The great pull up experiment

I’ve always admired women who can do pull ups. (I admire men who can do them too, just not as much ;)).I don’t know very many. Do you?

Being able to do not one, but a respectable number of full range of motion, unassisted pull ups has been my goal for as long as I can remember.

Although I’ve spent lots of time at the lat pull down machine and done many sets of TRX inverted rows, I’ve yet to be able to perform even a single unassisted pull up. I’ve been managing short, ‘cheater’ sets (of 4 or 5) by placing a foot against the wall to support some of my body weight. The only problem with this position is that is leads to too much ‘away from the wall’ movement of the body. Consequently, I never really work the muscles I need to strengthen to be able to do an unassisted pull up.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a pull up band from Muscle Up Canada. When looped around the chin up bar, the band gives you just enough support to be able to pull your chin up and over the bar. They come in 4 different widths; I have the 2nd smallest one and it suits my needs perfectly.

Check out the band (and me!) in action below.

I’m curious to see how long it will be before I can ditch the band and go solo. I’m guessing maybe a couple of months, but thought I’d post my progress here, so you can all follow along (and join in with me, if you’d like!).

To date, I’ve done two back workouts, incorporating pull ups early in the training session and alternating with dumbbell chest presses. My results?

Workout 1; 8/4/4

Workout 2; 8/8/5

Progress already!


Workout 3 (straight sets); 9/6/5

Can you do a pull up?

If I practice twice a week, how long do you think it will take me to be able to perform 3, unassisted pull ups?


  1. It’s my New Year’s resolution to do a single pull-up! I’m going to get this band!!!

  2. Legs and not knees. It will help you a lot.

  3. I have been doing assisted pull up for the past 2 years. This early February, a guy friend at gym challenged me to do it unassisted. Turned out I could do 2 full deadhang pull ups! Talked about being surprised myself :)) So I’ve been super motivated since then and train more. Within a month, I can do 5-6 unassisted straight pull ups now. … my target is 10.

  4. I’m using bands too. Right now on Medium Blue and small red band… I’m probably going to see if I can get rid of small Red band next time.


  1. […] the ‘Spartan Advanced Female’ program with a few modifications. I used a band for my pullups and I split the program in two, doing half the required number of repetitions for each exercise in […]