Pull Up Tips: ‘Controlled Cheating’

Is cheating okay?

pull up tips

Of course I’m talking about training…

I don’t advocate cheating with anything other than movement (especially loaded moves), but I’m cool with cheating to help with the pull up.

There are many ways to ‘cheat’ to help you improve your pull up power. In the video below, I suggest two ways:

  • -one way is to use a resistance band to assist you
  • -the second is to use a ‘kip’

First of all, the band assist…

When I first tried this, the band slipped and some how it smacked my bum, wow, did that smart. (Too bad I didn’t have the camera running for that blooper.) The best way to use a band is to place it around the knee(s) and hook it to the pull up bar. I use the band on one knee in the video, but you can support both, whatever is most comfortable for you. (The support is going to be pretty much the same either way.) The band assist helps support you on the way ‘up’ to the bar, then make sure that you take as much of your weight on the way ‘down’ from the bar. Controlling the eccentric contraction is the strengthening portion of the movement.

Secondly, the kip…

Many people seem to think that using the kip is cheating BIG time with the pull up. The fact is, you can’t do traditional progressive resistance techniques with the pull up. You can’t start with a lighter weight and then move up to your body weight with the pull up. You must do your body weight from day one. The kip allows you to use a bit of momentum to ‘cheat’ just like the band assist helps you ‘cheat’. Once you get up to the bar, you can work on the eccentric lowering of your body to increase strength. The kip is also sort of like a ‘forced rep’, once you’re fatigued, you can get a few more reps and continue to work on the eccentric contraction.

Of course the only way to be successful at pull ups is to be able to get in the correct body position in the first place. Remember your goal with the pull up is to get the upper chest to the bottom of the pull up bar, versus getting the chin up and over the bar. With the latter, many people tend to inwardly rotate the shoulders which is not a position of strength. Look upwards, roll the shoulders down and back and squeeze the shoulder blades together. It all starts with a scapular retraction (I teach you how to do this in my program too).  The video gives some tips on body positioning as well, take a look:


Use these tips to help you achieve your pull up best. If you need more tips and a plan, my program has you covered.