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Doomed for Pull-Ups

These have to be the most frustrating exercise in the book for me personally. I am having such trouble even getting to a point where I can perform a few reps and improve my strength at them. Chin ups, not a problem. Pull ups are a different story. What’s the best way to get strong for pull ups? I can go a few more sets with a narrower grip… but will this prepare me for wide grip. or will i be back to the start again?

grrr… soo annoying to the weak ectomorphs!

Keep working at them. Usually if someone is having trouble with them it is either because their back is not developed enough or their bodyfat is too high. I say work at them until you can get 5 reps and then start trying to add weight in 2.5lb increments. When you go back to bodyweight you might be able to do more.

[quote]elano wrote:
Keep working at them. Usually if someone is having trouble with them it is either because their back is not developed enough or their bodyfat is too high. I say work at them until you can get 5 reps and then start trying to add weight in 2.5lb increments. When you go back to bodyweight you might be able to do more.[/quote]

Hey elano, thanks for advice. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m bulking up and putting on muscle and hence increasing bodyweight as the weeks go on… doesn’t help with a bodyweight exercise! Anyway i dont mind sticking with it and putting in the hard work, I guess I’m just ammused at how hard these bad boys are to get started with!

Just wanted to say, I also feel your pullup pain and frustrations. Keep with it though!

[quote]oats-and-whey wrote:
These have to be the most frustrating exercise in the book for me personally. I am having such trouble even getting to a point where I can perform a few reps and improve my strength at them. Chin ups, not a problem. Pull ups are a different story. What’s the best way to get strong for pull ups? I can go a few more sets with a narrower grip… but will this prepare me for wide grip. or will i be back to the start again?

grrr… soo annoying to the weak ectomorphs![/quote]

If you get some Jumpstretch bands they make for good assistance.

Look for a pullup bar online and buy one and put it in front of your kitchen. Everytime you want to eat, get water, anything at all, do 3 pullups. I did this before I lifted weights and over a 6 month period I went from being able to do 3 to being able to do 20 strict ones. This is the best way to learn it (in my opinion)

If your doing sets, start by doing as many as you can with strict form and once you can’t do any more jump up to the top, hold for a second and lower yourself slowly. Do the remaining reps untill you reach 8 (assuming you do less than 8 strict reps).
repeat for 3-5 sets.

I agree with the poster above though. Doing a few reps of strict pullups (without going to fatigue)a few times a day is a good way to improve quickly.
As for pullups verses chinups. The pullup takes the biceps out of the action a little bit so you need to be stronger in the back, particularly in the lower traps (otherwise the shoulders extend forward and put you in a weak position to pull from).
Give it a few weeks and you’ll probably find there wont be much difference between the two as far as how many reps you can do.

[quote]oats-and-whey wrote:
elano wrote:
Keep working at them. Usually if someone is having trouble with them it is either because their back is not developed enough or their bodyfat is too high. I say work at them until you can get 5 reps and then start trying to add weight in 2.5lb increments. When you go back to bodyweight you might be able to do more.

Hey elano, thanks for advice. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m bulking up and putting on muscle and hence increasing bodyweight as the weeks go on… doesn’t help with a bodyweight exercise! Anyway i dont mind sticking with it and putting in the hard work, I guess I’m just ammused at how hard these bad boys are to get started with!
[/quote]

If your bodyweight goes up and your reps stay the same you are still getting stronger.

Take a narrower grip, and try this:

week 1: 10 sets of 1 pull ups (at least twice this week, 3x would be better)
Week 2: 10 sets of 2 (at least twice, hopefully 3)
Week 3: 10 sets of 3 (same story
week 4: 8 sets of 4
7 sets of 5
6 sets of 6, etc…

When you stall, just go back a week, and start over again. The other option would be to add weight, but I’ve had more success working with a higher volume first then adding weight later.

This is not my own material. Harry Selkow suggested it over at EliteFTS. Worked well for me…then I gained weight and now I suck at pull ups again. Next week I’ll be going back to doing this sort of progression.

try negatives…

Pulldowns until you can do your BW plus 10 or 15Kg for reps. Then jump on the pull-up bar, and you’ll bang em out like you weigh a feather.

I suck at pullups too. When I started lifting, which was not long ago, almost a year now. I could not do one, not even close. I can’t say that I’m amazing at them at this point, but I did manage to get my five sets up to 7,6,5,5,4. This is wide grip. I don’t do any chinups really, but the last time I tried them I got an easy set of 10.

Pull ups are harder, no doubt, especially wide grip. All I can say is keep doing them, and then do some more. I mean if you do anything enough you gotta get better at it, or you’re simply not trying hard enough, but I’m not saying you’re not

one method I liked was to take half the max number I could do in one shot, and do that for 3 sets. Then every week I would add a set, up to 6 or 7 sets. Then I would drop back to 3 sets, but with one more rep each set this time, and repeat.

I think that I’m going to start dong some of these things. I never really had any advice on pullups when I started. I figured just do it and do it some more. But there seems to be some seriously good methods here.

Apologies for the absolute highjack