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How to do your first one arm pull-up

Ahh... one-arm-pull-ups one of the hardest and most impressive moves in the calisthenics community. The sad thing is, that most of the people are not even able to perform 1 one-arm-pull-up with the right form, so they can increase the repetations and avoid getting injured. So in this blog post we decided to teach you guys how to do your first one-arm-pull-up.


Are you strong enough to get your first one-arm-pull-up?

In order to do your first one-arm-pull-up you should be able to do at least 15 - 20 pull-ups with a good form. If you can't do 20 pull ups in a row yet, you should build the streght to do pull ups first and then come back for the one-arm pull ups. Here are some cool exercises that will help you with your pull ups.

Assisted pull ups

assisted pull-ups

For this one you will need to find something where you can put your feet on, to get rid of some of your bodyweight while doing the pull ups.... this can be a chair for example, so you would be pushing a little bit with your feet which would make your pull ups a bit easier, another thing would be to get a workout partner so he/she could hold your legs while you're doing the pull ups. Another alternative is the use of a pull-up band, which supports you during the upwards movement when pulling up.

Chin ups

chin ups

This is how i learned doing pull ups, i first started by doing chin ups since my biceps were a lot stronger than my lats but the good thing is, that the lats are still activated while performing chin ups which made them a lot stronger over the time and that's how i started doing pull ups. Simply grap the pull up bar with a reversed hand grip, bring your chin over the bar go down and repeat!

Best Exercises For The One Arm Pull Up

1.) Close Grip Pull Ups

close grip pull-ups

This technique will build a lot of forearm and bicep streght which is needed for the one arm pull up. Place your hands next to each other and go all the up and all the way down (fully extended).

2.) Weighted Pull Ups

weighted pull-ups

You will probably find it more easy to do weighted pull ups with 2 arms instead of one-arm-pull-ups. Use the weighted pull ups to get even more streght, that way it will make the one arm pull up proccess easier. If you feel any joints pain reduce the weight so you don't get injured. I personally use a weighted vest but if you dont have one, get creative. You can get a back for example and add books on it for extra weight.

3.) One Arm Towl/Band Pull Ups

one arm pull-ups

This exercise will give you the feeling of doing the one arm pull up. Get a towl and place it over the pull up bar. You will have to hold on to the bar with one arm and ther other arm will hold tight the towl, the higher you go the easier it is, the lower you hand placement is the harder it will be. You can use this exercise as a progression, meaning your placement should start very high and come lower and lower as time goes on. Make sure to train both side! Alternatively you can also use a pull-up band here.

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4.) One Arm Negatives

one arm pull-ups

This is the last progression that i used before moving to the one arm pull up. Grab the pull up bar, if your feet are touching the ground you can just jump up and then slowly bring your body down. If the pull up bar is to high you can do a normal pull up, let go of the bar with one arm and do it that way.

When you feel like this exercises start to become really easy for you, then you are ready to start going for the one arm pull up!

Tips For Faster results

Now that we covered everything from building enough streght and doing the right warm up so you dont get injured its time to get into the one arm pull up.

1.) Stay Conistent

A common reason on why most poeple fail to learn the one-arm-pull-up or any other skill is because they do not stay consistent with it. So my recommendation would be to train at least 2-3 times a week the specific skill that you're trying to learn.

2.) Train skills before the actual training

Training the one-arm-pull-up before your actuall workout, should be done in order to have your full streght and energy to perform the exercise so you can see where you really are.

3.) Put a pull up bar in your home

pull-up bar at home

Getting a pull up bar in my home was probably one of the best things i could do to learn the one-arm-pull-up. I would used to try and do the one-arm-pull-up everytime i went in and out of my room, which was fun and that i never got bored.

4.) Visualize doing your first one arm pull up

This my sound a little bit weird but it really works. I used to close my eyes and see myself do the one-arm-pull-up which helped me build the belief that i could do that. Our mind is the strongest muscle that we have and you should exercise it too. By using this visualization trick, you will make your subsconssious mind believe that you already have the power which will also help you boost the proccess.

5.) Warm Up

warm up before pull-ups

Look I know we all want to get in the exeting part but if you skip this part, you're asking for serious trouble which can take your whole progress that you have made so far go a few months back! So listen to me and do not skip the warm up part.

6.) Forearm Streght

forearm strength
To do the one-arm-pull-up you will also need a lot of streght in your forearms because when doing this movement you are holding 100% of your weight with your forearm. So consider starting to working more on your forearms, especially in your grip strenght on the pull-up bar.


Here is a quick recap of what to do! Build the streght to do at least 20 pulls ups in a row with a perfect form, get really good at the different pull up exercises that i told you, know that this is a proccess and it will not happen overnight, stay consistent and follow the the tips that you saw above once you master all of the progression exercises. Have fun training for your one arm-pull-up and never give up!


Special post written by fitness and nutrition coach Valdimiros from Workout Clarity.


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Do you want to do more pull-ups?

Then we recommend you our FREE eBook with the top 23 tips for more pull-ups

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Recommended articles:

How to do pull-ups – The perfect pull-up

How to do the perfect muscle-up - Top 5 tips

The Top 10 Benefits of Pull-Ups

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  • Gonna try these tips

    Interesting article, gonna try out the tips and hopefully they will help me :)

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