T Nation

Get Some! Chin-Ups

Chinups need to go up. I am sitting at around 15 dead hang right now. In 2 months, they MUST be 20.

I have never really went on a pullup program, although I have flirted a little bit with GTG, as well weighted chins and many variations.

My question is for the people who have done the programs below or know of others : What is best?
-armstrong program. 5 consecutive days a week. Failure for atleast 3 of those days.
-recon ron pullup program. 5 days a week with a set number of pullups per step.
-plain old GTG. 5-6 days a week never going to failure.

along with a specific pull program, I will be in the gym every OTHER day alternating upper with lower. Between those days I do some form of cardiovascular activity.

I read of people who have done the armstrong/recon ron program and met their goal, but it seemed like thats all they did coupled with running and crunches. With me, I will be adding lifting (low volume, compound lifts, 3-4 exercises a session)… so I dont want to overtrain.

The only set plan I have so far is increasing forearm work. I.e Captains of crush.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, past experiences would be greatly appreciated.

losing weight will help.

losing weight from my tree trunk jumpers legs would help tremendously.

Im sitting at 195, about 8% right now. My goal is 188-190 by July.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
losing weight will help.[/quote]

At 230 lbs I’ve gotten my chin-up max to close to where it was when I weighed 159 lbs. When I was light I did 20 chins no problem. Lately 14 is my max. I realize that neither of those numbers are spectacular (I used to hang out with rock-climbers that could do 100+ dead hang) but it gives me hope that losing weight is not necessary. I could stand to lose some fat right now though so that IS a plausible approach, but I think the OP is looking for some training tips. I am interested in what others have to say about this as well.

[quote]THE_CLAMP_DOWN wrote:
losing weight from my tree trunk jumpers legs would help tremendously.

Im sitting at 195, about 8% right now. My goal is 188-190 by July.
[/quote]

I think the forearm thing was a decent idea. At 190 and 8% BF I don’t see why you’d want to lose weight at this point. For many people your weight/BF% is ideal, if not a little on the light side.

[quote]beebuddy wrote:

I think the forearm thing was a decent idea. At 190 and 8% BF I don’t see why you’d want to lose weight at this point. For many people your weight/BF% is ideal, if not a little on the light side.[/quote]

well…if its fat I am losing than no harm right? I def. wouldnt sacrifice muscle for weight loss. My number 2 priority is 3 miles in 18:00, so light weight would help there also.

[quote]THE_CLAMP_DOWN wrote:
beebuddy wrote:

I think the forearm thing was a decent idea. At 190 and 8% BF I don’t see why you’d want to lose weight at this point. For many people your weight/BF% is ideal, if not a little on the light side.

well…if its fat I am losing than no harm right? I def. wouldnt sacrifice muscle for weight loss. My number 2 priority is 3 miles in 18:00, so light weight would help there also. [/quote]

I personally don’t think that it’s possible to maintain a BF% lower than 8% on a permanent basis. So if your chin goal is 20 because you have to pass some sort of test then it might be possible, other than that I think you need to work on strengthening. I just don’t know what, lol. I’d also like to see more feedback on this.

I think a Westside-inspired program works well. I’d have a heavy day and a rep day, and grease the groove on off days.

look up the fighter pullup program. I’ve heard great things about it. Adding weights at lower reps should help increase your max reps

Avoid training your max effort reps for a few weeks. You can do 15 all out, so do sets of 10, then when you can repeat this several times easily in a workout add another rep or 2 to each set. Then keep repeating this process and you will soon be performing 15 rep sets easily, then shortly after sets of 20 easily, it may take the 2 months or less but when you are able to do the 20 it will be easy and repeatable. Again don’t train your max reps it will slow down the progress.

Only do a number of reps that you can repeat throughout the workout, don’t pyramid up or down, you have to maintain/adapt then progress, then maintain/adapt then progress.

Alternate your sets between Pull ups and Chin ups. Ideally perform within a circuit type workout this allows for active rest, eg Pull/Chin ups-Dips-Squats, repeat several time.

I’d recommend 3 different workouts…

One day of heavy singles, as many as you wanna do. Log it.

One day of weighted reps

One day of higher, unweighted reps

Just do supinated (chin-ups) all the time, or maybe one day of neutral-grip

To progress, add a workout each week and don’t add any weight or reps to any of the workouts.

