All for one and one for all!


Well, yes, but only if your name is d’Artagnan and you’re planning on gathering your mates to defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war… 

But if not, then not really… 


More specifically in this case, I’m referring to training plans. 

You’ve seen an influencer online selling their training plan, they show you what you could achieve in just 3 weeks, only training for 5 minutes once a week, still eating whatever the hell you like and you think, “Omg, I can do that, sign me up!”

Three weeks go past, you’ve stuck to the 5 minute training plan each week, you’ve not watched what you eat and binge watched The Office for the 5th time this year. Super pumped about how consistent you’ve been, you take a look in the mirror and jump on the scales and low and behold (pause for dramatic effect…) You’ve gained weight… WTF?! 


Now, I’m not saying that exercise and nutrition plans like this are bollocks. They may well work for someone who has super athletic genes, an incredibly active job, who already understands nutrition to the finest detail and who is already pretty damn fit. That’s great, I’m super stoked for you that you only have to add in a quick Tabata once a week to stay on top of your physique. But for the rest of us who weren’t blessed at birth, we may require some slight alterations to that training plan.


Finding the perfect plan for you can be a bit of trial and error. Unfortunately a lot of people give up after a couple of weeks of not seeing changes or results and move on to the next fad. Changing too quickly from diet to diet or switching training plans too often doesn’t give the body enough time to adapt, to make changes and work in different ways, resulting in massive internal confusion and what feels like your body just stops listening to your efforts. 

Let your body catch up. If you change what you’re putting in it, it’ll need time to adapt to this new fuel and work out the best way to process it for maximum results. 

Let your body catch up. If you change the way you use it, it’ll need time to adapt to these new movement patterns and work out the best way to strengthen and repair for maximum results! 


There’s so much help, advice, support and knowledge out there on social media. Everyone has an opinion. There’s plenty of people agreeing that prioritising resistance training, eating more fruits and vegetables and taking a walk whenever possible (see my last post about getting your steps in here) are really good things for you that you should be doing. But unfortunately there’s also people out there who still say carbs make you fat and you have to be sweating for your workout to mean anything. 

So how do you know who to listen to? 


Just remember two very simple things:

  1. There is no perfect diet
  2. There is no perfect workout


You might have a workout partner and you’re both following the same plan but you’re both seeing different results. 

Why is this?

Something that works for one person might not work for you, and vice versa.

What works for you is going to hugely depend on your goals, genetics and training preferences, your physical ability, current health status and anatomy.


Your bodies will adapt to the stimulus in different ways and produce a different response. You may be genetically predisposed to build muscle quicker or burn fat more efficiently. Maybe your friend may have a little more weight to lose than you do so the changes to their body shape may be more noticeable. but you might be gaining more muscle mass and creating the much sought after “toned” appearance. 


Another big factor in how well or quickly a plan will work for you is ultimately how much time you can realistically dedicate to it.


A lot of these influencers you see online do this for a job. They can dedicate their entire day to looking this good! Whereas you and I have to do this whole workout and get fit malarkey as a side hustle, these guys get to spend every waking hour doing what we cram into a few hours each week. 


So go easy on yourself, you can’t compete with that! Even personal trainers have to get their own workouts in around training their clients! 


Does my step count actually matter?


There’s a lot of controversy on the internet about step counts, accuracy of pedometers, benefits of walking, etc. but they all agree on one thing, movement of any kind is better than no movement at all. 

We have a lot of members of rb5 who train regularly 3 or 4 times a week, they lift heavy weights and raise their heart rate; so do they really still need to get their steps in?

Short answer, yes! 

Let me explain why not all movement is made equally. A recent study by Stronger By Science shows the correlation between increased step count and a decrease in the risk of all-cause mortality. 

In layman’s terms, the more a person walks, statistically the less chance they have of dying anytime soon! But just because it’s associated with a better chance of survival, it’s not the only determining factor. 


There’s SO many health benefits from getting out and walking more, especially within a group.

As SBS point out the, 

..meta-analysis found that group-based walking interventions, all lasting one year or less, led to significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat percentage, body mass index, total cholesterol, and depression scores, while increasing VO2max [and] 6-minute walk distance

These are all incredible reasons showcasing  why walking is so good for you! 


