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Hey hey! Mark here, your wellness warrior, returning with February 2024 tips, tricks, and the lowdown on what’s happening in London for LGBTQIA folks. For those not in the know, I’m Mark, a personal trainer and the brains behind Workout with Pride – your go-to wellness hub for all things physical, mental, and social. Swing by and snag a free class using the code “qxfriend” on our website. 

pull-ups explained by Mark Hughes who is a gym instructor.

Though I may weaken at the knees when I encounter a man with thick thighs, I must admit that nothing surpasses the appeal of someone with a sturdy back and excellent posture. Regrettably, numerous individuals hit the gym but completely neglect exercises designed to enhance their posture. Thus, witnessing someone master various pull-ups leaves me in awe.

For me, the allure of pull-ups outweighs that of squats, deadlifts, or any other compound exercises. Pull-ups require consistent practice, and many people ultimately abandon the exercise for variations such as the lateral pulldown, hoping to develop enough muscle to excel at pull-ups.

As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and achieving your first pull-up commences with, well, doing a pull-up. Here are my top tips to assist you in attaining your inaugural pull-up.

Tip one. Humble yourself, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This takes time, so worry less that you might look like you’re struggling and just enjoy the process. 

pull-ups explained by Mark Hughes

  • Start with Assisted Pull-Ups:
    • Dust off the resistance bands you bought during lockdown and use them to assist you in the movement. Loop the band around the pull-up bar and place one foot or knee in it to reduce the amount of body weight you have to lift.
    • You can gradually switch to a lighter resistance band as you get stronger.
  • Negatives:
    • Jump up to the top position of the pull-up (chin above the bar) and slowly lower yourself down. This eccentric (negative) phase helps build strength.
    • Focus on controlling the descent rather than pulling up.
  • Scapular Retraction:
    • This one is my favourite; I give it to all my clients. Practice scapular retractions to strengthen the muscles responsible for the initial part of the pull-up. Hang from the bar and focus on pulling your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Inverted Rows:
    • Set up a bar at hip height or use a Smith machine. Lie underneath and pull your chest towards the bar.
    • This exercise targets similar muscles used in pull-ups and helps build strength.

All these steps will get you smashing your pull-ups in no time. Alternatively, you could book some personal training with me. Email me at

Take a photo or video of you doing a pull/chin up and SEND IT TO US @WORKOUTWITHPRIDE. Not only will we provide feedback on your form, but you’ll also be entered into our draw for a chance to win a 10-pack of classes!

In other updates, numerous wellness events are taking place in February, and it’s crucial to remember that wellness doesn’t solely revolve around exercise.

If you’re eager to express your creative flair, don’t miss the Queer Pottery Class with Clay Wild! This engaging workshop will teach participants various hand-building techniques, guiding them in personalising their creations. Each month has a unique theme, such as crafting a body pot for self-love in February or making a vase in March. By the end of the class, you’ll receive tips on how to decorate your creations at home once they’re dry.

To enrol in a class, just visit their website at:

Lastly, as February ushers in Valentine’s Day, our friends at Impulse London have an exciting speed dating event. Join Grind Date hosted by the hilarious Daisy Puller at Two Brewers in Clapham. Forget Valentine’s Day pressures; leave stress behind, and meet new people or enjoy a kiki with friends or partner(s). Uncover the possibilities of 2024 with a tarot reading by Ari Wisner—bright futures await!

For more details, go to Impulse London’s Instagram @impulselondon.

Visit Workout With Pride

Frank's Closet is a gay themed musical at Wilton's Music Hall in London.

What’s on this week