Get Ready to Master the Pull-Up With This Effective Bodyweight Exercise

POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

If you can't tell by now, my goal is to help you all (especially women) learn how to do pull-ups. In my opinion, the best way to learn how to do pull-ups is by just doing them. I know that sounds a lot easier than actually doing it, especially if you don't have a foundation of strength.

As you work on your upper-body strength, one move you can begin practicing is the scapular pull-up. This exercise will teach you how to depress your shoulder blades (moving your shoulder blades down your ribs), the first step to performing a pull-up. You can do this with a partner supporting your lower body if you're a beginner or alone if you're more advanced.

How to Do a Scapular 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.
  • With control, remove your feet from the bench, and hang from the bar. Your shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Without bending your arms or swinging, perform a reverse shrug to depress your shoulder blades. Pause for a second at the bottom, then return your shoulders to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete two sets of 10 reps.