It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being in the gym for a few hours a week is sufficient exercise to maximise longevity. What we often fail to remember is that most of us are actually pretty sedentary for the rest of the day outside of the gym. 

Lifting weights, building and maintaining muscle mass and strength will almost certainly increase your chances of living longer. This kind of dedicated training is great but there is absolutely no substitute for simply moving more!


With so many of us working from home nowadays, the morning commute often consists of walking from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to the office. We take shorter breaks throughout the day as the “cafeteria” is at the end of the hall and we don’t often ‘pop out’ for lunch anymore. 

Getting outside in the day is not only great for your heart health, but incredibly beneficial for your mental health too. So get out and get your steps in! 

Try taking longer breaks and getting outside. Multiple studies have shown we focus for around 90 minutes and then we need to take a break from whatever we’re doing to reset to be able to fully focus and commit to our work again, for another 90 minute block. By break I mean at least a good 15 minutes, not just time to nip to the toilet or make a cuppa. 


The SBS study also determined, 

walking 16,000 steps per day was associated with a 66% reduction in all-cause mortality compared to walking just 2,700 steps per day.”

There’s plenty of apps to help remind you to drink water, well why not use these to help remind you to go for a walk too! When you’re faced with problems at work, it’s often more beneficial to take a break, go for a walk and destress than to try and push through the problem. Let your mind clear and thoughts wander in and out. This is a great way to let the noise in your head calm down so you can hear the important facts and pick out the good thoughts! Who knows, you might even have an epiphany and solve that work issue!


Get out and explore, there’s so much around us locally we don’t have to go far to feel like we’re well and truly out of the city. Seek out landmarks, listen to podcasts, get out and enjoy nature at its finest! Perfect for an after work stroll. 


So don’t stop going to the gym 3-4 times a week, keep lifting those weights, building muscle and strengthening your bones. But let’s not forget to help our hearts and minds too by getting out for a walk! 


But I HATE Exercise!

I know what it’s like to hate exercise and also want to lose weight and see results at the same time! Nightmare.

Ever been to a HIIT class, a bootcamp or a weightlifting workshop and thought, “this is absolute misery” and never returned again?

Me too! We’ve all been there, but don’t take this as a sign exercise is not for you,

There’s a secret they’re not telling you…

You probably don’t hate exercise, you probably just hate that type.

If you’ve not found what works for you yet, don’t panic, keep searching.

The best type of exercise will differ greatly from person to person, but they will all have one core detail in common – it’s the one you actually stick to!

The most important thing to remember is exercise should be FUN!

Unless your goal is to be the next Ultimate Fighting Champion or to win The Universe Championships, both of which require you to build a very specific physique, any exercise is good exercise!

Exercise is a celebration of what your mind and body can achieve. It helps your heart get stronger, build muscle and burn calories. Instead of “earning” your meals, you’ll start to reward your efforts by fuelling your body with the right food choices to help you recover quicker and perform better next time.

You may have been to an intense circuit class, hated every second of it and felt like passing out by the end only to look around the room at everyone else smiling and cheering, proclaiming their undying love for pushing themselves so hard they might actually die from this. That’s ok, that class style is just not for you, (or me to be honest!) but that doesn’t mean you should write it off completely, just try another style!

Some people love training on their own, so a group class environment is not going to bring out the best in them, however others need the support from the people around them to keep going.

Avid runners look at me like I’m crazy when I say I’m not massively fond of the discipline myself. Being in shape does not necessarily mean I do “formal cardio”; there are so many other ways of raising your heart rate!

If you enjoy the style of boot camps and met-cons, good job! Keep going, you’re killing it! These are awesome ways of keeping active. But if you don’t… then don’t do it, ever, seriously like never ever.

If you persevere, you’ll find the style that suits you the best; you don’t have to prove anything to anyone else but yourself. Let’s face it, you get into shape for you; no one can help you do it, there’s no cheat codes or quick fixes. Don’t get disheartened, make a change.

If you don’t like running, that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be overweight
If you don’t like group classes, that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’ll never improve your cardio
If you don’t like lifting weights, that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be strong
If you don’t like exercise, that’s ok, it doesn’t make you a bad person!

When it comes to exercise, do the things that you actually enjoy!

