T Nation

Getting Stronger with 5 Reps of Pull Ups


Hi guys,

I previously did a progression with pullups, that got me to some one arm work, but my wrists/ lower arms weren't ready for it so i quit doing it. After a lay off due to injury i'm back to pullups and was wondering what a good progression could be for strength gains.

I used to do 2 sets of max pull ups (not to failure), but after reading about 531 and 5x5 type programs, i was wondering if it would perhaps benefit me more to do like 5 reps for a lot of sets? (I want to postpone the use of extra weight for a while longer because of my wrists and joints still not responding very well to pull ups) So i liked the idea of more volume because i could see it helping in getting my joints getting used to the movement again.

I can do 8 pullups now. ( i know its shamefull, but i was out with a elbow injury for months in my defense) so i think my 1rm would be 1 rep with 17 added kgs. So if correct my 5rm would be me (70kg) with like 5 added kgs. -10% to start so just my bodyweight would be fine to start.

I did a lot of sets of 5 reps last time and was wondering for how long i can get stronger by just adding sets instead of weight? I am used to very low volume for years ( 2 worksets) so i think i can still gain benefits from adding volume. But what would be a good time to start wearing my weightvest and adding weight?

Also i know the extra volume will probably get me bigger instead of making me a lot stronger but that's also alright for a while since i did lose some muscle mass.

Sorry for the incoherent rant:)

Please correct me in my thought process or give me advice, tips, suggestions .. tx!


I have done 10x10 pull ups in less than 20 minutes a while back. My back grew well from it. I didn't jump to that 10x19, but slowly ramped up. You could something like that. 10x5 in less than 10 minutes, for example. Once you do that. Make than 11 sets, 12 sets etc.


First thing if you had elbow issues: get gymnastic rings. They let your hands rotate freely which takes a lot of stress off of the joints.

If you want to gain strength, sets with low reps are a good idea. Do not pump up the volume though. If I were you, I'd carefully ease into it until your tissue and joints are recovered, then do something like 3-5x5 (weighted) twice a week with long rest periods. Also check out beastskills.com, lots of information that you will find useful. (I'm not associated in any way)


Getting rings is actually a great idea. I have no idea where i could use them bu ill find someplace.


For your purposes, just attach them to your pull up bar. All you need them for is the ability to rotate the wrists, so letting them hang a few inches below the bar is good enough.

Or do what I did... Although it's a bit of work.


I found pretty cheap ones here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pair-Portable-Olympic-Shoulder-Strength-Training-Rings-Gym-Gymnastics-Crossfit-/370768866260?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item56538bebd4

I'm not sure if theres a strap included so i could attack them to a bar.


They are the ones that came with the rings when I bought them. They look like this:


Ropes are also fine but they make it harder to adjust the length.


That looks awesome! Now it's time to convince the wife that this is a good idea.