T Nation

5/3/1 Principles for Pull-Ups


#1

Hello everyone and hello Jim from France.

First of all, thanks a lot for your 5/3/1 program and its variations. I have been going to the gym for about 12 years now and I feel that I have finally found my path with strength training which your program got me into.

Still being a skinny dude, I am following the BBB variation II and so far it is making wonder. However, I am starting to think about slight tweaking of the bench and press days after some more cycles. So far, those two days looks like that:

Bench 5/3/1
Bench BBB in superset with pull-ups
Inverted row with rings

Press 5/3/1
Press BBB in superset with chin-ups
Behind the neck pull-ups in superset with dips with rings

For now, I have goals on how much I want to be able to push at my body weight, e.g. 80 kg at the press for my 70 kg of bodyweight (which is slowly increasing). However, before setting up the next goal, I would like to spend a few cycles adding pull-ups and chin-ups as a 5/3/1 with a BBB routine. Then, the two days would look like that:

Bench 5/3/1
in superset with pull-ups 5/3/1
Bench BBB in superset with pull-ups BBB

Press 5/3/1
in superset with Chin-ups 5/3/1
Press BBB in superset with chin-ups BBB

The goal there would be to increase my strength in those pulling movements even if it costs me a slower progression in those two barbell movements.

Any comments are more than welcome.


#2

Your new plan is what I’ve been doing for a couple of years on my OHP and BP days. On OHP day I superset close grip chin-ups with every set of presses, whether I’m doing FSL or BBB. On BP day I do the same thing but with pull-ups. This includes my warmup sets so I wind up getting around 10 sets of 10 reps. It hasn’t hurt my main lift at all. In fact it has helped my deadlifting and my bench press quite a bit as well as general conditioning. Also, make sure you are eating enough!


#3

Not Jim but I’d imagine him saying:
-Treat pull-ups as assistance, don’t turn them into a main movement (with 5/3/1 programming).
-Supersets are great, but go for a total rep goal instead.


#4

I would not advise using a traditional 5/3/1 loading/rep scheme with pull-ups. I suppose you could figure out a weighted TM and use the percentages based on that, but that seems tedious and much less efficient both in time and workload.

Supersetting is a great choice, as is aiming for total reps. Selkow’s method worked well for me. I started at a lower total rep number than I could hit (by 1-2 total pull-ups over ten sets). A few months later, just adding 1-3 pull-ups per week, I had increased my per set number by 3-4 and my total number by 30-40.

I did bodyweight pull-ups on bench day and weighted pull-ups on OHP day.


#5

Thanks all of you for your inputs. I had a look at Selkow’s method and found what I guess is the original article:
http://www.elitefts.com/education/training/sports-performance/pull-up-101-part-i/
and another one:
http://www.elitefts.com/education/training/a-multifaceted-approach-to-pull-up-improvement/
I will have a good read at that.


#6

Thanks for sharing those links. I am in the middle of the 3 month challenge and have been super setting the warm-up, main set and assistance sets for the main lift of the day with pull-ups/chins and dips. I can currently do 10 sets of 5 reps on the chins/pulls and 5 sets of 10 reps on the dips. Like the Agile 8 I do them every workout. The 5 reps of chins/pulls are starting to get pretty easy so I will probably aim to start doing 6 or 7 per set with the aim of eventually getting up to 10 good, crisp reps per set.