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How to Do a Negative Pull-Up

This Is the Exercise You Need to Start Doing If You Want to Conquer Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are one of those exercises people despise doing, but deep down inside, being able to do them sparks joy, in the words of Marie Kondo. If you still haven't crossed "do five pull-ups" off your list of fitness goals, I've got your back.

You absolutely have to work on your upper-body strength (practice and consistency is imperative), but you've also got to simulate the movement. Pulling movements like single-arm rows and lat pull-downs are great, but once you've gotten your strength foundation, you need to progress the exercises you're doing. One move I've found to be extremely helpful when teaching people how to do pull-ups is the negative pull-up.

It's the last part of the pull-up where you lower your body down (also known as an eccentric contraction), and it will help you further develop your strength and get you acclimated to what a pull-up should feel like. You more than likely won't master a pull-up in two weeks, but with the addition of this move, you'll be one step closer to reaching your goal.

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How to Do a Negative Pull-Up

  • Place a bench, box, or another stable object underneath the pull-up bar. Stand on top of the bench and grip the pull-up bar with both hands. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your palms should be facing away from your body.
  • Jump up off the bench and pull yourself up. If you can, try to get your chin above the bar. This is your starting position.
  • With control, slowly lower your body down for three counts or until your arms are fully extended. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete three sets of five reps.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett
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