How to Perform Your First Pull-up? Go From 0-20 Reps!

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Performing your first pull-up with proper form is like leveling up in real life. All of a sudden, you can do something amazing. You feel good, you look good, and if you have worked hard to achieve it, the feeling only gets better.

Now I train to keep my weight under control, however, as a kid, I was skinny, extremely skinny. And though I never really got bullied (at least not roughly), there was always insecurity linked to how I looked.

I know everybody is beautiful and perfect the way they are, but if everyone in your class looks bigger than you and you look like a fifth grader even though you are in 8th grade, it doesn’t exactly make you feel good.

So, like every other skinny teen doing pull-ups, push-ups, and squats became a religious practice since it’s going to help me become stronger and mold my physique the way I want (Pro tip: As a beginner for the first 3 months, all you need to do is push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and crunches consistently to build muscles).

Unlike squats and push-ups, pull-ups posed a challenge. Moreover, I didn’t have a pull-up bar back then. I used to do pull-ups on the frame of our front door.

There was a window above the door, as a result, it offered a place grab, just like a pull-up bar. However, holding onto it required enormous grip strength and pain tolerance since it was sharp with no place to actually hold on.

It took some time, but I managed to learn how to do pull-ups. And surprisingly, it’s easier than it looks and offers more benefits than other bicep exercises.

Losing arm fat, building strength and endurance, building a big bicep, building toned arms, reducing shoulder pain, everything is possible, everything is in your reach, it becomes a matter of choice once you can do a pull-up.

If you are unable to perform a single pull-up and have no idea how to make it happen then this article is for you. In this article, I am going to help you perform your first pull:

Man doing pull-ups

Road to Your First Pull-up

Before you start training for your first pull-up, you need to understand one thing; there is no trick when it comes to doing pull-ups. It’s just brutal effort combined with impeccable technique and training brilliance.

To perform your first pull-up, follow these three steps mentioned below:

Step 1. Learn the Right Technique!

Muscle Targeted: Biceps, lats, deltoids, rhomboids, and core

  1. Grab a bar with your palm facing toward the bar, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Starting position: Your arms are extended above you, feet crossed beneath you, your chest is out, and your back is curved slightly.
  3. With your arm extended above you, pull your body weight until your chin is above the bar.
  4. Lower yourself to the starting position slowly as you breathe in (Breathe out as you pull your body toward the bar).
  5. That’s one rep.

Step 2. Nutrition: Weight Loss & Weight Gain

Assuming you know the right technique, it’s time to take care of nutrition.

First, you need to know your ideal weight. Use this Ideal weight calculator to determine your ideal weight. If you are underweight, use this macro calculator to determine your macronutrients and calorie needs to gain weight.

macro calculator
macro calculator

If you are overweight, use this macro calculator to determine your macronutrients and calorie needs to lose weight. You can also follow a calorie deficit of 500 calories to lose weight consistently.

If calorie deficit doesn’t work, try the keto diet.

Keto is a diet plan that focuses on foods that contain a lot of fats, an adequate amount of protein, and very few carbohydrates. Millions of people have tried the keto diet and shared their keto journey on Instagram with unbelievable before and after transformation photos.

Celebrities like Jenna Jameson, Kourtney Kardashian, and Alicia Vikander have tried the diet with amazing results. Here’s an article on How to Start Keto DietKeto Diet Food List.

However, keto is complicated and requires a lot of planning. You should consider following keto under the guidance of your dietician. You can also get a custom keto diet meal plan from here.

This diet plan will also be tailored to your weight loss goals and will be created based on the expertise of certified nutritionists, personal trainers, and chefs.

holding bar

Step 3. Follow This Training Routine

Your training will vary depending on your weight.

If You are Skinny/Ideal weight, you should follow this workout routine:

You need to train 4 days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday)

The more reps you perform in each exercise, the faster you will be able to do your first pull-up. (You can get a pull-up bar from amazon)

If you are Overweight, you should use this workout routine:

If you can do bar hangs for 20+ seconds, then you can perform the exercises mentioned below otherwise stick to the above routine:

Once you reach your ideal weight, perform the ideal weight workout!

It will not take you more than 30 days to perform your first proper pull-up.

People doing pull-ups

Going From 1-20 Pull-ups

Once you can perform a single pull-up perfectly, follow the workout routine mentioned below to go from 1 to 20 reps within a few months:

  1. Resistance Band Pull-ups: 5 sets of max reps (Use as many resistance bands as you need to perform 5+ pull-ups in a row, try to go from 5+ reps to 20 reps with the same number of resistance band)
  2. Negative Pull-ups: 5 sets of 15 reps (Perform each rep as slow as you can)
  3. Pull-up: 5 sets of max reps (Try to perform as many pull-ups as you can even if it means only one)

In your quest to go from 1 to 20 pulls, a lot of people will tell you to do some other exercise and stop wasting your time on this basic movement. However, the truth is pull-up is an extreme upper body exercise.

The mind-muscle connection, strength gains, muscle gains, and discipline you will develop while going from 1 to 20 pull-ups will not be developed by any other exercise.


There is a reason why people don’t like doing pull-ups, and it’s the same reason why every military unit in the world does pull-ups as a part of their PT regimen. The reason is cause it’s hard.

Think about it, pulling your whole body against gravity while maintaining balance and a smooth motion. It’s anything but easy.

However, if you do pull-ups despite its difficulty, you will also be awarded generously. You will develop a well-toned upper body. Your balance, core strength, and muscle definition will improve.

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Hi, I am Rudra, a computer engineer, and a certified procrastinator. I started FitnessGained in 2018 to help me stay fit despite all my desk time. Now I run this blog as a hobby. Here at FitnessGained, I will share what I do to stay fit & more. Our motto is "Reaching True Potential with Effort."

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