T Nation

Chin-Up/Pull-Up Help Needed

hey guys,
So I have been working out for 6 months now and for some reason I still cant do these.
I weigh around 170 at 17-18% body fat and I can deadlift 295x5 but for some reason i cant do these simple exersizes. I dont understand why. A friend of mine told me that maybe i dont know how to activate the musscles needed but is it really that complicated. Also i have been doing negitives throughout theese 6 months on and off and it has helped but no where near the results i want.

So I was wondering if anyone else had my problem and any tips on what to do.

[quote]samaha wrote:
hey guys,
So I have been working out for 6 months now and for some reason I still cant do these.
I weigh around 170 at 17-18% body fat and I can deadlift 295x5 but for some reason i cant do these simple exersizes. I dont understand why. A friend of mine told me that maybe i dont know how to activate the musscles needed but is it really that complicated. Also i have been doing negitives throughout theese 6 months on and off and it has helped but no where near the results i want.

So I was wondering if anyone else had my problem and any tips on what to do.

[/quote]

First, deadlifts really have nothing to do with the ability to do pullups.

But think about what you’re doing with pullups, and compare that to how you got there with deadlifts. I don’t think the first time you did deadlifts you tried to lift 295. If all you ever tried to do was deadlift 295 for 6 months, and you tried things like negatives, I doubt you’d be able to lift it.

I’m assuming you started with something lighter than 295, then added some weight, and worked your way up to 295.

If you’re having trouble doing pullups, you’re not strong enough to do straight pullups. You need to start lighter and work up to being able to pull your body up. Start light, add weight.

One option is to use a pulldown machine, and just progress in that weight. Another option is finding a way to do assisted pullups, either with a machine, a partner, or using leverage.

You may not be strong enough to do these yet, but this is one way you can reduce the weight. Just pull with your arms and back… don’t push off the support.

[quote]samaha wrote:
hey guys,
So I have been working out for 6 months now and for some reason I still cant do these.
I weigh around 170 at 17-18% body fat and I can deadlift 295x5 but for some reason i cant do these simple exersizes. I dont understand why. A friend of mine told me that maybe i dont know how to activate the musscles needed but is it really that complicated. Also i have been doing negitives throughout theese 6 months on and off and it has helped but no where near the results i want.

So I was wondering if anyone else had my problem and any tips on what to do.

[/quote]

Pullups and chins are not something that come easy to most women, actually, none that I know. Although I’m still not great at them, I did get to be okay at them. Try doing them assisted with bands to start. If that’s too much, you can try working on your negatives for a while. Before you know it you will be doing 1, 2, 4, 6 and so on.

There is a girl by the name of Brute_fury over in the Powerful Women section who is damn good at them if you wanted to peek into her log some time.

Heavy ass static holds in the top and med range positions worked amazing for me. Once you can hold the position for 30sec for 2-3 sets add 10% of your body. I went from not being able to do but 2 dead hang chinups to passing my Ranger School PT with 16 after only 10 weeks. I only weighed 175lbs though over 200lbs now and only do about 10.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Heavy ass static holds in the top and med range positions worked amazing for me. Once you can hold the position for 30sec for 2-3 sets add 10% of your body. I went from not being able to do but 2 dead hang chinups to passing my Ranger School PT with 16 after only 10 weeks. I only weighed 175lbs though over 200lbs now and only do about 10.[/quote]

Could you elaborate on this a little. How often did you train static holds? Did you do pulls as well as the holds? Did you add the weight all at once or progressively? Etc. etc.

Area of interest and an ongoing weakness.

Appreciated.

Batman 730- Sorry for being so vague. I trained the static holds twice a week on my upper body days. Essentially every Tuesday and Friday I started out with just body weight chin over bar for as long as possible once I got to around 30-45 seconds I would just add 15lbs to my waist. I got up to a about 105lbs around waist for 38 seconds in the top position and 115lbs for 48seconds in the mid postion. Every third week I took a mach( pretend ) PT test and thats how I tracked the progress.

Monday- Mach PT Test Tested Chin-Up( every third week ) or 5-8 mile run.
Tuesday- Upper Body and Chin Up Over Bar x max time x 2-3 sets add weight after can complete all three sets for atleast 30 seconds.
Wendesday- Lower Body and Sprints
Thursday- 6-12 mile ruck
Friday- Upper Body and Chin Up Mid Position x max time x 2-3 sets same as above
Saturday- Lower Body and Sprints
Sunday- Recovery

I essentially ran this for three 3 week phases between each test and went from 2 my first test, 6 my next test, 11 my next test, and the forth (real) test I got 16 ( the last one may have been very questionable as I believe I kipped up but was counted )

Also not sure how much it really helped but, I also trained rows of all kinds on upper body days all for like 5 sets of 5. And hit biceps hard as my biceps were and still are a huge weakness and embarrasment for me lol that helped loads for me.

