Pullups are the ultimate measure of strength, which is why many people feel disheartened when they are unable to perform more than a few reps. Knowing how to improve pullups will not only help you become stronger, but will also give you a reason to show off at the gym.
Do Chin-Ups First
You may be asking how to improve pullups because you find it difficult to perform even one of this exercise. If you are unable to do a pull-up or are only capable of performing a few repetitions, try doing chin-ups first. Chin-ups are done with an underhand grip rather than the overhand grip used for pullups, but will work many of the same muscles but are easier. You can also try just hanging on the bar using an overhand grip, as many people find that hanging is the most difficult part of doing pullups.
Strengthen your Muscles
People who want to know how to improve pullups are often looking for information on how to strengthen the muscles that are used doing them. Include more exercises that work your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, and biceps. Some good exercises to try include the plank, supine cable pull-down, and inverted rows. Doing ring rows will not only help you build strength, but can also help your shoulders maintain the positional strength you will need later when doing a pull-up.
Perform Forced Reps
A spotter can help you perform more reps when you are tired or lack the physical strength to complete one on your own. Have someone place one hand on either side of your trunk, just above your hips. That person should then assist you with lifting yourself up toward the bar. The goal is to have your partner stabilize you as much as possible, meaning that person should help you only as much as necessary rather than performing most of the work.
Jump pullups are ideal whenever you have reached a training plateau. While standing on a step, jump up to reach the bar, then lower your body back down with precision. Focus on the negative part of the exercise, ensuring there is plenty of resistance on the way down. You could also pause for a few seconds at the top before lowering yourself back down.
If you want to know how to improve pullups, these ideas might also be helpful:
Install a pullup bar at home and force yourself to do one or more reps every time you pass it.
Use assisted pullup bands or a pullup machine at the gym to help you perform more reps
Attach a resistance band to the bottom of your feet and secure the other end to the bar. This will less the weight you need to pull up, making the exercise easier. Aside from using this to increase reps, you can also slowly decrease the strength of the bands until you can perform the exercise unassisted.
Climb a rope, as doing so mimics some of the movement you do when performing pullups.
A common misconception is that some people are just not capable of doing lots of pullups. That notion is mostly a farce, as anyone can learn how to increase the number of pullups they perform with any of the above methods.