Become a Pull-Up Master

You may have done your first pull-up from the lintel of your bedroom door back when you were in grammar school. You didn't know it then, but that one exercise is optimal for building your grip, upper-body,a and core strength. It should be the cornerstone of every man's workout.

The problem is that you probably don't do pull-ups today very much better than you did when you were back in short pants. What's even worse is that after a certain age, the pull-up can cause elbow pain when you perform a high number of them.

Your goal should be to do five pull-ups a day, exercising perfect form. But don't worry; here are some tricks for working up to it:

Practice hanging from the pull-up bar long enough to perform 5 pull-ups. Just grab the bar and hang. If you cannot do this for at least 30 seconds, don't waste our time trying to do the pull-ups, your grip isn’t strong enough yet.

Practice hanging like a lazy gorilla everyday until you can hold yourself above the ground for 30 seconds. And then? Work your way up to a minute. Again, hit the bar every day until you can achieve this baseline. Once you have hit the sixty second mark, start practicing using just one arm. When you can hold yourself aloft by one arm for a minute, each arm, it's time to move ahead.

Having mastered the bottom end of the exercise, you are now going to conquer the top piece. Jump and hold your chin above the pull-up bar as long as you can. Practice this until you can hold it for a minute, solid – no wiggling.

The next step is to get your abdominal muscles into better shape than they probably are. Your ultimate success in being able to do pull-ups will lay in the core strength you need to have around your belly. So before you complete your quest for the perfect pull-up, spend some time with the ab wheel in your gym. This device will move your body through pretty much the same arc that pull-ups do, except horizontally, not vertically.

Once you become proficient in the three things above, it’s time to start practicing pull-ups. Your goal is five perfect ones, but that is not your end-goal! Once you are able to do five consecutively, pepper your work-outs with additional pull-ups throughout.