Attack The Bar

Dead-Hang Pull-up IM_No Text

Believe it or not there was a time in my life when I did not train pull-ups, when I did not even know that I could do a pull-up, and when I did finally do a pull-up, (which was a neutral grip pull-up, not overhand grip) I was training sets of 1-2 repetitions per set.

Now I regularly train sets of 8-10 repetitions, sometimes even 12 per set,

My max set of bodyweight pull-ups, since the last time I tested it in January 2015 is 16 overhand grip pull-ups,

I can do a 24kg (53lbs) pull-up on call, any day, anytime,

and my heaviest weighted pull-up is 26kg (57lbs),


Soon to be 28kg (62lbs),

Not only have I trained myself to be a master of the pull-up, but I have helped many clients to achieve their goal of their first bodyweight pull-up and beyond, and even complete a 24kg (53lbs) pull-up. Below is a montage of some of my female clients showing us that women CAN indeed do pull-ups.

This video is from February 2013, and all of the women in the video have increased their pull-up strength, (see updates below), and yes the Lisa in this video is Tony Gentilcore’s fiancé Lisa crushing pull-ups.  I cannot take credit for Lisa’s pull-ups, she is a pull-up badass all on her own 🙂 .

Meghan can now do 5 pull-ups.

Alexa can now do 5 pull-ups.

Debbie can now do a 24kg pull-up.

Melinda can now do 8 pull-ups and a 12kg (26lbs) weighted pull-up.

Even though pull-ups are one of my strengths, I did not pop out of my mother’s womb with the ability to train multiple sets of 8 to 10 pull-ups.   I trained for it.  I started with one pull-up and worked up to 3 and then 5 and then so forth.  And then I got crazy and started to load my pull-ups!

I wish I could say that I remember doing pull-ups in gym class in elementary school when I was a child, but I don’t. My clearest memory is from 2008 when I completed a neutral grip pull-up for the first time. That was not that long ago, now was it? I was training for my black belt in kung fu and I was training with my personal trainer at the time. He had programmed in pull-ups for me that day. My thought process was, “I can’t recall ever doing a pull-up, but if he thinks I’m strong enough to do one, then I must be able to do one, so we shall see.”

Notice that my thought process was NOT, “I can’t do a pull-up.” Or “I don’t think I can do this because I’ve never done it before.”

It was, “Let’s see what I’ve got.”

Mindset is extremely important when it comes to a strength lift like pull-ups.

You have to have confidence that you CAN DO a pull-up, and not be afraid of getting up over the bar. You have to Attack The Bar.

My trainer, Isaac, picked me up to reach the bar and sure enough I completed my first neutral grip pull-up. It was very exciting and it motivated me to want to do more, to want to train to be able to do more.

From there, I trained pull-ups almost every time I trained, both neutral and overhand grip (once I was able), and my strength grew.

I started in 2008 with sets of 1 pull-up.

In 2009 this grew to sets of 3 pull-ups.

In 2011 this grew to sets of 6 pull-ups AND that year I started to train weighted pull-ups with 10 and 15 pounds.

Then in May 2012 I discovered that I could complete 8 bodyweight pull-ups, AFTER training weighted pull-ups and my max weighted pull-up increased to 16kg.

Then in November 2012 I discovered that my max set of bodyweight pull-ups was 12 pull-ups,

Which then increased to 14 pull-ups in August 2013,


Now, as I mentioned previously, my max set of pull-ups is 16 pull-ups.

Based upon the program that I wrote for myself and followed, I averaged about a 2 pull-up increase per year, and a 15% increase in strength for my max weighted pull-up every 6-8 months.

Building this strength did not happen overnight. It took making pull-ups a priority in my training, proper programming, a proper balance of bodyweight pull-ups and weighted pull-up volume (once I was training both), consistent training, dedication, and a confident, positive, “CAN-DO” mindset.

Often when I help a female client train to be able to do her first pull-up, she will approach the bar with fear and trepidation; fear that society and the media has instilled in her from constantly drilling home that women lack the strength and ability to do pull-ups.  Very rarely do I have a female client who wants to do a pull-up walk up to the bar and attack her first pull-up, assisted or not.  A huge part of helping a woman to be able to do a pull-up is to instill the confidence that she can indeed do this and to attack the flippin’ bar!  ATTACK IT! That’s what I tell women.  “What are you afraid of, attack the bar!  Attack that pull-up!” 

I do not see this hesitation as much, if ever in men, mostly in women. This does not mean that pull-ups aren’t hard for men as well, they can be, however, I see my female clients want to shy away from the bar far more often then my male clients. That is until they get a taste of victory from their first assisted or unassisted pull-up!

Often people ask me, “Artemis, what do you think about when you go to do a pull-up, particularly a weighed pull-up?”

My response, “I look at the bar and I think, I am going to attack that m*therf*ckin’ bar! THAT’s what I think about.”

And it works.

Do you want to learn how to be a master at the pull-up?

Do you want a pull-up program that will help you to build strength, skill, speed, explosiveness, and positive mindset for the strongest pull-ups of your life?

Then I hope that you will sign up for my Attack The Bar Pull-up Program on You will not be disappointed.

There are three levels available:

Attack The Bar Pull-up Program Level I

Level I is a beginner 12-week pull-up program appropriate for people who are not able to do an unassisted bodyweight pull-up yet (with any grip). The program teaches essential hanging, core movements, and band assisted pull-ups to help build strength for an un-assisted pull-up. Completion of the program will have you well on your way to complete at least one unassisted bodyweight pull-up (with any grip).

Sign up HERE ==>

Attack The Bar Pull-up Program Level II

This is an intermediate 12-week pull-up program appropriate for people who are able to complete 1-3 unassisted overhand grip bodyweight pull-ups and 2-3 unassisted underhand grip or neutral grip bodyweight pull-ups. The program builds unassisted pull-up strength and volume and incorporates essential core movements for building strength and volume for unassisted pull-ups. During the last month of the program, you will have built enough strength to train a combination of both unassisted bodyweight pull-ups and weighted pull-ups.

Sign up HERE ==>

Attack The Bar Pull-up Program Level III

This is an advanced 12-week pull-up program appropriate for people who are able to complete 5 unassisted overhand grip bodyweight pull-ups, 5 unassisted underhand grip or neutral grip bodyweight pull-ups, and must also be able to regularly complete sets of 4, 3, 3 weighted pull-ups with 10lbs. The program builds both unassisted and weighted pull-up strength and incorporates essential core movements for building strength for unassisted and weighted pull-ups. As a result of increased unassisted and weighted pull-up strength, you will also increase your max set of unassisted bodyweight pull-ups. If you follow the first 6-weeks of the program as prescribed, then during the last 6 weeks of the program, you will experience up to a 10% increase in strength in terms of your max weighted pull-up as early as week 7 of the program.

Sign up HERE ==>

Join me for this three 3-level pull-up program, and you WILL learn how to Attack The Bar!


Join me for my workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift!

Coming to…

  • Columbus, Ohio on March 21, 2015
  • Hamden, Connecticut on March 29, 2015 (only 6 spots left available!!)
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 18, 2015

Read more and register HERE.

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