Beginner Calisthenics Pull Workout

Take the guesswork out of learning how to do pull-ups. Simply follow this beginner calisthenics pull workout 2-3 times a week for 8-10 weeks, and you’ll unlock your first 1-5 pull-ups.

Calisthenics Equipment Needed

  • A Pull-Up Bar. I’m using the Fit!Home Gym in this workout.
  • Resistance Bands. I’m using Movement Made’s. Discount Code Summerunfifntess.
  • Something to do rows under. If you don’t have Dip Bars, you can do them under a sturdy kitchen table, place a dowel between two chairs, or substitute for banded rows.
  • A Yoga Mat (or carpet).

Beginner Calisthenics Workout to Get Your First 1-5 Pull-Ups

Today’s follow along beginner calisthenics workout will take you exactly 45 minutes, warm-up and cool down included.

Calisthenics Warm-Up Routine

A. Lateral Lunges
8 reps, end with a 10s hold
B. Long Lunges
8 reps, end with a 10s hold
C. Squat to Forward Fold
8 reps, end with a 10s hold
D. Asian Squat
8 reps, end with a 10s hold

E1. Forearm Scap Push-Ups
8 reps, 2 sets, no rest
E2. Cat Cows
4 reps, 2 sets, no rest

F. Wrist Warm-Up
2 Mins

G. Overhead Shoulder Mobility
6 lifts into 6 shrugs, 2 sets

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

Calisthenics Workout

A1. Active Hang
A2. Hollow Body Holds
20s, 2 sets, 60s rest

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

B. Negative Pull-Ups
3 reps, 8s lowers, 3 sets, 120s rest

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

C1. Australian Rows
8 reps, end with a hold
C2. Incline Push-Ups
8 reps, 3 sets, 60s rest

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

D. Banded Pull-Ups
5 reps, 3 sets, 120s rest

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

Cool Down

A1. Scorpion Pec Stretch
6 twists and a 30s hold
A2. Gymnastics Shoulder Stretch
30s, 2-3 sets

I encourage you to do a longer cool down if you have time for it. In my cool downs, I try to do one backbend, one spinal twist, a forearm stretch, front and middle splits (lunges and horse stance welcome) and a shoulder stretch.

calisthenics athlete showing the difference between a crow and crane pose

How to Progress This Workout

In case you didn’t already know, you need to continually make your workouts harder, in order to see improvement. This is the concept known as “Progressive Overload.”

Not seeing progress on your pull-ups?

Chances are, you’ve had a few exercises and stretches reach a plateau, meaning you haven’t seen any progress on them in years. Yes, this applies to stretching, too – if you don’t make your stretches harder, you won’t see any improvement once you’ve adapted to the stretch. This is certainly something I’ve seen in terms of my splits. It took me 13 months to get them; since then, all I’ve done is maintain them. To progress my splits, I’d need to start training oversplits (which I just started doing).

How does this apply to this workout?

Well, if you’re doing this beginner calisthenics pull workout to earn your first 5 pull-ups, you need to continue to make the workout harder to see improvement over time.

As this is a singular workout and not a complete calisthenics program, adding progressive overload is your responsibility. If you don’t want to worry about planning your own workouts or learning how to progress them, sign up for my Beginner Calisthenics Program, where I take care of all that!

Girl hanging from a bar in an l-sit advertising beginner calisthenics program.

How to Progress From Banded Pull-Ups to Bodyweight

Here’s an example of how you can progress today’s calisthenics workout weekly to see continuous results:

Week 1: Perform the workout 2 times per week as is

Week 2: Use a lighter band for the negative pull-ups

Week 3: Use a lighter band for the first few reps of banded pull-ups

Week 4: Repeat Week 3

Week 5: Do all the negatives without a band, aiming for 4-8 second lowers

Week 6: Perform the first of each banded pull-up without a band

Week 7: Repeat Week 6

Week 8: Perform the pull-ups without a band for as many reps as possible. Then, add a very light band when needed, then a heavier band towards the end. Remember, you are trying to do these all body weight one day!

Make sure you’re progressing with the other exercises as well. Eventually, you’ll want to do the Australian rows with your feet elevated and the hollow body holds fully extended. 

Australian row progressions

Why I Use To Hate Banded Pull-Ups

When I first made learning how to do pull-ups my goal, I was jaded and, frankly, uneducated. I saw many people using bands for pull-ups without ever getting strong enough to do them bodyweight. And, because I didn’t want to get stuck using a band, I refused. Which made my journey so much longer…

Because let’s face it. For most of us, the first time you do a negative pull-up, you simply CAN’T. You just come crashing down super fast with no ability to slow down. Let’s say you lower for 1 second; it would take 60 reps to hit just 60 seconds of work…which, as you can tell, is a very ineffective way to learn how to do pull-ups.  

What To Do Instead:
Use a band and work towards 8-second negatives for 3 reps for 3-4 sets. When you can do that, lighten the band and work back up to 8 seconds. Eventually, pair bodyweight with banded reps to hit your total sets until you can do all the reps without a band. Using the band, paired with progressive overload, will help you achieve your pull-up much faster than just performing 1-second negatives. 

The same goes for banded pull-ups. First, learn the movement by using a band to hit 5 really good form pull-ups, then slowly, over time, lighten the band for a few reps, then add support as needed. Eventually, do all your reps with a light band, then all body weight. 

Additional Pull-Up Exercises:
If you’re serious about getting your pull-up, add in scap pulls, active hangs and banded lat pull-downs. 

girl doing pull-ups

I hope you loved this beginner calisthenics pull workout. You can either follow along on YouTube, or download the free workout sheet. If you’re serious about learning how to do pull-ups without a band, then join my 8 week beginner calisthenics program. Or check out my other free beginner calisthenics workouts.