What’s your pull up score (and how to make it higher)

Pull Up Score = 0

You have no doubt heard the story already – Sam Bennett, one of the top prospects for this year’s NHL entry draft failed to get even one pull up at the Central Scouting Combine this year.  Now, I doubt that a team is going to pass this kid over based on his pull up ability – any NHL strength coach can get him strong enough to do pull ups.

Even Two Reps Can Be A Victory

But…imagine having eyes on you – people evaluating you – and you fail to register even one rep.  Many years ago I had an agent for a projected first rounder pay me quite a bit of money to get his athlete to the point where he could do one repetition of the 145lbs Bench Press test.

We only had a month to do it and on the first try, it looked like the bar was attacking him.  He lowered the bar to his chest – not bad – but when he tried to push it up again, that thing pinned him down with his legs kicking and body squirming every which way.  It was not pretty.

We were able to build it up and by the time the Combine rolled around he actually got TWO reps, which isn’t much to brag about, BUT it beats making the newspaper for not getting even one rep.

You Can Do This…

If you are trying to play hockey at a competitive level, you should be fit enough that you can do bodyweight pull-ups (at least one).  This is an indicator of your strength to body weight ratio.

I put together a really short video for you showing the difference between Chin Ups (let you use more biceps) and Pull Ups (require more involvement of your mid-back) and one of the strategies we use at Revolution Conditioning to get players up to speed with this challenging exercise.  I will give you some more tips below the video as well…

If you can’t see the video in the player above, just click on the link below…

Other Tricks Of The Trade

If you want to get better at Pull Ups, then do Pull Ups – you need to practice them and here are some of the variations we use to help players like you get more proficient:

    • Isometric holds at the top – do a pull up and hold the top position for 3 seconds, then lower down.  Do 3-6 reps.
    • Slow eccentrics – do a pull up or even use assistance to get to the top and then lower yourself over a count of 4-5 seconds.  Do 3-6 reps.
    • Dead Hang Reverse Shrug – hang from the bar with a pull up grip, practice pulling your shoulders down and back to initiate the pull up.  You will not bend your arms at all, you will just pull those shoulder blades down and back.  Your body will only move about one inch.  Slowly lower back to the starting position.  Do 6 reps.

Be Ready…

Some of you will be tested before your season – be ready.  Even if your failure to perform in testing does not cost you a spot on the roster, would you rather be the talk of the coaches’ office for how prepared you are for the season?  Or for how poorly you did on your testing?  I know which one I would pick.


PS – if you cannot do a single pull up, but need to be ready to compete this hockey season, then you should ask your trainer to add some supplemental work in that area.  You still have time to get that upper body strength that will help you win battles in the corner.  If you don’t have a step-by-step plan in place then I have put this one together specifically for skatersCLICK HERE