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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!


Now that you’ve conquered your hollow body, the hang position is now available to you. This will assist you in building the required shoulder and forearm strength necessary to own your pull-up. The Hang Position can be broken down into two main progressions, The Hollow Body Hang and The Flexed Arm Hang. Both are challenging in their own right.

Progression 1: Hollow Body Hang

1. Approach the bar and clamp both hands around it, palms facing in or out is O.K. at this point. A thumbless grip can be adopted if you desire to maximise torque and tension in your pull-up however a standard grip is acceptable too.

2. Assume, the Hollow Body position that you have been working on from the previous step. The same “tilt” in the pelvis should be found and back muscles should also be working to maintain this position.

3. Try to hold the active position for at least a minute before moving on.

Hollow Body Hang

Progression 2: Flexed Arm Hang

1. By jumping or with assistance from a step, clamp your hands around the bar with your chin over the bar.

2. Assume the Hollow position and hold. This particular progression amplifies the tension through the body and strengthens the muscles/ connections needed for the pull-up.

3. Building to 60 or more seconds should allow to achieve one Chin-Up.

4. Building to 3 chin-ups will allow you to work through your first pull-up.

Note: adding weight with a kettlebell or weight vest in the flexed arm hang is a sure fire way to overall improve pulling power.*

Flexed Arm Hang


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 THREE: 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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