Jen Rulon

On the 2nd Day of #RulonRules, Coach Jen gave to me:

Learn How to do a Strict Pull-Up


Either you LOVE pull-ups or you HATE pull-ups. I love strict pull-ups being used as part of the strength portion of your workout. Why? What muscles do swimmers use for the front crawl swim stroke? The exact same muscles:

  • Trapezius
  • Deltoid
  • Pectoralis Major
  • Triceps
  • Latissimus Dorsi


Pull-ups are hard for a lot of athletes. So here are my suggestions:

If you can do a strict pull-up: I would like for you to do at least 10 strict pull-ups. Too easy? Challenge yourself and start adding some weight to your pull-ups. Place a dumbbell between your feet or your knees. Start off small: 5 – 10 lbs of weight, and knock out 5 pull-ups. If you can knock out 5 pull-ups, then increase to 6, 7, etc.; up to 10 pull-ups with the weight that you started off with.

If you CANNOT do a strict pull-up: Negative Pull-Ups. Make sure your grip is pronated, jump up to the bar, and make sure your chin is over the bar. Then slowly lower yourself for 10-20 seconds.

Another alternative to pull-ups is inverted row. What is an inverted row?

Make sure your shoulders are under the bar. Extend your legs straight out. If this is too hard, then bend your legs at a 90 degree angle. Make sure you have full extension in the arms with your hands pronated. Pull your chest to the bar and lower. Make sure you do not lose tension in the core and back. We want to maintain an “upside down plank.” With this exercise, the athlete is strengthening the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, deltoid, and pectoralis major. This exercise is a great alternative to pull-ups!

Any questions? Shoot me an email,


AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I am Jen Rulon, a Coach, Kona Finisher and a Public Speaker. I’ve been coaching triathletes for 18+ years and I received my Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. I train triathletes to reach their potential and coach triathlon coaches to successfully grow their businesses using my own proven methods. My knowledge has been featured in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach — I’m a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on October 14, 2017.

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