T Nation

2 Random Strength ?'s


Hey everyone, there are two things I want to address in my workout currently.

1) I want to get strong enough to do GHRs. What is a good method of getting strong enough to do these?

Do you just start with negatives, or controlled down and a pushup to get back up?

Also, if I decide to do negatives, would something like 5x3 be a good start?

2) My weak spot on pullups is the top couple of inches, and I really want to address this. I can move a lot of weight for the bottom portion, but get significantly weaker the higher up I go. I dont know if its a strength imbalance or my biomechanics or what, but I want to get stronger at the top. So I figure the top portion of the pullup is primarily biceps and mid/lower traps, but I could be wrong. And I know i need to work on bicep strength, so ill be doing more curls.

But what would you do to increase strength at the top of pullups?

I was thinking either just holding the top of each rep for like 2-3 seconds, or just do heavy isometrics just at the top?

***Oh and as for my current pullup strength. I can do about 15 pullups @ 190lbs done at the end of my workouts. I can do 5-7 reps at about 250lbs but anything more then this and I start having trouble getting my chin above the bar.

Thx in advance.


If you have access to it you can perform assisted GHR's on a lat pulldown machine. Keep doing lots of posterior chain dominant work - romanian deadlifts, good mornings and some knee flexion work - perhaps some very heavy ham curls or something.

As for the pullups - the very top of the movement is quite heavy on the scapula retraction - lots you can do for this.

Heavy partials and isometrics should be your bread and butter here.


You are on the right track with both. I have found that after a few sessions doing GHR negatives at 5 x 3, most people are ready to go into 5 sets of 3 at a normal tempo. Progression is usually something like:

1st-session: Flail through a 1-second eccentric like a dead fish.
2nd-session: Control a 1 or 2 second eccentric on the way down.
3rd-session: Be able to do a solid 2-3 second eccentric and come up with a pushoff from a partner
4th-session: Either do one more session like that or move into doing full reps.

It depends on your initial strength, but if you can do 3-second controlled negatives with excellent form for 5 x 3, you aren't too far off doing full reps.

On the pull-ups, just get more volume at the top. Holds work well. I had a similar problem to you when I was working weighted pull-ups pretty hard, I lost strength at the top because I progressed a little too quickly with the weights. I'd recommend switching things up and going higher reps unweighted while holding for a couple seconds at the top at each rep.


Thx for the replies guys, i'll give those things a try...

Ive never had any luck doing GHR's on the lat pulldown. I dont know if the seat is a different size or what, but it just felt awkward. I usually stick my feet under a deadlift station at my gym, and put a mat under my knees.

Thx again.


Here's a routine that I formulated in about... half a nanosecond after reading your post:


Weighted/Bodyweight pull ups

Good luck!

lol... You're thinking things way too much. I don't believe in "working your weakness". If you wanna get good at something, you gotta do it. Bulgarians did it and look at where it got them. Boevski front squats more than what the average westside trainee of the same bodyweight considers to be a decent deadlift, and all he did was front squat... None of that psoas isolation crap...

...Please keep in mind that this post is just my humble opinion.


you dont believe in working weak points because you dont lift


Thanks for the suggestion Type2b. That WAS pretty much what i wrote I was thinking of doing anyways

Im not really sure about the whole weak point theory. I mean in my mind, it makes sense that the reason I am weak at the top of pullups is that I have strong lats but weak biceps. Ive done a lot of deadlifting and rack pulls, so my lats are strong. And ive done very little curling. If I look at others in the gym, they have done exactly the opposite as me, and happen to be in the opposite situation (cant pull up from a hang).

So it makes sense that my training led to this aparent weakness.

Ive also contemplated that maybe you dont need to get your chin above the bar when going heavy. Maybe doing a lot of weight and a decent amount of ROM is enough. Lighter sets can then focus on ROM and top end strength.

***One other thing I though of doing is this.

1) Focus on strength with heavier weights, and accept not going quite all the way up. (but focus on getting to a max 3-5 weight)

2) End with a weighted isometric hold at the top. (Hold the top position until you cant hold anymore and then lower as slow as possible)

Im not sure if this would work, but it would seem to allow me to keep hitting them heavy, while also adressing my weakness.


I can see the flaws in your program. Please don't mind if I tell you how ridiculous those ideas are.

1) ...Ummm, this one is actually fine. Just make sure you're consistent with your form.

2) Have you ever heard of those crappy bodybuilding routines that has you "maximizing the pump"? That shit is the same. The way to maximize force production is NOT to increase time under tension, but minimize fatigue. Doing that iso hold at the top will drown your muscles with lactate.


Boevski is doing assistance work/working on his weaknesses. I'm assuming he's an olympic weightlifter. The front squat is not an event. He wants to do front squats because thats the weak point of his clean or snatch. If he's an athlete in another event. The front squat once again is not the sport, front squats help him with his leg strength weakness.


Not to mention im sure that he does heavy partials fronts squats in a powe rack to help for his jerks.


Im not really sure what you are talking about here, because what I was planning on doing was pretty similar to what you suggested.

