Gina's Get Fit Blog

Pull-Ups Are Great for Weight Loss: Here's What to Do If You Can't Manage One

While diet plays an important part in weight loss and control, it's not nearly as effective as it can be if you don't have some sort of exercise routine. And when it comes to exercising to lose weight, the go-to activity is often running, or some similar form of cardio.

Cardio is certainly an important part of fitness and weight loss, but it's far from the whole picture. To get the best results and feel as good as you can once your routine develops, you should include a range of different exercises to work your whole body. In fact, resistance training helps you get to your ideal weight much faster.

If you don't have access to weights, it's not a problem. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to start working those muscles, and the humble pull-up is an amazing way to work all sorts of upper body muscles using just a bar.

But what if you can't manage a single pull-up? Here's how to work up to it.

Try push-ups first

Although push-ups don't work exactly the same muscles as pull-ups, they begin to strengthen your upper body, which can still help. They also tend to be easier than pull-ups, so you can start to get stronger before you attempt using a bar again. If you can't manage push-ups either, try doing them against a wall or on your knees instead of your toes.

Get used to the bar

Just spending a bit of time hanging on the bar can begin to work your muscles, but don't do this for more than about 30 seconds at a time or you can injure your shoulders. You should also be careful if you're overweight.

If you're able to jump up so you're holding the bar with your arms bent, slowly lowering yourself down is a great way to start strengthening the muscles you need to conquer your first pull-up.

Get some help

When you can't manage to pull yourself up, having someone wrap their arms around your legs and give you a boost can get you there. As long as they're not doing all the work for you, it makes a great intermediate step.

Don't let it stress you out

Pull-ups are hard, but you'll get there eventually. If you're working to lose weight, don't forget that will make doing a pull-up more achievable as you begin to get lighter. And every little bit helps, so focus on being proud of yourself every time you give it a go – it means you just got closer.