How to Perform a Band Assisted Pull Up

You know what's super cool? Having the strength to pull your own body weight up over a bar! Ever see those people in the gym crushing in on pull-ups or chin-ups, but think to yourself, 
"I could never build enough strength to do something like that."  I'll go off on a little tangent here and first say, THERE IS VIRTUALLY NO GLASS CEILING TO WHAT THE HUMAN BODY CAN DO.  Second, make a vow to screw negative words like "can't" and "never" and focus on WHAT YOU WANT and WHAT YOU ARE. If you omit negative frequencies into the universe, the universe will enhance more negativity into your life. Make sense? Focus on phrases like: I CAN, I WILL, I AM, I WANT... and watch your dreams turn into realities.

Flashback 7 years ago. I was a frail and exhausted marathoner who's idea of strength training was doing 50 biceps curls on a bosu ball (and there aint nothing wrong with that, if that is your thing and you feel GOOD). But I felt AWFUL. In fact, my body was falling apart. 

I made a vow to myself to get wicked strong... packed on 30lbs of muscle (well, mostly muscle... a little wine and chocolate there) in 7 years, and I am the strongest and fastest I have ever been.

Note: This is not a blog for me to boast about myself but to show you that we all have a story, and it is NEVER too late to push out that glass ceiling that you have created for yourself and jump on the road to FEELING and PERFORMING BETTER!

Without further adieu, here are my tips for how to perform a band assisted pull-up or chin-up. Using a band assist will help you reach your goal of being able to do a body weight pull-up. And with resilience, practice, and consistency, you CAN achieve this goal. Trust me ;-)


  • Start from the bottom hang position with your foot, feet, knee, or knees in band. You may use a box if you cannot reach the bar.
  • Keep your shoulders down to start. Avoid bringing them up by your ears.
  • Pull yourself up to the bar, maintaining steady and solid form. Avoid swinging or "kipping" yourself up to the bar. Contrary to popular belief, "kipping" or using momentum is, well.. lazy and stupid (in my opinion, anyway).
  • When you lower yourself down (eccentric phase of the movement), lower down slowly 2-4 seconds. Super important for engagement and increased load on the muscles. 
  • Pause at the bottom (while shoulders are down) and let yourself hang for 1-2 seconds before repeating the motion for the number of prescribed reps. 

Here's a video for you:

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort