Learning How to Do a Pull-Up as a 316-Pound Woman

Hello, I want to learn how to do pull ups. Every workout program that I see or buy has pull ups in them and while I know i can just ignore them, I would like to try but I don’t know how to go about advancing for the pull up as my weight makes it hard for me to hang for a long time. I cannot do 1 pull up at all.

Any advice is greatly welcomed.

Can you hang for 5 seconds? 15? 45?

Typical progression involves hanging until you can hang for 30-60 seconds.
Then (or meanwhile), assisted pullups or heavy, low-rep lat pulldowns until you come closer to your bodyweight for 2-3 reps.
Meanwhile also, general diet control, cardio and strength training, which will further reduce your bodyweight making pullups more achievable.

I can hang for 2-3 seconds

Okay, thank you for that information. I’ll put this to practice.

Be realistic. You must improve your hang before you can progress to the pullup.
Weight loss will help with this.
The stresses on your grip from accelerating your body upward are much higher than simply hanging; and a pullup takes 3 seconds if you’re grinding.
Hang multiple times per day.

I forgot to address something in the original post.
DO the programs you have read or bought. ANY program. In place of pullups do lat pulldowns. Don’t allow yourself to “wait until i can do a pullup and then start”. That is letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.


Okay, will do. Thank you allot. I start my program tomorrow. I’ll do what I know I can do and just stick with it. Thank you again.

1 Like

Hello there,
Learning to do pull-ups as a 316-pound woman can be challenging, but with dedication and a structured approach, it’s definitely achievable.
Before starting any new exercise routine, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, preferably one who specializes in fitness or physical therapy. They can assess your current physical condition and provide personalized guidance.
Focus on strengthening your back and arm muscles through exercises like lat pulldowns, seated rows, and bicep curls. Building a solid foundation will make pull-ups easier over time.

I hope this will be helpful to you.

1 Like

I don’t agree here. It is possible for OP to do a pull up, but I don’t think it is at 316 lbs. She is going to need to lose 100+ lbs for pull ups to be realistic (TBH, it is probably 150 lbs). I am a fairly well trained male, who has at least okay strength (with gym lifts, I’ve totaled over 1,500 lbs), and I can’t add weight to the point that I can do 316 lbs total . I know some very strong women (one who is top 10 in the 220 lb weight class for raw powerlifting), and she isn’t even close to being able to do a pull up with an additional 100 lbs. This is a woman I’ve seen bench over 300 lbs, and squat and deadlift over 500 lbs. I think I’ve seen her do sets of 5 with BW, and she is one of the strongest women alive and 100 lbs less.

I would recommend diet and cardio training until body weight is under about 180 lbs before even really trying to do pull ups for OP. Not trying to be a downer on OP, just trying to be realistic.


Hi Roberrtt,

I’ve just registered to T Nation because I can’t let this madness with ChatGPT continues. You obviously just copy pasted an answer from ChatGPT. Please don’t forget that the users are real people, with real questions.
This answer is pure ChatGPT mambo-jumbo and doesn’t help the conversation.
Please refrain from ChatGPT use in the future in these forums (or anywhere else in this matter)

I want to make it clear that the answer itself in this case is not bad. Everything that’s there is reasonable.
BUT it does not come from a real persons experience it was generated by an LLM aka ChatGPT. In case of using ChatGPT as source, the poster should make a disclaimer and do not present it as a real user answer.

Hello OP,

As others mentioned correctly from a pure pull-up performance standpoint losing weight is the most effective method. In your case it might not be advisable to focus too much on actually try to perform a pull up.
Others stated correctly that hanging is a natural step in order to achieve pull up but I’d argue that it is an intermediate step.

You should try strengthening your back muscles by lat pull downs on a machine.
In the meantime you can play with the angle of the pull movement
Here is a link for demonstration inverted rows

This exercise has a natural progression built in:
You can change the leg position to expose more of your upper body for the lift.

Doing both lay pull down and the variation mentioned above with weight loss will result in a successful pull-up overtime!! :muscle::muscle:

You can do this!!

1 Like