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The One-Month-Long Beginner Pull-Up Program

Get your first pull-up or blast through plateaus with this month-long pull-up program by Physio Flex Pro.

If the deadlift is the ultimate test of pure strength, then the pull-up is the Olympic qualifier for your functional strength. To do a pull-up, you need to be both mobile, stable, and strong enough to pull up your own bodyweight. Also, if you’re ever dangling from the edge of a cliff (we hope not, but, hey, stuff happens), deadlifts aren’t going to do you much good. 

The main issue with pull-ups is that there are so many issues with pull-ups. You need a certain amount of overhead mobility to get into a dead hang position and the stability to keep your body in line while you pull up. That’s to say nothing of the sheer strength you need. And for safety’s sake, you’ve got to do all of that with strict form.

Three bottles of Physio Flex Pro sit on a black table.

To build up to your first pull-up — or to reach the next level of your pull-up game — your training and recovery both need to be on point. Our one-month pull-up training program for beginners can help you build the strength, and joint health supplement Physio Flex Pro can help keep your joints in good working order. Read on if you’re ready to stop dreaming about pull-ups and start getting your chin over that bar.

Editor’s Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When starting a new training regimen and/or diet, it is always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional. We are not a medical resource. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. They are not substitutes for consulting a qualified medical professional.

How Physio Flex Pro Can Help You Do Pull-Ups

Learning to perform a strict pull-up isn’t just about strength. It’s also about technique and enhancing overhead mobility and stability. Ideally, your form would be excellent the whole way through, but it’s likely that you might have a few form mishaps before you get it right.

Even if you’re doing everything according to spec, learning to do pull-ups introduces new ranges of motion and demands on your shoulder and elbow joints. Because of this big learning curve for your body, you’ll want to give yourself all the advantages you can. That means locking in your recovery and paying extra attention to your joint health. Enter Physio Flex Pro.

Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support
Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support
Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support

This joint health supplement is packed with the turmeric extract, ginger extract, bromelain, and glucosamine that you need to keep those joints in working order.

Physio Flex Pro is designed to give your joints all the support they need to help you bust out pull-ups — from your first rep through the most intense sets. This joint supplement boasts ingredients like turmeric extract, ginger extract, bromelain, and glucosamine, which have been shown to help athletes boost recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and directly support cartilage and joint health. (1)(2)(3)(4)

These are benefits you’ll want in your back pocket — or rather, in your supplement stack — when it comes time to build up to your first pull-up. But how, exactly, do you do that? Let’s get into it.

BarBend’s Pull-Up Program Video

If you’re a visual learner, we’ve got a treat for you. Here’s another great pull-up program option geared towards beginners. It involves minimal equipment and is an approachable starting point for anyone hoping to nail their first pull-up.

One-Month Pull-Up Training Program

You’ve been trying for years to accomplish your first pull-up. Can you really do it in a month? Well, yes. We believe you can. The program below is a month-long, three-day-per-week plan to help beginners achieve their first pull-up. 

While this program is geared towards beginners, more experienced lifters can use it to break through pull-up plateaus and to accompany their back training.

A gif demonstrates the different components of the Physio Flex Pro one-month pull-up program.

Perform each of the three workouts below every week — with at least a day of rest between each — for four weeks. Each workout consists of three to four exercises, totaling about 30 minutes per workout. Progressions can be done using a heavier load. Challenge yourself to add weight each week, yet not so much that you can’t feel the back muscles working.

Day One

  • Dead Hang: 4 x 30 seconds*
  • Isometric Pull-Up Hold: 4 x 10 seconds**
  • Inverted Barbell Row: 4 x 5
  • Lat Pulldown: 4 x 6-8

* If you are using this program to progress or bust through a plateau, feel free to add weight using weight plates and a dip belt

** If you aren’t yet able to hold a dead hang for 30 seconds or a pull-up hold for 10 seconds, start with smaller time increments and build up slowly.

