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Essentials of a Pull-Up with Dr. Zach Long

Everyone remembers that first pull-up. Never perfect, often not so pretty. But once your chin glides over the top of the bar, nothing else matters. Whether you've just started strength training or you have 20 chin-ups under your belt, you're going to love this chat today. I interviewed Strength and Conditioning Coach and DPT Zachary Long to discuss all things pull-ups.

We dig into the essentials of a solid pull-up, tackle exercises that will help you get there, discuss some common issues we see as coaches, and also talk about how cool it is to work on these skills regardless if you ever get a pull-up or not-- and also how it's no big deal if a pull-up never happens.

I always learn a ton when talking with Zach, so I can't wait for you to watch this interview.


Discussion Timestamps:

0:00 - Welcome & introduction with Kellie Davis

2:18 - Zach's welcome and introduction

4:15 - Let's dig into the nuts and bolts of the pull-up

5:40 - First pull-up primers: how to work into your 1st pull-up

6:45 - Improving form once you reach that first pull-up milestone

11:00- Starting position clarifications: define "active hang"

12:35 - How to avoid the dreaded shoulder shrug

14:00 - Eccentric work

14:45 - Digging deeper into the hollow hold (check out THIS pic for an illustration)

18:00 - Appearance and role of the anterior core with the hollow hold

21:15 - Favorite regressions to build up to initial pull-up strength  (See: Toe Assisted Pull-Ups, Smith Machine/Rack Chin Ups, & Supine Hollow Body Band Pull-Down)

24:45 - Assistance exercises for true beginners

27:12 - Mind-muscle connection

28:55- Assistant exercise and pull-up frequency

32:00 - Wrap up and final thoughts on pull-up mastery

You can check out Zach's NEW comprehensive pull-up article with detailed demonstrations HERE.

About Zach:

Zach Long, DPT SCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Sports Specialist. Zach’s broad range of experience includes coaching at the high school and collegiate levels to helping clients achieve optimum injury-free performance by combining the worlds of strength and conditioning and physical therapy.

You can learn more about Zach and his North Carolina clinic at

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