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Myth Busted

Firstly, let’s get one thing out of the way, the pull-up is not exclusively reserved for elite level athletes. Men and women of all body types can learn how to build the strength required for a pull-up. This includes YOU!

Secondly, if you can already do a pull-up, this guide will help you to dial in your skills and OWN every repetition.

Thirdly, this guide will not guarantee you your first pull-up. Working towards your first pull-up requires discipline, time and energy. However, pursuing your first pull-up is a worthy challenge. Mastering this exercise will improve strength, build lean muscle and fortify your body. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin!


By now, you should have acquired the strength and skills necessary to take your pull-up to the next level. This section on the guide is reserved for individuals that have mastered step 1 and 2.

As set by StrongFirst, The Tactical Pull-Up is standard that we all try to achieve here at Valkyrie for each repetition. Here is a list for what to look for in your tacticals.

The Tactical Pull-up

The StrongFirst SFB standards for the tactical pull-up:

  • Stand under the bar at a height that you can dead hang without your feet dragging on the floor
  • Without looking at the bar, grip the bar at about shoulder width with a thumbless overhand grip
  • Contract your lats and pull your shoulders into their sockets
  • Squeeze your legs and feet together to produce the irradiation effect
  • Posterior tilt your pelvis to “point your belly button toward your sternum”
  • Tense your glutes
  • Pause momentarily in a hollow hang

Inhale as you initiate the pull

  • Keep your gaze forward during the duration of your rep—do not look at the bar
  • As the bar begins to pass your face, exhale with a tension breath and forcefully drive your elbows down and back to get higher over the bar
  • Pause momentarily in the top position with the bar touching your neck or chest
  • Slowly lower in an active negative back to the dead hang position
The StrongFirst SFB standards for the tactical pull-up:


Expert advice is good but a great coach with expert advice is invaluable. If you have found this guide helpful but still have questions about kettlebell training, bodyweight or barbell strength, please reach out to us. Our coaches are of the highest quality and our classes are fun and engaging.

PART ONE: Owning your pull-up

PART TWO: Owning your pull-up


StrongFirst-certified Instructor and Kettlebell enthusiast, Hugo
Cranswick is the Founder and Head Instructor of Valkyrie Functional
Training located in the humble town of Newcastle, NSW. Hugo has proven
a sound understanding of Kettlebell training as well as insatiable thirst for
knowledge in the field of strength & conditioning. Along with his open
minded approach to health and fitness, Hugo presents a wealth of
knowledge on nutrition and paths to an active, fulfilling lifestyle.
The combination of his unique skill set and his absolute passion for his
students has led him to consistently deliver outstanding results.

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