).
What do you do if you can’t control the descent on the negative? Your best bet is to do just like in the video above: work the negative with support from your legs (just enough to control your descent, but not so much to shift all of the work to the legs). Make sure you start with just negatives, and not too many of them (3-5 total reps is about right when starting out). Don’t worry about working the concentric (up) part initially when working on the box.
Once you can control the descent without the use of the legs on the box (and you’re using the correct muscles to do so), you can then progress to working the negative without the box, and from there, a strict pull-up is not too far behind. And of course, you can combine the negative of the pull-up with the leg-assisted upstroke of the pull-up as well, just as in the video above.
(You can also use a partner to assist you, when practicing the pull-up from the dead hang.)
Both videos come courtesy of the Physio Detective, which is a great resource for CrossFitters. The Physio Detective himself, Anthony Lo, lays out his two-part pull-up progression in a couple of blog posts. He even lays out some programming. Make sure you heed his warning about keeping the volume low.
I highly recommend reading both his posts on the pull-up progression, rather than just watching the videos.