Mastering the Weighted Pull-Up
Mastering Weighted Pull Ups

Has your ability to effortlessly negotiate obstacles or perform pull-ups been hindered due to injury, lack of strength, gear requirements or an increase in your own gravitational pull?
Regardless of the cause, I would like to share time-efficient training strategies that will help you overcome gravity and master weighted pull-ups. Now, some of you may be thinking; weighted pull- ups? I haven’t done a pull-up since I left the academy. I can’t even do one body-weight pull-up! If that’s you, than your in good company. Most people are normally weak at pull-ups. Unless you are a former gymnast, wrestler, or served in a military unit that demands a high degree of pull-up strength, then you probably had no reason to practice them. That’s why you are weak. You get good at what you practice. Let’s be honest with ourselves; being weak is a choice. So, let’s re-set our focus on getting strong.
Strength is foundational to the total functioning of the human body. Without strength, other factors such as endurance, speed, agility and skill cannot be used effectively. The goal of every officer should be to get as strong as possible while staying at the lightest possible body-weight. Why? For two reasons:
being strong makes you harder to kill and
a high strength- to-body-weight ratio is the key to preventing joint and muscle injuries in training and in real life competition.
I have taught countless men, women, and teenagers who weren’t even close to perform a single body-weight pull-up to performing 1-2 perfect pull-ups in little as one training session. Within a month most were effortlessly performing multiple sets of 3-5 body weight pull-ups and are ready to start adding weight. For those who are already proficient at pull-ups, the information below will take you to a new 1 rep max. The difference is in the details.
The standard: grip the pull-up bar with your palms facing away, thumb less or conventional grip, and pull from a dead hang until the front your neck touches the bar (not your chin). No swinging, kipping or other use of momentum is allowed when performing weighted pull-ups.
The setup: Following the procedures below will dramatically and safely increase your pull-up strength.
Grip… the pull-up bar, palms forward, elbows straight, look straight ahead, not up.
Take all the slack out of you arms and shoulders by “flexing” the bar and establish the “active” shoulder. (i.e. actively pull your shoulders down and back, lean slightly forward, and open up your chest by pinching your shoulder blades together. Feel the lats, traps, and rhomboids contract)
Tip… your pelvis and flex/shorten your abs, establishing the gymnast “hollow” position.
Take the slack out of your lower body by keeping your legs straight, knee-caps pulled up, feet press tightly together (crossing your feet is acceptable) and strongly contracting your glutes.
Inhale sharply through your nose, filling your lower abs with air, and apply the sphincter lock (i.e. contracting muscles of pelvic floor).
Rip…Initiate movement by forcefully exhaling a tiny stream of air through your clenched teeth, pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This will increase your intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) forcing your abs to contract harder and assist in lifting the weight
“Corkscrew” your arms until your elbows are pointing forward then drive them straight down towards the ground. Don’t try to “Pull” yourself up. Instead, just drive your elbow towards the ground.
The front of the neck or chest must touch the bar.
Return to the starting position and pause on the bottom with the arms fully extended for at least a second before attempting another rep.
Keep the tension high and limit the repetitions to five or less. It is better to do multiple sets of fewer reps. Train for success and a high degree of neuromuscular coordination. Terminate all sets before going to muscle failure.