Can’t Do Pullups (REAL REASON WHY!)

Can’t Do Pullups (REAL REASON WHY!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Athlean-X.com. The pull up, by far, one of the best exercises
that you could do, but so many people struggle to do it. As a matter of fact, if you flip
your hands up underneath and do a chin up you might find that you’re able to do a hell
of a lot more than you can of the pull up. The fact is, people are puzzled by why that
is. I’ll tell you today, the answer doesn’t even rely on your back, but probably in your
arm. You see, one of the biggest problems that people have when they’re trying to do
pull ups is a weakness in the brachia radialis muscle. That’s a muscle that runs from our upper arm
down, it crosses our forearm and then inserts down here in our forearm. So you can see it’s
this muscle right here. You can grab that wad of muscle right up in there and that’s’
what we’re talking about. When it operates the most is when we’re in
a pronated position and then we’re flexing our elbow, or bending our elbow. What are
we doing here when we’re doing a pull up? We get in this position here, we’re in a pronated
position, hands over, we go here and our arms are straight, elbows are pretty much straight,
and then when we come up we’re flexing the elbow into this pronated position. You can see, I think, from there that this
muscle pops out a lot. If you’ll come up here I’ll show you. Again, when I do a pull up
I come down and you see it pops out right here, again, with that pronated grip. If I go underhand I don’t have that anymore.
That contribution is gone. So it’s here that when I come down, every time I pull a lot
of pull is being exerted through that muscle. If you have a weakness there you’re going
to struggle to do pull ups where you might be able to still continue to do chin ups.
What are you supposed to do in order to get better at pull ups? Well, I always advocate doing pull ups because
doing the exercise is going to strengthen the muscles that are required for the exercise. So you might want to put the resistance band
on the pull up bar and allow yourself to unweight some of the bodyweight that you’re trying
to lift and get better that way. You could certainly do exercises directly
for the brachia radialis and most of them are probably ones that you’ve done before,
but a lot of times we ignore them because we stick to the same old exercises like bicep
curls. It would be more of a reverse curl. So you
have your hands overhand, this way, and then you reverse curl up, backward. You can go
into a hammer curl here, where you come up in this neutral grip position. So the thumb is in line here with my arm and
I come up and do a hammer curl – straight up and down – or you could do a hammer curl
and then pronate it and go down slow you get that eccentric in here through that muscle. Whatever you do, you just want to make sure
that you’ve got this pronated grip here whether you maintain that through the whole thing,
or have to work in the beginning to supinate on the way up first. This is your strength – your bicep here
– but then pronate on the way down. That might be where you want to start. The idea
is: don’t neglect that muscle if you’re trying to get better at the pull up exercise. A lot of times, because it’s not something
that’s right here in our back that we’re focusing on when we do the exercise, a lot of us will
ignore it and forget all about it. Not here at Athlean-X, guys. Not if you want
to start training like an athlete and overlook nothing in your training, you want to make
sure you’re doing everything you need to do to optimize what you’re doing here in the
gym. All right, guys. If you’re looking for a complete
training program that shows you step by step how to get the most out of everything you
do, whether it be a pull up, or a squat, or any workout you’re doing; that’s my job as
a physical therapist to make sure I can show you the best way to get there and how to get
there the safest way. You can find that over at AthleanX.com. In
the meantime, if you found this video helpful make sure you leave your comments and thumbs
up below and I’ll do my best to bring the things that you guys want to see here in the
coming weeks ahead. I’ll talk to you soon.

100 comments on “Can’t Do Pullups (REAL REASON WHY!)

  1. Joel Bäckman Post author

    Therefore rows with the overhand grip is perfect for building pullup strength. It builds the brachioradialis, the lats, traps and romboids.

    Reply
  2. Dr. Clown Post author

    What he's saying … You gotta have muscles … Your muscles gotta have muscles … You gotta have muscles on your eyeballs … 😉😁😄

    Reply
  3. Dragon Post author

    I would be posting about my pullups
    Day1 : 3feb19 : I just hanged on the pullup bar 20sec max I holded x3
    wait for day2 🙂

    Reply
  4. Egenio Jaramillo Post author

    people are puzzled why you can do one, but not the other? Because they are completely different exercises and muscle uses lol

    Reply
  5. Turboterttu Post author

    Thanks a lot this helped me soo much I easily did 4-5 chin ups but struggled to do even one pull up and now I know why! 💗

    Reply
  6. SGN_ _047 Post author

    Hey, I had my right shoulder dislocated like 6 months ago, and when I try to do pull-ups, my right shoulder hurts and kind of feels plus my pull-ups frequency have fallen drastically. Followed by my drastic fall in pull-ups frequency, I saw another video of yours about activation of the back muscles and I tried doing that, but even there my shoulders felt weird. What do you think I should do?

