Pull Ups for Beginners

by Jolie Johnson

If you think that pullups are just for sweaty, grunting, muscular men, think again. Women can also do pullups and be rewarded with a strong back and sculpted arms. If you can't lift your entire body weight, do band-assisted pullups, to reduce your lifting load. Then when you are able to do a nonassisted pullup, start your pullup program with medium-grip, standard pullups. This variation is less difficult than a wide or narrow grip pullup.


Step 1

Use a band specifically designed for assisted pullups. Regular resistance tubing will not work. Pullup bands are thicker and offer more resistance than standard workout bands.

Step 2

Wrap the band over the pullup bar. Take one end of the band and loop it through the open end of the other half of the band. Pull down until the band is taut. This will result in a single loop hanging from the pullup bar.

Step 3

Place one knee in the loop. Pull the band down until you can place one knee in the loop of the band. Grasp the pullup bar with an overhand grip. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Step 4

Extend your arms so you are hanging straight down from the bar. Lift the other foot off the floor. You are now suspended from the bar with some of your weight supported by the band.

Step 5

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull yourself up toward the bar. The band will naturally help you up.

Step 6

Continue pulling up until your chin is above the bar. Slowly reverse the motion, extending your arms down to a dead hang.

Medium-Grip PullUps

Step 1

Grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Position your hands so they are just outside your shoulders.

Step 2

Lift your feet off the ground. Extend your arms so that you are hanging straight down from the pullup bar. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.

Step 3

Exhale as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, pulling yourself toward the bar.

Step 4

Continue until your chin is above the bar. Hold this position for a count.

Step 5

Lower yourself back down. Do not let your body fall back into the hanging position. Use your back muscles to descend slowly and with control.

Items you will need

  • Pullup bar
  • Pullup band


  • Pullup bands are available in different strengths. Find a resistance that assists you in the pullup, but that still makes you have to work at the exercise.
  • On a regular pullup, you may not be able to get your chin above the bar. Pull yourself as high as you can until you become strong enough to lift all the way up.
  • If you don't have a pullup band, considering using an assisted-pullup machine.


  • Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you've been inactive or have an injury or health condition.

Photo Credits:

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.