If you’re new to fitness, lose all those preconceived ideas about how you think you’re supposed to train. There’s no perfect way, there’s no one exercise type to rule them all, the only way you can go wrong is force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy because you think you should.

If you’ve already started your fitness journey, are you forcing yourself to train in a certain way because you think it’s “good for you” and now you have to keep doing it otherwise you think you’ll be labelled as a quitter?! If this is to reach a particular target, good for you, keep going! But if not, STOP IT NOW! Change it up for something that actually brings you joy and adds some fun to your training.

The Ultimate Guide To Restarting… Again!

This might be the first time you’re restarting or the 50th, either way we’ve got your back!

So you may have fallen off the wagon, again, already. 

Welcome to the club!

Statistically speaking, MOST people have already abandoned their New Year resolutions – I did warn you about setting these!

But nevermind that now, where do we go from here?

First of all, I want you to FORGIVE YOURSELF!

Do you have a little voice in your head laughing at you, telling you you’ve failed, you’re a loser?

Would you ever say these things out loud to another person? 


Then why are you saying them to yourself?! 

Nobody deserves that abuse and that includes you!

So forgive yourself right now and we can move on.

What went wrong?

Absolutely nothing. You basically conducted an experiment that didn’t yield the results you were expecting. This is neither a good nor bad thing, it just is

So let’s dig deeper – what did you try to do?

  • Do a 60 minute workout every day
  • Run 5km every morning at 5am
  • Strictly stick to my macros and calorie targets

Is this really a list of things that suit your current lifestyle? 

I didn’t think so.

The 2 most common factors for falling off the wagon are – 

  1. Your goals were too vague – they lacked a deadline!
  2. You tried to change too many things at once – keep it simple! 

In our heads we often like to think of exercising as a light switch, it’s either on or off. We either do it or we don’t. 

Well out here in the real world, we like to think of it as a dimmer switch. Instead of turning it off completely, just turn it down a notch or two till we’re at a more comfortable and realistic commitment level.

You tried to change everything everywhere all at once. I get it, you’re ambitious, I love it! Keep that enthusiasm going! But how about now we just try and change one thing? 

Did you actually enjoy what you were trying to achieve? 

Going for a run everyday when you HATE running doesn’t sound the most sensible idea. If you want to increase your CV load you can always mix it into your regular training routine – just like hiding broccoli in your mash potato! 

Did you add too much in to start with? 

How about a substitution rather than addition – adding exercises in can make your sessions longer. If you’re already stretched for time this is never going to end well. You can swap your chips for a salad or side of veggies once a week or swap those fizzy drinks for sparkling water. Substitutions help keep things varied and exciting! 

Is the bar set too high? 

You might have started off the year with loads of free time but now life has returned to normal and the workload is piling up again, you might find yourself with less time to get a workout in than you first thought. This is absolutely ok! Life changes, priorities change. So you can’t get to the gym for an hour, ok, how about 40 minutes? I don’t have time for 5 sets of everything, ok, how about 3 sets? 

When we’re trying to build a routine, exercise isn’t actually the important part, we need our plan to fit our lifestyle. At this point, it doesn’t matter if it’s 60 minutes in the gym or 6 push ups on the kitchen floor!

Lower the bar, be kind to yourself, get the little “wins”!

There’s absolutely no shame in what other people would call “failing”. We see it as practice. 

And what does practice make?

Change one variable, and run the experiment again. 

If it didn’t yield the right results, adjust your parameters! 

The most important thing here is to track what you are changing and what results it provides. Once you can see which changes create the best results you’ll have a recipe for success! 

So you’ve decided you want to get fit?




But now what… 


You’ve been collecting information for weeks and reading a lot about the best ways to start working out and now you are completely overwhelmed with all the information. 


If this sounds like you, don’t worry we understand. It can be extremely frustrating.


But not to worry, we know the top 3 three ways to get things going:


The first three things we focus on when starting out are – 

  • Exercise
  • Nutrition 
  • Mindset


Before you jump straight in, let’s look at building the foundations first.

  • Exercise

Starting to exercise more is often not a bad start! But what should we start with?

Taking your first step is literally that! Take a step, then another, and another and oh look at that we’re off for a walk.


Never underestimate the power of walking! 