Week 1
Monday
“A” workout - 6 singles with 40 pounds added

Tuesday off

Wednesday
“B” workout - 4x6 with 5-10 pounds added

Thursday off

Friday
“C” Workout - 2x14-15

Sat & sun ff

Week 2

Mon.
AM “A” workout
PM “B” workout

Tuesday
Off

Wednesday
“C” Workout

Thursday
Off

Friday
“A” Workout again

Sat & Sun off

Keep doing this for up to 8 weeks, deloading if you need to, and only do chins M, W, and F.

The trick to gaining endurance quickly is to gain max strength, especially if you’ve been training for endurance already.

Thanks for the suggestion Zeekery —> http://strongerman.com/guests/the_fighter_pullup.pdf
A nice customizable program.
If I was to go on this, it would look like this for me:
day1- 12,10,8,6,4
day2- 12,10,8,6,6
day3- 12,10,8,8,6
day4- 12,10,10,8,6
day5- 12,12,10,8,6
day6- off
day7- 14,12,10,8,6
day8… and on for 30 days.

Its not too different than the recon ron program, but it progresses much quicker! Also, I’m assuming I’ll never be going to failure so thats a plus.

Mr. Strong, what kind of volume would you prescribe? I have a 15rm, so I would do sets of 10 for how many total sets? Till I lose form and arent able to complete the set? or end a set before it even comes to that?

Conwict, good lookout. A nother sexy way to do your pullups.

Avoid that pyramid technique, it will not help you as quick or as consistently.

I would do no more than 10 sets, if you can do anywhere from 6-10 sets of 10 reps and you feel you could handle more reps in every set, for your next workout do 11-12 reps in every set, then when you find 11-12 reps fairly easy go for 13-14, and keep repeating this. Eventually you will be able to do your previous max of 15 several times fairly easily. You should not be reaching failure on any set.

A method I’ve been useing for awhile seems to work good.

take a weight, lets say 5kg

week 1 5kg 5x5
week 2 6.75kg 5x5
week 3 7.5kg 5x5
week 4 8.75kg 5x5
week 5 10kg fail
week 6 6.75kg 6x6
week 7 7.5kg 6x6.

you could progress 2.5kg each week tho if you decide to do chin ups 2 times a week, this worked great for me, you could also add days with higher reps or lower and more weights.

To address your original question, GTG works very well for increasing reps in a short period of time, but such programs tend to plateau after a few weeks.

Another program I like to use that is more of a long term strategy includes a strength day (weighted pullups for a 1-5RM, and then a max rep day 3-4 days later.

Alternating every 4-6 weeks between programs based on frequency and programs based on intensity usually allows consistent progress.

Losing a bit of weight, as mentioned above, is also a good idea. I’ve always found dropping a few pounds – nothing too crazy – to get me another couple reps.

Hope this helps.

Q

Like qiezi said, you should hit both strength and endurance to gain endurance, particularly in the 15-20 range. I never train for endurance in pullups but by gaining strength in that movement I’ve easily achieved adequate endurance.

The approach I outlined uses a novel form of progression, and is very simple to use…just work out with the same parameters but increase the frequency. Rather than forcing more reps out each workout, you just increase weekly workload. It’s pretty much plateau proof. I’d advise deloading to one or two chinup workouts the week before the test though.

PS, the same frequency-based approach can be used for your running work…

Running workout “A” = sprint 100m, rest 60 seconds, repeat 7 times (for a total of 800m)

Running workout “B” = Interval training for 20 minutes (20 second intense and 60 seconds low-intensity)

Running workout “C” = Nice, slow 20-25 minute run…just go easy

You just do these T, Th, and Sat or whenever…and like the chinup workout I mentioned, you just run more frequently each week with the exact same parameters rather than progressing within each workout.

Don’t underestimate the importance of neural proficiency even in the 3 mile run…it is, like Cosgrove outlined recently in one of his articles, one of the most important variables–period.

You should make a log.

Like qiezi said, you should hit both strength and endurance to gain endurance, particularly in the 15-20 range. I never train for endurance in pullups but by gaining strength in that movement I’ve easily achieved adequate endurance.

The approach I outlined uses a novel form of progression, and is very simple to use…just work out with the same parameters but increase the frequency.

Good stuff Conwict.

I was already leaning more towards that running style…so that was like music to my ears.

I think I’m setting up my plan to be G-T-G for the month of May. Than sort of westside approach for June- a ME and repeated effort day.

not going with armstrong or recon ron.