Pull-ups are unanimously the exercise that I hear most often that people want to get better at and simply, to do. The pull-up is challenging and it can be difficult to find the best place to start, especially if you can’t do one. This is where the falling star comes in. You may ask, “why is it called the falling star?” The answer is simple, it sounds a lot better than “eccentric pull-up” or “negative pull-up”, which is essentially what it is.
Why should you learn the falling star?
- It is a simple way to start training pull-ups without bands or other equipment
- Your body is stronger in eccentric motions (going down) so you will be able to perform multiple reps in each set
- Your body will get stronger in the pulling portion of the pull-up by spending time getting stronger in the eccentric part (the returning from the top to the bottom hang)
- It reinforces a return to the full hang as opposed to cutting the movement short
- You get to do an exercise with an awesome name like “falling star”
Here is how to perform the falling star:
- Using the ground or a box to get above the bar, start at the top position of the pull-up with your chin over the bar, your hands just outside your shoulders and your palms facing the wall in your grip.
- Take your feet away from the ground/box and slowly, lower yourself to the starting position of a pull-up until your arms are straight and you are in a dead-hang position
- Make sure as your lower yourself, you are going as slowly as you can, each rep should be five seconds or longer. (Pro tip – Keep your core tight and your glutes engaged to maintain stability)
- Use the ground or a box to reset with your chin over the bar and start again
While this is a great place to start developing strength for pull-ups, you may need something to make it easier to help you get started.
No problem, here are two suggestions for the falling star:
Bottom-Hang – Keep it simple, place your hands on the bar in the positions described above and just hang. While this sounds easy when it’s described, it is very effective in building the fundamental strength needed to perform hanging exercises like the falling star and the pull-up. Start with 30 second hangs, three to four sets and build from there.
Top-Hang – Another simple regression, start in the top position described above and just hang. This is challenging and you don’t spend a lot of time at the top of a pull-up, usually you blast through it so you can get back to the bottom. Being strong at the top will help you progress to the falling star and set you up to feel better at the end of each pull-up once you are able to start cranking them out. Start with 15 second hangs, three to four sets and build from there.
Everyone wants to be able to crank out at least one great pull-up and upper body strength, especially pulling strength, is essential for practical strength in the real world. Get stronger here and all your pulling related problems become just a little bit lighter!
And falling stars are great for training grip strength, which you will need to conquer your Tough Mudder course. Haven’t signed up yet. Lock your spot in here.