How to Build Muscle with Pullups (WITHOUT WEIGHTS!)

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Making pull ups harder may not be the goal of everybody but if you’ve been doing pull ups for any length of time you’re probably able to do quite a bit of them.

For many people, bodyweight exercises often get used as rep builders meaning that they continue to do more and more reps rather than finding methods to increase overload.
There’s nothing wrong with doing sets of high rep pull ups. There is probably no other exercise that is a demonstration of an athletes overall body command and athleticism than the pull up but if you’re after hypertrophy, high rep sets of anything isn’t going to get you where you want to be as well as good old fashion overload.

The simplest way to overload on pull-ups is by adding weight but a lot of calisthenic practitioners may not have access to weights. That’s where todays tip comes can help.

We know that the eccentric portion of the lift allows us a great opportunity to exploit the sort of micro damage that can lead to protein synthesis and therefore hypertrophy. Problem is, if you’re really good at pull ups you’re going to spend a lot of time on the bar. The eccentric phase of the exercise also happens to be the strongest portion of the exercises. By incorporating today’s technique you’re able to combine the strength of the eccentric phase with the disadvantage of performing what is essentially an assisted one arm pull up.

To incorporate this technique perform the concentric portion of the lift as you normally would. Once you reach the fully contracted state, the top of a pull up, shift your weight to the right side of your body and concentrate on unweighting the left side by applying less force. To begin, you may want to take a finger or two off of the bar, if you’re not quite comfortable doing that you can elicit the desired response by just intentionally applying less force through your left side.

Allow the 1 arm to assist as you take the eccentric all the way to the bottom position. Once your at the bottom perform another 2 arm pull up as you normally would. Upon reaching the full contracted state this time you would focus on applying less force with your right hand. Continue in this manner, alternating from side to side until you’ve completed all the reps you can with good form.

If you apply this tip into your pull ups I guarantee you’re going to see new all new gains. Additionally you may be on your way to acquiring the strength required to do your first one arm pull up.

If you want to start building a bigger, stronger back then you need to be training the proper way. At ATHLEAN-X we put the science back in strength. Head to to get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. See how much faster you can build a bigger stronger back as well as an overall complete athletic body by training like an athlete.

For more videos on how to do more pullups in one set and the best exercises for getting stronger at pullups, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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