T Nation

One Arm Pull Ups Warm Up


Hi everyone,
first of all, I did a bit of a search and it seemed that this could be the right section for my question. If it's not, feel free to move it or delete it.
Now, then.

As a climber, one of the tests that I use to measure my training progresses is doing one arm pull ups.
I find it very, very, very difficult to find a good, efficient warm up.
I have had the most random results, from setting personal bests at the end of a bouldering competition, to not being able to leave the ground despite being fully rested and specifically warmed up (at least this is what I thought).
Aside from a general warm up, how would you move on?
Of course I believe some normal pull ups should be done, but how many?

Would you do some full body efforts, like maybe deadlifts, or front levers, something that really really recruits a lot both in terms of muscles and in terms of central nervous system?
Should I do some very fast normal pull ups?
Many thanks for the replies.

  1. Regular pull ups. Slow and controlled. Pause at the top and bottom. Really focus on “tightness” and keeping your shoulders “packed”.

You can also pull yourself towards your left or right hand instead of towards the middle of your hands. Or pull to the left hand, keep your chin over the bar then shift your body to the right until your chin is over your right hand. You can lower yourself from here, or even work yourself back to the left.

  1. Hand and a half style. Hold the bar with 1 hand, and hold that wrist with your other hand. Focus on preventing yourself from “rotating” around the hand that’s holding the bar.

  2. Offset Pull ups. Hold on to the bar with 1 hand. The other hand holds a towel, or rope or anything you can set up to keep that 2nd hand lower than the first. This way the higher arm does more work. The off arm kinda supports and helps out. The more it’s offset, the less it will help.

You could also try pulling up with 2 arms, then holding the top position, or lowering yourself with 1 arm.

This is the strongman forum, so maybe use tacky?


Cheers Farmer, will give it a go this afternoon!
So you wouldn’t do anything for total body recruitment?
Was also thinking about jumps.

P.s. I had to google for “tacky”. It was a good one, though.


Maybe something full body would be good. I know you use lots of and when you chin. Maybe something like “stir the pot” or hanging leg raises to fire up your mid section?

Maybe a few jumps would be good too. Athletes of all kinds bounce around before competitions.

What about upper back warm up stuff like band pull aparts or Cuban presses or something?

I’ve never really treated pull ups like an “event.” But I usually do them after I have already warmed up and done another lift or two. Try some chins after sprints some time and see if they feel easier.


Try cliffhangers. They’re pullups with a mixed grip and instead of facing the bar your body is turned and your line of sight should run parallel to the bar. When you pull yourself up the shoulder on the side that has the underhand grip should touch the bar. This obviously activates one lat more than the other, but it also trains the asymmetrical core stabilization a one arm pullup requires. If you’re already proficient at one arms these are probably easy enough for a warm up


Cheers guys, all good info.
Gave it a go yesterday afternoon, did my general warm up and then something progressively more specific, with some full body thrown in. A few easy deadlifts and some muscle snatches, then normal pullups, then the variations you mentioned.

I was feeling very good, but when I went for the one armers both my elbows started aching quite bad especially in the negative phase and I immediately stopped.
My shoulders were making horrible creaky sounds also.

Very disappointed.
I’ll stick to normal pullups but will go for max speed instead, and will keep working with straigh arms like with front levers and ab-rolls. I found that straight arm worl does magic for pulling power.

Fortunately the elbows problems that I clearly have do not affect my climbing, so I think I’d better sack the one armers and enjoy this period of form on the rock!
Anyway, many thanks for the advices, keep them coming, I’ll surely keep checking the thread.


I did at one point try and achieve 1 arm chin up without success . Well I got close.
I suggest a warm up with bungee cord so you can exceed your one arm chinning capability. It’s what I used to try to build up to a one arm chin. It gets the elbows warmed up.