Rest from 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Day Two

  • Towel-Grip Dead Hang: 4 x 30 seconds
  • Eccentric Pull-Up: 4 x 5
  • Band-Assisted Pull-Up: 4 x 5
  • Supinated-Grip Dumbbell Bench-Supported Row: 4 x 8-10

Rest from 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Day Three

  • Fat-Grip Dead Hang: 4 x 30 seconds
  • Band-Assisted 1 ½ Pull-Up: 4 x 3-5
  • Lat Pulldown: 4 x 8-10
  • Seal Row: 4 x 8-10

Rest from 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

How to Do the Perfect Pull-Up

From newbies to gym veterans, here are the steps you need to know when performing a strict pull-up.

  • Find the Right Grip: Grip the bar with both hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Have your palms facing away from you. You can vary this based on your goal. However, you generally want to master the pull-up with this grip before taking a wider or narrower grip. When you are set up, think about getting as much of your palm on top of the bar as possible. Apply pressure with your pinky into the pull-up bar, which will help you engage the lats more.
  • Start From a Dead Hang: Unless you’re performing eccentric pull-ups, start your pull-ups in the dead hang position — with your arms fully extended and feet off the ground. 
  • Stabilize Your Core and Set Your Shoulders: Before doing a rep, pull your belly button inwards, brace your core from all sides, and pull your shoulders down away from your ears. This specific position will ensure that you’re pulling with mainly your lats and not engaging your traps or arms more than you need to. 
  • Elbows and Pinkies to Your Hips: By thinking of applying pressure to the bar through the pinkies, you can increase lat engagement. Make sure your knuckles stay on top of the bar and pretend that you’re driving your elbows to your hips through your pinkies.
  • Pause at the Top, Lower Under Control, and Repeat: Once you get to the top of the pull-up, be sure to lean back slightly and hold yourself briefly, flexing your back muscles. Then, lower yourself slowly as you feel the stretch in the lats. Lowering yourself downward under control is a great way to increase muscle growth — this is called the eccentric training phase of the movement.

Benefits of the Pull-Up

When done correctly and not in excess, pull-ups are one of the most beneficial exercises for upper body strength and back growth. Here are just some of the reasons they’re so awesome.

Build Bigger, Stronger Back

The pull-up is an effective exercise to increase back strength and muscle hypertrophy. Pull-ups can also improve the width of a person’s back muscles. This is true for beginners and advanced lifters alike, as you can provide progressive overload with increasing weight via a weight belt, increasing repetitions of the movement, or decreasing the amount of band assistance.

Strengthen Your Other Lifts

The back muscles trained by pull-ups can play a large role in carryover to improvements across other lifts. For example, building stronger lats and traps using pull-ups can have indirect carryover to squats and deadlifts, as these muscles are crucial for their success. 

Boost Your Confidence

Setting a personal record feels pretty incredible with basically any lift. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of nailing your first pull-up. This exercise is a huge confidence-builder and is a fantastic tool for tracking upper body strength and progress.

Pull-ups are the ultimate way to level up — mastering the pull-up allows you to unlock a whole new level of fitness and strength both in and out out of the gym.

Common Pull-Up Injuries (and How to Avoid Them)

Pull-ups are an extremely effective strength- and muscle-builder and can even serve as a rehabilitation exercise due to the way the overhead stability demands they place on lifters. (5) Increased shoulder stability strengthens the muscles that keep the shoulder joints healthy, helping lifters come back from injuries and potentially making them more resilient against new injuries.

However, while pull-ups are far from inherently dangerous, there is a risk of shoulder joint injuries when you’re training overhead. (6)(7)

It’s important to avoid returning to training too early after an injury to prevent exacerbating your pain. (6) However, whether you’ve been recently cleared to return to pull-ups or are just hoping to avoid any shoulder pain from chronic overhead exercise, there are some critical ways to avoid common pull-up injuries.

Shoulder Impingement

To perform a proper pull-up, you need to take the movement through a complete range of motion. An extended range of motion can also expose you to increased pressure in your shoulder joints, which can increase your risk of a shoulder impingement injury. (8) This happens when your shoulder blade continually rubs against your rotator cuff, and it can make overhead movements very painful.

Only progress your pull-up (or any overhead movement) when you’re ready to do so. Overhead exercises are not moves where you want to rush or push through sharp pain. Maintain strict and excellent form and take adequate rest, both in between sets and in between training sessions.