    Reply
  7. SuperMerlot Post author

    I don't know about this, training that muscle alone did not do it for me. I have very very thin forearms/wrists and was not able to do more than 1 pull up. After a pull up focused training I was able to get to 10. Not much visible change happened to my upper forearm but the biceps are better now. Ironically the training I used was pull up or shut up by athlean x.

    Reply
  8. mike lang Post author

    this explains it.. i only learned about the revers curls recently and ive always been able to do 10ish chin ups in a row but 2 pull ups was my max, i wouldnt get tired from it either, i just wasnt strong enough to get through the exercise but its that weak link that i need to focus on now

    Reply
  9. Iuri Earp Post author

    You forgot to talk about the brachialis muscle, in my non scientific opinion it makes a big difference, both for pronated pull ups and all around upper body pulling strength, but it' hidden and not a beach muscle so nobody cares, big mistake.

    Reply
  10. C JW Post author

    Very helpful video. I've been making progress on everything other than Pullups. I have nerve damage from a car wreck a few years ago but the muscle has grown a little. I'll focus on getting it stronger.

    Reply
  11. Jesse Jordan Post author

    My god. Literally that muscle is so soft and weak in my arm!!!! Explains so much. Thanks 🙏

    Reply
  12. Abin Babu Post author

    Help me yesterday I went to gym for the first time now I'm not able to do anything my hands are paining please help me

    Reply
  13. goalposthead79 Post author

    fantastic, problem solved. thanks jeff, its always my forearms that burn out first when doing chin ups.

    Reply
  14. raymund usi Post author

    Dammit, that forearm muscle only appears when I lift a dumbell, on normal days it wont come out

    Reply
  15. Holyvessel34 Post author

    So this is the reason why I can only do 10 pull ups and 15 chin ups. Make sense now.

    Reply
  16. Ivan Talafuk Post author

    This is on point. I am struggling with almost all triceps exercises due to the forearm pain and the pain is located in the same area of this muscle. This is probably my weak spot.

    Reply
  17. robert rainford Post author

    I have a question I did my bicep and forearm yesterday and did a bench press today. Does the bench press work your biceps also

    Reply
  18. Jase Poe Post author

    imagine not having this muscle at all because it was broke in half in a bad injury. The arm will work without it, but you will notice its gone.

    Reply
  19. TJ Avagliano Post author

    I do 10 sets of 20 wide grip pull ups every other day.
    And yes I just came here to brag. 😂😂
    Love you Jeff, always get great nuggets of info from you to incorporate in my routine.
    I’ve had much progress since I’ve started watching your vids and wouldn’t be able to do all those pull ups if it weren’t for you

    Reply
  20. dave Post author

    thanks i'm starting a to increase pullups to my workouts. I have been doing pushups and running mainly with abs. Seated Wrist flexes activate that muscle as well or those hand grip strengthener devices.

    Reply
  21. Antoinette Salazar Post author

    I’ve never been able to do a pull up and I will definitely use this video to strengthen the correct muscles. I’ve been working so hard on my back… wrong!!!

    Reply
  22. L Sutton Post author

    For now on im just gonna watch athleen x. He breaks down the science of the workout and thw reason. And he keeps it real about nutrition and supplements.

    Reply
  23. Josh Stewart Post author

    thank god finally someone that straight up says what muscle to train insted of all these video's of people saying "just keep trying and you'll get it at some point" like what? i need to know how to train for it. thanks jeff

    Reply
  24. Lukas T Post author

    Ouch. I didnt even know there is a muscle too. I allways did chin ups, they were quite easy for me, but couldn´t do single pull up. Now i want to finally do them, so I am seeking information how. This is the first and only video so far with this information… Past few weeks of home workouts I quite often wonder why is my arm "burning/hurt" (where you describe) when I tried to do under bar pull ups. Now i know. 🙂 Thank you.

    Reply
  25. Mark Owen Post author

    I have some nasty tendonitis in my forearm from doing too many pull-ups. I love pull-ups – perhaps a bit too much.

    Reply
  26. Darkstar937 Post author

    That pain comes from this muscle???!!! DAAAAAMN it's so painful I have the impression it comes from my bone. No wonder I can only do 2 pull ups without resistance band.

    Reply
  27. Jacob Garcia Post author

    0:58 Jeff doesnt need a anatomy chart to show which muscle. He is already so ripped that he can show it directly

    Reply
  28. Joseph Bentley Post author

    In my early 20s I never got why there was pullup assist machines in gyms…but in mid 30s, I understand why!

    Reply
  29. Report Butter Post author

    Jeff Cavalier please help me! I can't do pull ups and biceps curl at all I have big pain for many years I still train but never pull up or biceps. Please help me I have pain in biceps and mostly in bone bellow wrist just bellow big finger

    Reply

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