It starts off as just 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then a friend comes along and it’s 40 minutes with a stop off to get coffee and a good catch up. Before you know it you’ll have a group of friends or you’ll have joined a walking group and you’ll be on your feet for miles enjoying the great outdoors and all the while improving your lung capacity and heart health.

Now wasn’t that easy!


The time we spend out on a walk can help us see the value in spending quality time working out. Our 10 minute Hiit home workout turns into a 30 minute class at the gym. This then leads to us spending 60 minutes completing a full workout specifically designed to our needs and goals! 

  • Nutrition 

You’ll have read thousands of articles online about “the best diet” – this might be Keto, Paleo, Vegan or even the Mediterranean Diet.

But once you start researching them, you’ll come across so many conflicting ideas and claims you’re more confused than you were to begin with! 


So let’s keep things simple. Instead of thinking diet = eat and drink less, how about trying to think diet = eat and drink MORE! 


  • Eat more veggies
  • Drink more water


If we start to add to our diet rather than subtracting we accomplish multiple things – 

  • We start to create a more positive association with nutrition
  • It’s a huge mental relief from the constant restrictive talk we’re so used to hearing
  • By making a conscious effort to add healthier things to our meals, we by default start to replace the less healthy things. 


Think this seems too easy? 


We don’t want to make things too difficult for ourselves or we won’t be able to stay consistent. 

  • Mindset

This is a huge component that is often overlooked.


You can workout regularly and eat the most balanced diet but you won’t be maximizing your potential if you’re stressed out and sleep deprived! 


So let’s look at stress management. 

  • Improve you sleep
  • Track your goals
  • Remember to breathe


A good night’s sleep can make everything so much easier; consistently having poor sleep can make everything so much harder.

Two simple things to think about when trying to improve your sleep quality – 

  1. Avoid screen time within 30 minutes of bed. Turn off your tele, shut down your computer, put down your phone!
  2. Regular sleep and wake times, even (especially) on weekends. Keep your circadian rhythm consistent. 


Tracking your goals or writing down your thoughts can help you reflect on the day. Getting your thoughts down on paper, or writing a blog, can help you to get things out of your head and process them more effectively. Our brains are for creating ideas, not storing them! 


Tracking your goals can often help you see your progress. Strength training doesn’t often have obvious visual changes but watching those numbers go up on the page can really help boost your motivation. If you’re trying to gain or lose weight, you might not notice the changes day to day but keeping a record of your measurements, or even better, a weekly/monthly photo of yourself, can help you see if you’re on track and heading in the right direction. 


Close your eyes and take a deep breath. This quick pause may seem too simple but trust me, a few slow and deep breaths can help you relax and refresh. We’re not trying to clear our minds, but more create a flowing river through them; thoughts can gently wash in and drift away just as easily. 

If you’ve had a hectic day, take 5 minutes before your workout to just stop and take a breath. During your warm up let your mind drift and try not to linger on one thought for too long. 

By doing this, you’ll be able to focus better on the workout in front of you and get more out of your training.


This isn’t revolutionary stuff! It sounds so simple. Well, it is.

The hardest part about this is being CONSISTENT. 

“I have no idea what I’m doing”


Hands up anyone who’s ever said this.

Yep, thought so, me too! 


This is exactly how most people feel when they enter a gym for the first time. 

January is the most common time for people to start a new gym membership. They’re excited, it’s shiny and new, this is going to be their year… and in the blink of an eye it’s over. 


The excitement wears off quickly, the equipment becomes dull and boring, the room becomes an overwhelming void of confusion and despair! 


February therefore is unfortunately the most common time of year for people to quit the gym! 


Sound familiar?


DO NOT FEAR! We’re here to help! 


The big difference between our personal training studio and those big box gyms on the high street is we understand.


We know how hard it can be to keep motivated when those rose tinted glasses slip down your sweaty nose during your first class. We understand how easy it is to say f*ck this, I’m out. 


We love nothing more than being able to help those who need guidance, those who feel lost, intimidated and confused by all the big equipment and machines. 

We keep things simple, we work with you, we WANT you to succeed!


Trust me. I personally had a similar experience. I’ve been in your shoes, I understand! 


I struggled with self-confidence, I didn’t love how I looked or felt and I often assumed that everybody around me was judging me the whole time. I felt like I was subjecting myself to torture!