2) As for the top of the pullup. Whether you agree that weak points need to be trained or not, i need to do something different than I have been doing. The fact of the matter is that I DO need to increase the TUT at the top. The way ive been doing it has been going to a copmlete hang, and then pulling up as far as possible and then back down to a complete hang. There are really only three options.

1- The top portion isn't the priority in a pullup, so dont worry about going all the way up, just train heavy and focus on the lower and mid ROM's

2- The top portion is more important and thus i should focus more on stength at the top at the expense of strength at the bottom. This would mean that on any set when I cant get my chin above the bar, i terminate the set. (My lats would never be challenged using this method; at least not until I got stronger at the top portion)

3- Strength in the top and bottom are important, and thus both should be trained. I can use seperate methods to emphasize one or the other.

I think all could work, but am leaning toward 3. I am a non-athlete just doing these for size, and strength so it does make sense to sometimes use more weight than I can ge full ROM on. But it also makes sense to strengthen the top portion, because it is a weak link, and will lead to some size in my arms and upper back.

I also see your point about increasing strength not through TUT but through avoiding fatigue while creating tension. I agree with that for low rep strength but not for higher rep strength or endurance. If im doing a set of BW pullups, and fail at 15 because I cant get chin above the bar, while I can still do another 5-10 pullups almost all the way up, this is likely do to strength AND lactic acid buildup. So I not only need to work on strength at the top, but endurance as well.

Probably what i'll do is start with some weighted isometrics at the top. Not sure exactly what type of protocol but probably 5-10 heavy isometrics lasting about 3-6 seconds. I'll increase the weight when until I cant hold for at least 3 seconds or so. After this, i'll something like 5x3 or 3x5 on heavy pullups and try for full ROM, but accept that I may not make it to the top. (This is how i'll train strength)

Then when I come around to training endurance, i'll do my normal repping workouts for pullups focusing on full ROM, but accept some loss toward the end. I'll then end with Isometric holds for duration with just BW at the top.

Sounds over-complicated but really simple in my mind.

Thx again for all the help


Please don't mind if I correct you.

No they don't. They snatch, clean + jerk, and front squat as if those 3 are their main competition lifts. They don't do anything else... atleast most of them... I've seen the training logs of bulgarian weightlifters before.



Did I just hear you say "endurance"? That's a forbidden word! Forget about endurance and just lift the fucking weights...

Wow, I just amaze myself. I am such a genius.

lol. Please forgive me for the arrogance.


How much do you squat, kiddo?

Shut the fuck up.

Everyone stop taking this guy seriously, please?

The only front squat numbers I could find for Boevski were in that synaptic facilitation article that you've been beating off to for the past couple of weeks while your mother is at the grocery store. They reported a 441 lb front squat at a bodyweight of 152 lbs. That's a good deadlift for a lightweight at Westside?

Doug Heath pulled 15 lbs more than that weighing in at 114 lbs. Laura Phelps has posted deadlifts well above 441 lbs as a woman with a comparable bodyweight. Hell, I know a natural amateur lifter in Columbus who pulled 100 lbs more than that at 148 this past spring. Don't give me that "well everyone at WSB is on drugs" bullshit either, because Boevski served an 8 year suspension for failed drug tests.


...Westside trainees use steroids too you know... And another thing, I've SEEN boevski front squat 528 pounds on youtube. That is not read, it's something that you witness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5aEFSqa6u8&feature=related (check out 4:46)


Please don't mind if I correct you.

You've seen what they want you to see. Chances are they all probably used to bench, row, shoulder presss and a whole other host of exercises, but because they are not the bread and butter of their routine they probably didn't bother to record it, as it was not a major factor for them.

Also, do you think a world champion is just going to show everyone their training methods so that everyone else can jump on their bandwagon? I think not.

PS. done any snatch grp deadlifts recently? Of course you have cos that's all you do!


box squats.


Ok guys, ive tried this workout twice so far, and have further questions.

My concerns are about the GHR's. The way ive been doing them, is last, after deadlifts. I am EXTREMELY weak at these. Ive trying to lower slowly, and then hold for about 5 seconds at the point right before I drop. The thing is, im only getting to like 20, maybe 30 degrees max.

So, do you think this will work, and that overtime, i'll be able to go further and further?

Or do you think this short of a ROM even with an isometric hold, just isn't enough?

The other thought that I have, is that all of the deadlifting I have done has been with my hips fairly low, using primarily my glutes. Should I switch things up for a bit, and focus on pulling with straighter legs and higher hips? What about Rack RDL's?

So thanks in advance for whatever advice you have, otherwise I'll be focusing on increasing my SLDL and following that up with isometrics and/or eccentrics on GHR.


Shut the fuck up. Boevski and the rest of the Bulgarians TOOK plenty of "supplements"--there was an article on GoHeavy translated from a Bulgarian lifter stating steroids are fundamental to weightlifting. There methodology only works, because they have the drugs to do it.


Westside lifters also do a lot of work on their weaknesses, which is in sharp contrast to the Bulgarian motor learning, high frequency, basic lift only stuff.