Check out this 8 week pull-up challenge to build impressive muscle, skill and strength. This is recommended for beginners and advanced athletes altogether.

The pull-up is a close kinetic chain exercise, this means that the hands are fixed on a surface and the body moves.

The pull-up bar can play both the role of a trusted ally and a formidable adversary. While the conventional pull-up stands as an exemplary upper-body calisthenics exercise, it also holds the reputation of being one of the most challenging to master. Achieving a continuous set of 10 or 20 repetitions can prove daunting for some, but even beginners can benefit from modified variations of the exercise until they are prepared to progress to more demanding manoeuvres.

Traditional pull-ups yield remarkable advantages in cultivating upper body strength, contributing to:

  • Enhanced upper body strength: Pull-ups predominantly engage the muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms, fostering skill and strength development in these regions.
  • Improved grip strength: As the exercise necessitates gripping the bar, it effectively enhances your grip strength.
  • Enhanced posture: Pull-ups have the potential to ameliorate your posture by fortifying the muscles in your back and shoulders, aiding in maintaining proper alignment.
  • Heightened core stability: The execution of pull-ups mandates core muscle engagement to uphold correct form, thereby promoting overall core stability.
  • Elevated cardiovascular endurance: Engaging in multiple sets of pull-ups can elevate your heart rate and serve as a cardiovascular endurance challenge.
  • Versatility: Pull-ups offer flexibility through various grip positions and adaptable modifications suited to diverse fitness levels, rendering them a versatile workout.
  • Accessibility: The simplicity of performing pull-ups with a basic bar or even a tree branch ensures their feasibility anywhere you choose.

Best Benefits of Pull-Ups

Source: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Regardless of whether you can do one, 5 or 20 pull-ups in a row, this 8 week pull-up challenge will help you get better at it, fitter, more athletic, and improve your health altogether.

This challenge was created by Alex Lorenz. Alex Lorenz is the co-founder of Calisthenic Movement and has trained Calisthenics since 2012, uploading videos regularly for those people interested in getting in shape using only their body weight.

6 Steps to Get Your First Pull-Up

The 8 Week Pull-Up Challenge to Build Impressive Muscle, Skill and Strength

Before we get into the 8-week pull-up challenge, you should be able to do 3 pull-ups or more. If you can’t, you should choose one of the options below to help you begin this challenge:

  • Band-assisted pull-ups
  • Fee-assisted pull-ups
  • Negative pull-ups

You don’t need to stick to only one of these variations for the entire challenge. You can switch between them from one session to the next one.

On the other hand, if you are an advanced athlete, you can do pull-ups with extra weight. You can also change your grip for this pull-up challenge – traditional pull-ups are done with an overhand grip (focusing on the brachioradialis), underhand grips focus on the biceps (chin-ups), and a neutral grip is a good all-rounder that targets your brachialis more.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels
Pull-up with a neutral grip

How to Massively Improve Your Pull-Ups Quickly

The 8 week pull-up challenge created by Alex Lorenz is divided into three. For the following 8 weeks, you switch between them as you like. “How many days a week you should do the challenge depends on your level and experience.”

For beginners, you should aim for 3 sessions a week, while more advanced people could train up to 5 days.

Workout A

In this workout, you have to multiply the maximum amount of pull-ups you can do without taking a break to 5.

For example, if you are able to do 5 pull-ups without letting go of the bar, multiply that number by 5 and you get 25. In this case, you will have to do 25 pull-ups in total in a session. If you can do 10 unbroken pull-ups, you should do 50 pull-ups in a training session.

The objective is to reach that number in the least amount of time possible. Do that by doing as many reps as possible, and when it gets hard, stop while you can still have one or two reps in the tank. Rest a little bit and go back to the pull-ups.

Workout B

In this workout, you will do 5 sets of paused pull-ups.

  • Add 2-second pause at 90-degree elbow position
  • Add 2-second pause at the top of the movement
  • Let yourself down normally
  • Repeat the process

Choose a variation of the pull-up that allows you to do 3-8 reps with 2-3 minutes of rest between the sets.

Workout C

This is a pull-up pyramid style.

  • Start with 1 pull-up
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Add another pull-up
  • Add 20 seconds to the rest
  • Add another pull-up and so on

The higher the amount of reps you do, the higher the amount of rest you will need. “The goal is to reach as many reps as possible.”

You can also do this pyramid scheme going up and down with the number of reps, or simply go up as high as possible, even if it means you are resting 4 minutes between one set and the next one.

For a full understanding of the 8 week pull-up challenge created by Alex Lorenz, watch the video below.

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What Muscles Do Pull-Ups Work?

Pull-ups primarily work the following muscle groups:

  1. Latissimus Dorsi: Also known as the “lats,” these are the large muscles in your back that are responsible for the pulling motion during the exercise.
  2. Biceps: The biceps, located on the front of the upper arm, are also activated during pull-ups and assist in the pulling motion.
  3. Forearms: The muscles in the forearms are engaged during the grip skill and strength required to hold onto the bar during the exercise.
  4. Shoulders: The shoulder muscles, including the deltoids, are also involved in the pulling motion during pull-ups.

In addition to these primary muscle groups, pull-ups also work the muscles in your chest, upper back, and core to a lesser extent, providing a comprehensive upper-body workout.

Pull-up-WODs-Athlete-Benefits of Tempo Training Benefits of Pull Ups

Should You Do Pull-Ups Every Day?

While pull-ups can be a great exercise for building upper body skill and strength, it is generally not recommended to do pull-ups every day. This is because your muscles need time to rest and recover after a workout in order to repair and grow stronger.

Doing pull-ups every day without allowing for proper recovery time can increase your risk of injury and also lead to overtraining, which can negatively impact your overall fitness goals.

Instead, it is recommended to incorporate pull-ups into a well-rounded strength training program that includes other exercises and allows for adequate rest and recovery time between workouts. A good rule of thumb is to aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, with at least one day of rest in between each session.

It’s also important to note that everyone’s fitness level and recovery time can vary, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your workout schedule accordingly.

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