Learn to do Metaphorical Pull Ups (and Real Ones Too)


With the right approach it can be very simple to learn a difficult skill. This post is not about pull ups, but I will use them to illustrate a point.

I went from doing zero pull ups to doing pull ups with 16Kg tied around my waist in very little time. It was simple using progressive overload.

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training.

How you can go about applying this:

  • Start by watching a youtube video teaching you how to do a pull up.
  • Since you can’t do a single pull up at that point you do an assisted pull up (I used an assisted pull up machine for this).
  • Once you can do 6 pull ups remove some of the assistance.
  • Once you can do 6 pull ups without assistance start adding weight.
  • Add weight every time you can do 6 pull ups. Rinse and repeat.

It takes a while but it helps if you can always measure and see progress. You can apply this to anything you are learning. Make it very easy and gradually increase the difficulty. The goal is to make consistent progress everyday.

You can deconstruct a skill you do not have today so that, through a gradual increase in difficulty, you are able to do it tomorrow.

pull ups with weight

P.S. in case you are wondering this is me at work. The red bag is full of rocks I borrowed from the conference room decoration 😉 Don’t copy my form. I’m still learning and have a long way to go. For learning perfect pull ups watch tutorials from professionals.