Anti-inflammatories are a common treatment for painful impingements. And ensuring that your supplement stack has its share of anti-inflammatories — like the curcumin found in turmeric — may also contribute to reduced inflammation, increase muscle recovery, and decrease pain and muscle damage. (1)

Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support
Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support
Physio Flex Pro Total Joint Support

This joint health supplement is packed with the turmeric extract, ginger extract, bromelain, and glucosamine that you need to keep those joints in working order.

To make sure you’re maximizing your pull-up game, each serving of Physio Flex Pro contains 200 milligrams of turmeric extract. This is formulated to help you continue performing moves — like pull-ups — while helping to protect your joints.

Physio Flex Pro also offers 500 milligrams of glucosamine per serving. Research suggests that this amino sugar can help shield athletes’ joints by bolstering cartilage metabolism. (4) The more robust your cartilage health, the more robust your joint health — and healthier joints may have less trouble with impingement pain. That means you can keep pulling up longer and healthier.

Scapular Dyskinesis

Scapular dyskinesis happens when your scapula isn’t moving as expected when you move your shoulder, limiting your range of motion and become quite painful. For athletes who experience a lot of overhead work, scapular dyskinesis can be all too common. (6

Conduct a complete warm-up before diving into your pull-up sessions. Focus on your mobility training as much as you’re focusing on your strength. To help you do those mobility sessions safely in between intense training sessions, Physio Flex Pro contains 250 milligrams of ginger extract per serving, which can help accelerate the recovery of your muscle strength between bouts of intense exercise. (2)

Physio Flex Pro’s 200 milligrams of turmeric extract per serving may also be able to help ease the pain, inflammation, and potential muscle damage from causes like scapular dyskinesis. (1) This can help you get back to the pull-up bar faster, stronger, and with a better range of motion.

Injuries From Strength Imbalances

If you’re not altering your grip angles or are neglecting key — but small — muscles that play a roll in pull-ups (like your forearms and biceps), you may be more prone to a wide array of injuries during overhead training. (7)

Consistently training with only one grip might favor — for example — your front delts to the detriment of your rear delts. Similarly, building up your lat strength is definitely crucial for learning to do your first pull-up. But neglecting the need to strengthen your biceps and forearms too might lead to imbalances that can cause you to overcompensate during training. 

These kinds of overcompensations can lead to an array of injuries. (7) To ensure that you’re not accidentally overcompensating for weaknesses or imbalances while you do your pull-up training, make sure your program is holistic. 

A gif demonstrates the components of Physio Flex Pro's joint support supplement.

Include sufficient warm-ups, unilateral work, and accessory exercises focusing on potentially neglected muscles like your rear delts, serratus anterior, biceps, and forearms. Physio Pro Flex may be able to help you recover from all that training so you can maintain the commitment you need to keep those gains coming. 

With 300 milligrams of the enzyme bromelain per serving, you may feel less fatigued between training sessions. (3) This can help you stay focused on the task at hand — mastering the pull-up — instead of getting stymied by stumbling blocks.

What to Do If You Cannot Do Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are hard, and there’s no need to feel embarrassed if you can’t do one yet. 

First, you’ll want to make sure you have enough overhead mobility and stability work in your routine to support your pull-up goals. Include plenty of shoulder-friendly mobility exercises and activation moves in your warm-ups — think mini-band overhead reaches, crab reaches, and lateral plank walks.

Once you’ve integrated these mobility and stability-based moves into your routine, it’s time to focus on strength. You’ll need to strengthen your back and work to improve overhead mobility and stability with relatively accessible back exercises

Below, we go over a handful of variations and alternatives that will help you build up the strength to do your first pull-up. Keep grinding away with these back-building movements, and then try to do a pull-up every so often. Eventually, you’ll get a rep. 

Pull-Up Variations

One of the most discouraging things about trying to get your first pull-up is that it always seems so far away. But each of these pull-up variations constitutes an accomplishment of its own. Celebrate these milestones on your journey, too.

Band-Assisted Pull-Up

A band-assisted pull-up is a great option if you cannot perform a strict pull-up. However, they’re usually performed incorrectly. Common faults, such as body swinging (lack of body tension), sloppy repetitions, and lack of muscular control with your lats at the top and throughout the movement, can all lead to stalled results. 

