Successful Pull Ups for Beginners: Say No to Bands
Bands Provide Inconsistent Assistance
"The banded pull up is like a spotter that is sometimes overly attentive and at other times not paying attention at all."
The Solution - Get a Spotter
If you want to perform assisted pull ups, get a spotter. A spotter will be able to provide more optimal assistance by giving you enough assistance in your sticky spots so you can finish the movement and gain strength. In many group classes, it might be difficult to have spotters, but a team workout where one member is working and the other is spotting could be an alternative.
Bands Should Only Complement the Resistance Curve
The Solution - Do Jumping Pull Ups
"A more advanced person could do pauses at his or her sticky points. This controlled and slow descent will build pull up strength much faster than bands."
Get Rid of the Bands
The Solution - Grease the Groove
Ring Rows Are a Better Alternative for Beginners
"I recommend ring rows or some type of bent-over row for everyone in order to create balance in muscular development and to support shoulder health."
Further Reading on Pull Ups
- Melody Schoenfeld wrote a great article on tips for getting better at strict pull ups.
- Amber Larsen, one of my favorite Breaking Muscle authors, wrote this piece on how bands hold people back.