The Beginner Pull Up Program: Flexed Hang and Ring Rows

In the second part of this series, we aim to strengthen the top position of the pull up with a set of taxing movements.

The Beginner Pull-Up Program is designed to help you achieve your first strict pull-up. If you already have a pull-up or two, this program will help you progress your strength toward longer sets and more advanced pulling movements. This program is broken into 5 weeks, each focusing on a different aspect of the pull-up. Each week brings a new sequence of exercises to be repeated 3-4 times in the week. These are 15-20 minute pull-up specific programs meant to supplement your normal regimen.

See the other parts of the series here:

Part 1 aimed primarily to strengthen the beginning of your pull-up by working hanging and your ability to activate to initiate the movement. Part 2 aims to strengthen the top position with flexed hangs and the entire range with the scaled pull-up versions like the row and negative. We’ll build complete pulling strength by working varying grips as well.

Both the rows and negatives are quite taxing in high repetition. This video not only demonstrates the proper form of each but also outlines scaling options for both.

Ring rows are infinitely scalable by simply walking your feet in and out. Aim to find a foot position that enables you to finish the complete set while maintaining a perfectly straight body position and control of both the hold at the top and slow lowering phase. Remember that your foot position may need to vary for different grip versions and with fatigue in later sets.

When performing the negatives keep your focus on two key aspects: time under tension and moving smoothly. The program increases your time under tension with an extended flexed hang at the top of each negative. Negatives translate best to pull-up strength by making them a continual and smooth descent. It will benefit you more to perform them smoothly over 3-5 seconds than with pauses over a longer interval.

Beginner Pull-up Program – Week 2

2 rounds of:

A1. Underhand Rows – 6-8, 10 sec hold last one
A2. Parallel Grip Rows – 6-8, 10 sec hold last one
A3. Overhand Fly Elbows – 6-8, 10 sec hold last one

* Rest as needed between sets

* 10-20 passive/active hang between each set of rows (optional)

B1. Flexed Arm Hang, 5-10 sec
B2. Negative, 3-5 sec
6 reps total (3 overhand, 3 underhand, alt.)

* Rest as needed between attempts

* Box assist if you cannot hold flexed hang at least 5 sec or perform negative smoothly over at least 3 sec