Pullups in Depth
3 years ago.
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How to Pullup #37 – Challenges

I've mentioned many times throughout the series that you should be challenging yourself all the time. Figuring out how to do that sometimes can be tricky without examples or ideas to start from.

In this episode, I will present a few ideas that you can potentially try or base your own challenges off.

Mixed Grip

This one can be fun to do and easily scalable by using any of the techniques we've discussed in the series. All we do is do a set of five pull-ups, all with different grips and without coming off the bar.

The order of each grip you should do is as follows:

  1. Normal grip pull-up.
  2. Turn right hand so that it is supinated. Do 1 pull-up with this grip.
    3 . Turn left hand so that both hands are supinated. Do 1 Chin-up.
  3. Turn right hand so that only left hand is only supinated. Do 1 pull-up.
  4. Turn left hand and finish with 1 normal pull-up.

Add on

This is a pretty simple challenge to do but requires a little imagination on what it involves. It can also be a little tricky for those that need bands or assistance. So this one is more for bodyweight pull-ups or above.

All you do is start at doing 1 pull-up. You then take a short rest and then you add a different second thing after the pull-up, so it becomes two exercises. Then three, four, etc...

So as an example, you could do:

1 pull-up.
1 pull-up, 1 skin-the-cat.
1 pull-up, 1 skin-the-cat, 1 chin-up.
1 pull-up, 1 skin-the-cat, 1 chin-up, 360 hanging turn.
1 pull-up, 1 skin-the-cat, 1 chin-up, 360 hanging turn, 1 mixed-grip pull.
This is good to do with a couple of other people, so you get significant rest between each set. This is a good endurance challenge.

The ladder

The ladder is a very simple concept that can be applied to many different exercises and can be changed in many different ways.

Start by picking a top number that you want to get to. Let's say 5. You now have to work up to that number and then back down again.

Start doing by one pull-up. Then rest and then do two. Three, etc... Until you get to your goal number. Then you have to work back down again.

So, it'll be: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

A total of 25 pull-ups.


Eating a carrot at the top of a pull-up is a bit of a gimmick challenge, but it works. It can be fun and forces the student / you to focus on quality. These types of challenges are made to inject more enjoyment into the session and just requires imagination with the planning.

Big Numbers

I've mentioned this earlier in the series but trying for very, very large numbers will test everything about you as a person. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

Not to be done often because it can be very detrimental to your body and if care isn't taken, can be damaging to your tendons.

Dice of Death

This can be a fun way to create challenges. Using dice in various ways to randomly assign exercises or reps or any other variable makes you work hard but never in the same way.

One example is by using a normal 6-sided dice to challenge a friend. Whoever rolls the highest number makes the other person do that number of pull-ups. Keep going until the both of you cannot continue.

Other methods include assigning different exercises to different numbers and making everyone do the same exercise. This can be good for groups.

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