I thought maybe I need to somehow get in shape BEFORE I join the gym so I don’t look ridiculous.  

Well you know what was ridiculous? That thought! You go to the gym TO get in shape!


I had no clue what I was doing and couldn’t tell a dumbbell from a deadlift. I was scared and alone. But joining rb5 set me on a path that changed everything – I’m now dedicating my life to helping people NOT get intimidated when beginning their fitness journey. 


I formed completely new healthy habits, I found consistency and accepted accountability. 

Now here I am telling YOU how this story could be yours!


You can do this! 


We all have to start somewhere; let us help you make your ‘one day’ into your ‘day one’!

I challenge you to not set New Year’s resolutions!

Here’s why…

They’re often big, bold claims that we convince ourselves we’re finally going to achieve this year. We made the same claims last year, and the year before that, and come to think of it, the year before that too! We’ve been saying the same thing every January since the dawn of time, it’s time to stop.

Let’s discuss the 3 most common resolutions – 

  1. I’m going to get fitter
  2. I’m going to eat better
  3. I’m going to get my shit together

What’s the one thing these 3 are all missing?

A Deadline.

There’s no timeframe set to “getting fitter” and to be honest, what does “fit” actually mean?!

The definition will differ for everyone and we each have our own perceived basic standard of fitness. 

Again, “eat better”… better than what? who?! 

If you set yourself challenges like these, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 

So how do I set a goal I hear you ask!

Simple, you have a target and a deadline

For example, I would like to get my own training back into a regular routine. 

Is my goal to train more? No!

My goal is to train on average 3 times a week and a minimum of 12 total sessions in January. 

I have a target and a deadline. 12 sessions, 1 month. 

This allows me to work it around my lifestyle, some weeks I might only get 2 sessions in but I’ll be able to plan ahead and arrange to get 4 in the following week, thus still allowing me to hit my target by the end of the month.

By setting a goal like this, I have set myself up to form a good habit; forming consistency (but not conformity) with my training. A flexible plan means that one bad day or even week, does not diminish all the hard work you’ve put in already and does not knock you off track.

The idea behind this is that I will continue to train 3 times a week throughout February without even realising or trying too hard to achieve this. I have already built this training pattern into my lifestyle and created a new good habit!

Setting short term goals like this will help set you up for success for your long term goals. 

You can apply this logic to any goal you like. Want to reduce the amount of meat you eat? Start by swapping out just one meal a week and build it up to your desired level over a predefined period of time. Want to get your shit together? Start by changing just one thing. That might be as simple as having a wash everyday for a week. Wash the pots 10 times in a 2 week window. Spend an hour over a week reading a book for a month. Baby steps, little wins; it’s not “all or nothing” but more like “little and often”. 

So remember, don’t set ridiculous New Year’s resolutions; instead, set yourself up for success!

Why is shoulder press so hard?

Without specific examination in the movement of the individual person, it is almost impossible to diagnose why someone may be feeling pain in their back when shoulder pressing. Despite this, there are a few common culprits. The first one being overarching the lower back. When we over arch our back when Shoulder Pressing it puts a huge amount of pressure onto that spine in an unstable position. This could be down to having a weak core or the weight is simply too heavy. Strengthening the core through various core movements such as planks, lying leg raisers, hanging leg raisers etc will help improve this.

How to shoulder press

When we shoulder press the line of movement from what ever we are lifting should always end up directly over our head with our spine straight/ neutral. A correct brace is a lifting cue often overlooked or performed wrong. When bracing currently you can create a huge amount of intro-abdominal pressure. This pressure although sounds bad and terrifying is actually what provides stability to our spine when lifting. It is safer for your spine and it also helps you to lift heavier.

How to brace for performing a shoulder press

So how do we brace? A teaching technique I like to use is by imagining I have a standard trouser belt around my waist which doesn’t quite fit, about 1-2cm too wide. Before I lift an object I take a deep breath in and with that breath, try to push my stomach out into the belt (filling the belt). Hold this brace until the movement is completed, in this case the weight is now directly over your head.

What if I’m still experiencing pain after good bracing and a strong core?