“Activating” your muscles can be tough when doing pull ups. Lots of people tend to use all arms to compensate for a lack of back activation. Try to warmup on the lat pulldown with light weight and really focus on pulling with your back instead of arms, then do your pull ups.

Also, having a lower bodyfat % can help as you will have a better strength to body weight ratio.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Batman 730- Sorry for being so vague. I trained the static holds twice a week on my upper body days. Essentially every Tuesday and Friday I started out with just body weight chin over bar for as long as possible once I got to around 30-45 seconds I would just add 15lbs to my waist. I got up to a about 105lbs around waist for 38 seconds in the top position and 115lbs for 48seconds in the mid postion. Every third week I took a mach( pretend ) PT test and thats how I tracked the progress.

Monday- Mach PT Test Tested Chin-Up( every third week ) or 5-8 mile run.
Tuesday- Upper Body and Chin Up Over Bar x max time x 2-3 sets add weight after can complete all three sets for atleast 30 seconds.
Wendesday- Lower Body and Sprints
Thursday- 6-12 mile ruck
Friday- Upper Body and Chin Up Mid Position x max time x 2-3 sets same as above
Saturday- Lower Body and Sprints
Sunday- Recovery

I essentially ran this for three 3 week phases between each test and went from 2 my first test, 6 my next test, 11 my next test, and the forth (real) test I got 16 ( the last one may have been very questionable as I believe I kipped up but was counted )

Also not sure how much it really helped but, I also trained rows of all kinds on upper body days all for like 5 sets of 5. And hit biceps hard as my biceps were and still are a huge weakness and embarrasment for me lol that helped loads for me.

[/quote]

Thanks Reed. I am currently doing the Recon Ron pull-up plan but was actually already thinking of embedding some static holds as well.

I likely need to cut some weight as well if I really want to progress. I’m a lean-ish 235# with freakishly long arms and fairly heavy legs. Not exactly the prime pull up build. My pr for PU’s was 9 but I was closer 205# then and much more focused on running and calisthenics.

Start doing heavy vertical pulling if you are not already(Lat Pulldowns,Assisted Pullup/Chinup machine,Hammer Strength Pulldowns) 2x a week if you can.I guarantee you will be able to do a few chinups within a month if you actually go hard at it and stay loyal to doing them. My girlfriend seemed ‘hopeless’ to ever do a chinup, and within a month she could bang out 4 by herself.

Iron Woody. Iron Woody. Iron Woody.

(Band assisted progression)

That will sort ya out pretty quickly.

[quote]EthanETE wrote:
Start doing heavy vertical pulling if you are not already(Lat Pulldowns,Assisted Pullup/Chinup machine,Hammer Strength Pulldowns) 2x a week if you can.I guarantee you will be able to do a few chinups within a month if you actually go hard at it and stay loyal to doing them. My girlfriend seemed ‘hopeless’ to ever do a chinup, and within a month she could bang out 4 by herself.[/quote]

This may work with small girls, but not so much w/ bigger guys… like anything, you stall out at a point.

Been doing 3 sets of 1.5 twice a week for months (2nd time doing this… practical programming of SS) and I still can’t do one. I stalled out about 10-15 lbs before my bodyweight. Going to deload and try and work up. Though, I was thinking about doing fatman pulls for awhile; SS is lacking rows anyway.

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

[quote]EthanETE wrote:
Start doing heavy vertical pulling if you are not already(Lat Pulldowns,Assisted Pullup/Chinup machine,Hammer Strength Pulldowns) 2x a week if you can.I guarantee you will be able to do a few chinups within a month if you actually go hard at it and stay loyal to doing them. My girlfriend seemed ‘hopeless’ to ever do a chinup, and within a month she could bang out 4 by herself.[/quote]

This may work with small girls, but not so much w/ bigger guys… like anything, you stall out at a point.

Been doing 3 sets of 1.5 twice a week for months (2nd time doing this… practical programming of SS) and I still can’t do one. I stalled out about 10-15 lbs before my bodyweight. Going to deload and try and work up. Though, I was thinking about doing fatman pulls for awhile; SS is lacking rows anyway.
[/quote]

I dunno… I’m 5’10’ and 72kg, definitely not a smal girl. What honestly worked for me was progressing through the different resistances on the bands. i was banging out 5x10 in strength sessions and getting them into cond blocks too. - so basically pull ups nearly every session. I could believe it the day I able able to do one without the bands! It just kinda sneaks up on you when you’re doing them every day.

Although I haven’t trained them in months myself now and I’ve gone from a 5x5 to 2reps! So just goes to show it’s a matter of just keeping at them. The bands got lost in my gym now though, I should prob take my own advice and buy some!!!