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2 Reasons You Can’t Do Pull Ups (& How To Change That)

pull ups

There’s usually two things that prevent people from being able to do pull ups:

1. Their grip isn’t strong enough.

2. Their muscles aren’t strong enough.

The ‘fixes’ are simple in theory (but obviously rather tricky in practice).

To improve your grip you can focus on pulling movements, hangs and carries.


You could even put a few grip-improving exercises into a finisher at the end of your session that’ll get your heart rate up and help you work towards a pull up.

An example finisher could be:

1. Prone dumbbell rows x15

2. Bodyweight isometric hold at the top of an inverted row x15-30seconds

3. Farmers walks x30-45seconds


In order to improve the strength of your muscles to help with the actual lift, you’re obviously going to have to lift heavy things.

Decreasing your body weight (i.e. losing weight) is obviously going to help you out too.

The lighter you are the easier you’re going to find pull ups (and any other bodyweight movement), because physics 🤓

In the meantime, whilst you’re working hard behind the scenes on improving your grip and strength you can wrap a resistance band over the J-hooks of  a squat rack (creatively named because they look like the letter J…bodybuilders are clever, aren’t they?).

The band will take some of your bodyweight at the start of the pull (the hardest part) and give you that little boost you need.

The closer you get to the top of the pull up, which is where you’re strongest, the more of your bodyweight you’ll be lifting.

As you get stronger, leaner/lighter and your grip improves, you can start to lower J-hooks, thus taking away a wee bit of the help from the resistance band. Or you can use a smaller band.

Don’t just write pull ups off completely as something you’ll never be able to do.

Embrace the journey, train intelligently and enjoy the results that’ll come along the way.

You’ll get there in the end, and when you do I’d bet that your body looks a whole lot different to what it does today.

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