Level 1 – Kipping Pull Up Progression

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Does a strict pull up evade you? Not sure how to progress to get your first strict pull up? Look no further! This progression will get you your first strict pull up.

The primary purpose of this guide is to develop your kipping pull ups. The reason I have strict pull ups as the first level is for a few reasons.

First, kipping pull ups results in dynamic movement in the shoulders. When this happens our likelihood of injury increases. Couple with limited strength and we have a recipie for an injury. So the first reason is to develop strength in the shoulders, arms, and back to help prevent injury.

Second, a solid base of stength will help you do more kipping pull ups. Strict pull ups are the best tool we have for that.

Third, having enough pulling strength to do a strict pull up is a pre-requisite to muscle ups. If you plan develop that skill later on you’ll need to have a firm grasp on strict pull ups.

  • Current ability: 0 strict pull-ups. To be clear, this means not being able to hang from a bar and pull yourself up high enough where your chin clears the bar. This means without jumping, an exercise band, or any other tool.
  • Goal: 1 strict pull-up. Also, this means mastery over one strict pull up. I don’t want you to move to level 2 on your first one. You should be comfortable jumping up to a bar and getting a strict pull up pretty much any day of the week. What I recommend is to cycle through the microcycle one or two times before moving to level 2. The extra practice will prepare you for level 2. Trust me. Don’t rush good work. Take your time. Its not a race. We want you to be a quality mover. We’re not trying to race through the program as fast as possible.
  • Note 1: We are going for control on these reps. Take a look at the video clips below and you will notice I keep a nice consistent pace going up an down.
  • Note 2: To complete a self-assisted pull up will will be using a squat rack. During level 1, we will be using these to supplement band pull ups. When getting someone to their first pull up, I prefer to use both band pull ups and self-assisted pull ups. You’ll find most coaches will only use bands during the level of pull up training. The reason I don’t like that is because band pull ups do not mimic the same strength curve as a pull up. With a strict pull up, the hardest part is the bottom of the hand. With a band pull up, it is the easiest. I have a video below of what a self-assisted pull up looks like. There are MANY ways to customize this to be  easy or difficult.
    • Both legs
    • Stay on toes only.
    • Use one leg
    • Put feet on a box or bench in front of you.
    • Put weight on leg
  • Note 3: There are more variations in the upgraded programs.


WARM UP3 sets 8-12 banded pull-ups. If you go over 12 move to a band with less resistance. If banded pull-ups are too difficult you can do self-assisted pull-ups until you are capable to progressing to the band 5×5 Self-assisted pull-ups. Scroll down for information about the progressions.3 sets of a max hang from a pull bar with 1 minute rest. This is to help build grip strength. If you can do more than a minute then you can skip.
COOL DOWNAccumulate 25 ring rows. Move up 3-5 reps a week until you move to level 2. If you can string together more than 10 in row make the movement more difficult by being more parallel with the floor.3×8-12 curls with barbell 5×5 Self-assisted pull-ups.
COOL DOWNAccumulate 25 banded face-pulls. Move up 3-5 reps a week until you move to level 2.
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