So, if you have a strong core and you are good at bracing but still get lower back pain when shoulder pressing, I think it’s time to look at your shoulder mobility. Mobility is essentially how well we can move through our joints. If we have poor/ limited shoulder mobility, chances are you will over arch your lower back to complete a lift.

How to see if you have good shoulder mobility

Follow this test in the picture bellow to see if you have good mobility.

What we are looking for in this test is to see how far back you can bring your arms past your head without arching your back or having your chest rise to the ceiling. Good mobility would look like the one on the far-right hand-side.

If you prove to have insufficient movement in the shoulder, I would first try foam rolling and stretching the Lat and chest muscles and then retry the test. Strengthening all your rotator cuff muscles through a series of internal and external shoulder movements will also help stabilise that shoulder joint when shoulder pressing.

For years being able to do a Push Up has been portrayed as a good feat of strength. But why can so many of us not do one? In this blog we will delve into how we perform a Push Up and what is needed in order to complete one full push up.

What muscles are used in a Push Up?

A Push Up works a whole variety of muscles but the main ones being: Chest, Shoulders and triceps. It will also take some core strength as well. So, in order to be able to perform a Push Up we must have adequate strength in these main areas.

How to perform the perfect Push Up`

In order for you to see if you can do a Push up follow this list.

  1. Firstly, start on your knees
  2. Place your hands on the floor with straight arms in front just outside shoulder width, as you would if you were about to fall forward
  3. From there, bring your feet to the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Make sure there is a STRAIGHT LINE from the ankles, to the knees, to the hip, to the shoulders and from there to your head. Your wrists should also be directly under your shoulders at this point.
  4. You are now in a full plank position (in this position squeeze your abs nice and tight and hold as if you were to take a punch in the stomach form Mike Tyson)
  5. From here take a deep breath in and try to lower your whole body to the ground and then back up again while exhaling. Try tucking the elbows in towards your sides slightly. Make sure to retain that straight rigid body throughout the movement

What if I’m struggling to do the perfect Push Up?

To make this exercise easier, simply bring your knees to the ground and try again. Or if you still struggle, try putting your hands on a raised surface. Both these two ways are a simple regression from a normal push up, so practicing these will help overall. Now instead of practising easier modifications of a push up over and over again, there are other elements of exercises that will also help you to achieve that goal.


What other exercises can help me do a Push Up?

What other areas should we focus on? Scapular retraction… or put simply, squeezing your shoulders blades together. An easy way to help me perform this is by imagining someone has placed a tennis ball directly in the centre between both my shoulder blades and from there I need to squish that ball by only using my shoulder blades.

Try this by standing up and having your arms out straight in front of you like you would for an actually Push Up. From here imagine the tennis ball and squeeze. That is Scapular Retraction.

Now go back into that full plank position we did earlier and squeeze those shoulder blades back and forth but when you separate the shoulders blades try doing so as far as you can.

Your upper back may arch slightly (this is fine, as long as it’s only the top of your back). Perform this for 10 repetitions 4x sets and not only will this help better stabilise those muscles on your back, but it will also strengthen the triceps. We will call this exercise Full Plank Scap Retractions.

In addition, most weighted chest exercise such as, Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Chest Press etc will help with a push up as these will strengthen those main muscles needed.

Here is a small Push Up program anyone can use in order to help improve. If you are already at the point of being able to perform a couple of press ups, simply change the first exercise to normal Push Ups and perform as many as you can,


Speed in which to perform exercise

FULL PLANK /SCAP RETRACTIONS 4 10 BW 2:3 SQUEEZE SHOULDERS FOR 2 and keep pushed apart for 3



3 10


Choose a weight that you will fail at 10reps 2:1



(seperate shoulder blades as much as you can on hold)

2 Max Hold

Don’t allow your hips to dip or raise


Now remember building strength doesn’t happen overnight so be patient and keep consistent and you will eventually get there!

Pull ups are by far one of the hardest exercises. You are lifting your whole bodyweight and not only that, you need a lot of muscles to work together effectively, otherwise the movement will become even harder. In this Blog we will look at how to do a Pull Up, as well as some accessory exercises that will help you achieve one.

What muscles are used during a pull up?

So, what are the prime muscle movers during a Pull Up? The muscles used most heavily in a Pull Up are the lats, bicep, core and mid-lower traps. So ultimately, if we can strengthen these areas then a Pull Up will be a lot easier.

