One Arm Pull Ups Progression
One Arm Pull ups Progression
Calisthenics Academy
December 29, 2019

10 min read

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Beginner to Advanced


To master one arm pull up from a beginner level

About this Progression

Pull ups are an ultimate display of using your own strength to control your body weight. If you can pull your deadweight with just your arms and upper body, then you have developed some great strength. Now imagine yourself pulling that amount of deadweight with just one side of your upper body. That’s an insane amount of strength and badass in you.

It doesn’t only takes a huge amount of strength, an intense amount of skill and body control. Doing 100 to 200 regular pull-ups or even 100kg weighted pull ups won’t get you to your final destination. Learn each progression so your body could adapt to the demands each progression requires. When learning the one arm pull-up, you need to focus on form so you can maximize your gains for each progression.


And Start Your Journey to Insane Natural Strength.

One Arm Pull up Progression Exercises List

Step 1: Vertical Pulls

To achieve our goal, we’ll start by building strength over many repetitions of very simple exercises. This first one is holding on to a doorway or similar structure, leaning back and pulling yourself closer. Maintain a straight body line even when leaning. To lean backwards, extend your arms while keeping your body straight. The high amount of repetition will build strength and allow you to move onto more difficult exercises.

Step 2: Horizontal Pulls

A slightly more difficult exercise progression for pull ups. It is also known as inverted rows or australian push-ups. Hold on to a bar or similar object with your heels on the floor. Hang by your arms around a 30 degree angle to the floor. Then pull yourself up until your chest almost touches the bar before lowering yourself slowly back down. Keep a straight body line throughout the movement. Over time, this exercise will also build your strength and muscular endurance.

Step 3: Jackknife Pulls

A simulation of a full pull up by initiating half the motion. Hold on to a pull up bar while resting your knees on a raised surface. Pull yourself up before lowering back to the original position. This gives the first sensation of pulling your bodyweight vertically. Your knees on a raised surface lessen the weight you have to pull in order to pull yourself up.

Step 4: Half Pull ups

More difficult version of a jackknife pull. Here you’re supporting your weight throughout. Hold your weight with your arms apart and your triceps parallel to the ground. You could jump to get to the position or use an elevated surface. Perform the range of motion by pulling your weight the short distance until your chin is near the bar and lower to the starting position while supporting your full weight. You are basically half-repping the range of motion.

Step 5: Full Pull ups

Full pull ups are also know as a dead hang. Hang from a bar with you arms shoulder width apart and fully extended. Pull yourself up with your arms until your chin is near the bar and control on the way down. When pulling, imagine driving your elbows to your hips. By now your will have some awesome strength by being able to manipulate your dead bodyweight.

Step 6: Close Pull ups

It’s the first exercise in this progression which works towards the one-arm pull up. Here we create the sensation of lifting from a more narrow base. Hold the bar with your hands touching one another. Recreate a classic pull up in this position and control back down.

Step 7: Uneven Pull ups

While holding the bar with one hand, hold your wrist with you other hand. Use both arms from this position to pull yourself up. The uses both your arms while putting more strain on the one arm which will soon be performing a one arm pull up, but better do the exercise for both arms to avoid muscle imbalances.

Step 8: Half One Arm Pull ups

Hold yourself in a raised position on the bar with one arm and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. You could jump to the position or use again an elevated surface. This is a very short contraction which covers half the distance of the ultimate step in this progression.

Step 9: Assisted Pull ups

Use an exercise band or even just a toweland hold on to it with one hand when it is wrapped around the bar. Fully extend your other arm holding on to the bar and pull your chin above the bar with this arm. This is the sensation of pulling yourself fully up with one arm with your balance supported on the exercise band.

Step 10: One Arm Pull ups

Hold the bar with one hand, fully extend your arm and hang from that arm while your other hand is behind your back. Use your one arm to pull your chin above the bar and control on the way down. If you have reached this step, you will have built some incredible upper body and arm strength.

Once your there, congratulations! You’ve unlocked an exceptional level of potential of the human body. Be sure that you can do it on both arms though. Are you up for the one arm pull-up challenge?


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