At first, feel free to use the band to give you confidence as you hone in on your technique. But then make sure to use progressively lighter bands to make sure you’re getting stronger. If you’re struggling to reach your last two or three reps, that’s when you’re really starting to build the strength you need to advance.

Isometric Pull-Up Hold

Isometrics pull-up holds increase muscular strength necessary for pull-ups, as they can help increase force output and tension at specific areas of weakness (such as at the top, middle, or bottom of the movement). 

Find the weak spot in your pull-up, jump to that position, and hold there either for a set amount of time or simply for as long as you can. Remember to breathe during your hold.

Eccentric Pull-Up

Training the pull-up’s eccentric phase boosts muscle growth and strength for beginners who struggle to master the pull-up. To do this, start at the top of the movement — you can jump into position — and then lower under control for five to 10 seconds. Once you are at the full lockout position, jump back up and repeat.

If you don’t have the strength or muscular endurance to perform eccentric pull-ups slowly enough to count seconds, feel free to perform this move with an assistance band. Gradually decrease your reliance on the bands as your strength and stamina increase.

Jumping Pull-Up

The jumping pull-up will give you experience with high rep pull-ups even if you can’t do a strict pull-up yet. This can help a lot when you’re trying to develop muscle endurance in your back and grip

By jumping, you can deliberately deploy momentum to help you complete the pull-up. This leaves you freer to focus on the eccentric component. You can also adjust how high you jump to start bridging the gap between jumping pull-ups and strict pull-ups.


Many lifters will be able to nail a chin-up before they can do a pull-up, primarily because your arms can help a bit more here.

While the chin-up can be a great movement for building serious upper body pulling strength, it is important to do it correctly, not overuse it, and not neglect pull-ups.

Pull-Up Alternatives

Just because they’re pull-up alternatives doesn’t mean they’re shoddy. You’ll find some of the best back-builders in existence on this list. Use them to increase back strength, pull-up muscle endurance, and grip strength.

Dumbbell Row

The dumbbell row is a unilateral back exercise that lifters of all levels can — and probably should — perform.

This move will increase grip and back strength and endurance while simultaneously combating any strength or muscle imbalances between the different sides of your body.

Barbell Row

The barbell row is a classic back strengthening exercise used by nearly every bodybuilder, strength athlete, and recreational lifter.

While not done at the same angle as the pull-up, this move — also known as the bent-over row — allows you to move heavy loads from a hinged position. 

Lat Pulldown

Machine-based exercises like the lat pulldown allow you to isolate the specific muscle groups needed to perform a pull-up. While band pull-up variations and isometrics are key, machine-based training will allow a beginner to add more loading to stress their muscle fibers.

This training stress can create greater muscular damage without being limited by grip strength, body control, or general total body fatigue. This leads to stronger lats, which can help lead to your first pull-up.

Suspension Row

Suspension rows can be done on the rings or a TRX suspension trainer. You’ll increase upper back strength, body awareness, and grip strength — all of which necessary for the pull-up. Using the suspension row, you can quickly adjust the difficulty of the movement for all levels in between sets or even during a set.

Seal Row

The seal row is a barbell row alternative that is great for beginners and advanced lifters alike. If you’re on the quest for a bigger, stronger back, this one’s for you. The seal row does not require you to support your body in the bent-over position.

This can help beginners who may not have good posture control and cannot train their back hard enough due to a lack of experience with maintaining an isometric hinge. The seal row also helps add extra back training for lifters who may have lower back issues or fatigue (especially after squats or deadlifts). 

Seal rows also limit the amount of momentum that can be used to move the load — all equating to major increases in back strength and isolation.

Begin Your Pull

If you want to do a pull-up, you’re both ambitious and brave. This is a move that requires a solid combination of confidence, strength, mobility, and a whole lot of finesse. Laying the foundation for your first pull-up can feel like an endless and impossible task. 

But don’t give up — with focused training, dialed-in recovery, and perhaps even the help of a joint health supplement like Physio Flex Pro, your first pull-up will happen. And then there will be a second, and a third… and you’ll just keep pulling.


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  2. Matsumura MD, Zavorsky GS, Smoliga JM. The Effects of Pre-Exercise Ginger Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):887-93.
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