Improving grip strength will also be beneficial. When doing a Pull Up the grip width we decide to use is going to be crucial. For example, the wider the grip, the harder the movement. So, for your first pull up we recommend using a neutral grip.

During this blog you will see that it is broken down into two main sections. This is an exercise difficulty level. I would recommend everyone to start at Section One, however if you are currently able to perform 1-3 Pull Ups and wish to be able to do more, then starting at step two may be more beneficial for you.

Section one – Exercise to strengthen your prime movers

In this next part of the blog we will talk about the best exercises that will help strengthen those prime movers.

Inverted Row

The first exercise we will do to help improve Pull Up strength will be an inverted row. This exercise will help strengthen all those areas we mentioned previously. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to do an inverted row.

  1. Start by hanging from a bar shoulder width apart with your legs extended straight out in front
  2. Pull your chest towards the bar by squeezing your back and shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold at the top for 1 second and slowly lower down

Tip 1 – Focus on squeezing your shoulders back and down on this movement.

Tip 2 – To simply make this exercise harder, lower the bar or have your feet on a raised surface so that your body becomes more horizontal.

Kneeling Cable Pull Down

The next exercise variation we want to do in order to improve our pull up is a Kneeling Cable Pull Down. The reason a Kneeling version is superior to the traditional seated pull down is because the kneeling engages the core to a higher level and like we mentioned earlier, core strength is a limiting factor on why so many people can’t do a pull up.

  1. Start kneeling just in front of the cable with your hips stacked directly over your knees
  2. Pull the cable attachment (recommend a neutral/close grip) vertically down till it reaches your chest
  3. Hold at the bottom for 1 second and release slowly back up

Tip – When the arms are extended out above, try to initiate the movement by pulling your shoulders down towards your trouser pockets.

Grip Strength

The last exercise in this section is going to improve Grip Strength. Try holding a Dumbbell or Kettlebell etc as heavy as you can for 30-40secs. Perform this three times.

Our recommended structure to help you train to do a proper pull up:

Exercise Sets Reps
Inverted Row 3 8-10
Kneeling Cable Pull Down 3 10-12
Dumbbell Grip 3 30-40secs


Section 2 – How to utilise your bodyweight in order to train you to do a pull up

The next three exercises we will perform will utilise the most strength in order to help you train to do a pull up. These will help you to get stronger as you use your bodyweight.

Banded Pull Up

The first exercise will be a banded pull up. This exercise is the closest replica to a traditional pull up. This will also give you a good confidence boost.

  1. Tie a band around the top of your pull up bar
  2. From there, place your foot into the band
  3. Grab the bar in a neutral grip and allow the band to take your weight
  4. Pull yourself up from the bottom all the way until your chin comes over the bar

Remember with Banded Pull Ups to change the resistance of the band every so often in order for the exercise to keep challenging you.

Scapular Pull Up

The second exercise to help strengthen your pull up will be a Scapular Pull Up. These are a great exercise to help strengthen the lower traps as they help move and stabilise the Scapular. This exercise will also help grip strength.

  1. Hang on a bar (neutral grip)
  2. Let shoulders relax down into a dead hang
  3. Try to pull body up by pulling the shoulders down without bending the elbows
  4. Hold at the top for a second and then come back down slowly

This exercise has a very short range of motion so don’t be alarmed if you feel like you aren’t doing much! This exercise replicates the first portion of the Pull Up known as Scapular Depression (bringing the shoulder blades down).

Negative Pull Up

And the last exercise to help strengthen will be a Negative Pull Up. Negative Pull Ups are a great way at getting you stronger holding your own body weight.

  1. Start at the top of a pull up position (you can jump up or use a box to achieve this)
  2. From there slowly lower yourself all the way down into the bottom position/hang
  3. Bring yourself back up to the top position by means of jumping or using a box again and repeat
Exercise Sets Reps
Banded Pull Ups 4 8
Scapular Pull Ups 3 10
Negative Pull Ups 3 5

With both of these workout programs you don’t need to perform every exercise each session. What I would recommend is alternating each session between picking 1-2 of the exercises and performing those in order to help you train to do a pull up.

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