How To Build Muscle To Develop The Perfect Pull-Up

Perfect the pull-up by taking on this workout circuit. Your arms will thank you for it.

A complete programme for mastering the classic exercise to strengthen your back, arms and shoulders.


Complete 2 rounds of this circuit.

The standing wall slide fires up your upper back, while the reverse plank hits your glutes, abs, and lower back.

Rest 15 seconds between moves.

Standing Wall Slide

workout arms pull up wall slide

Stand with your upper back against a wall. Raise both arms overhead (hands beyond shoulder width).

Press them against the wall. This is the starting position. Lower your upper arms until your elbows are below shoulder height. Return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep – do 10.

Reverse Plank

plank workout arms pull up abs

Sit on the floor with your legs extended and feet together. Put your hands under your shoulders, fingers pointing backward. Keeping your arms straight, tighten your glutes and raise your hips so your body is straight from ankles to shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds.

Related: The Zero-Gear Workout That Will Bulletproof Your Shoulders, Build Super Strength, And Improve Mobility


To build strength in your back and biceps, perform these two moves either as part of this workout or 
in your normal routine.

Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Lat Pull-down

lat pull down workout gym arms

Sit at a lat pull-down station, pick a moderate weight, and grasp the bar using an overhand grip. Without moving your torso, pull the bar to your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 1 second; then slowly return the bar to the start. Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Alternating Dumbbell Row

arms workout dumbbell rows

Stand holding 12kg dumbbells. Fold at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, the dumbbells hanging at arm’s length. Pull the right dumbbell straight up to the side of your torso, lower it, and repeat with the left. That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 10 to 12.

Related: 10 Ways You Can Use 5kg Dumbbells To Transform Your Physique

The Benchmark

Start a 10-minue timer. Do 1 pull-up and 10 burpees; that’s round 1.

Each round, add a pull-up and subtract a burpee as you strive toward the 1oth round – 10 pull-ups, 1 burpee.


pull up arms workout

Hang from a bar using an overhand grip, your arms slightly beyond shoulder width. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and squeeze your shoulder blades. Slowly lower your body back to a hang. Can’t keep going? Release the bar and stretch for a moment; then jump and continue.


burpee workout arms

Stand with your feet slightly beyond shoulder-width apart. Squat, place your hands on 
the floor, and kick your legs back wide into a push-up position. Do a push-up, and as you raise your torso, jump your feet back between your hands and stand up. That’s 1 burpee.

Related: This Elite Rugby Training Plan Will Help You Build Muscle That Rivals SA’s Top Athletes

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