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Help Me Improve My Pull Up Count

Hey guys, new to the forum and wanted some expert advice on how I can improve my pull up figures.

The workout regimen I’m following is a 3-day split (Pull, Push, Legs) with a 1-day rest between cycles (hope I’m explaining this OK). On Pull days (which are every 4 days) the workout plan asks me to do 4x6reps of pull ups.

Problem is, I’ve been following this Push/pull/legs workout regimen for a month now and, although I can do 9 on the first set, I can still only do 3 proper reps on the last set. For the last 2 weeks it’s been the same old story:
Set 1: 9
Set 2: 7
Set 3: 5
Set 4: 3

On Set 3, after completing 5 proper reps, I’ve been doing one negative just to get to 6 reps in total. Similarly, on Set 4, I’ve been following up those 3 proper reps with 3 negatives.

Point is, though, that I’ve not made any progress in the last 2 weeks. Should I do just 6 reps on the first set and see if that improves my maximum on the 4th? Is that a sensible way to train for someone who wants to build muscle? It seems anathema to me to reign in the rep count on the first set when I know I can do 3 more proper reps; I always go to failure on each set or, at least, go until I feel I can’t do another rep without losing the correct form. However, I’m unhappy with the progress I’m making with pull ups so I feel like maybe something needs to change.

Of course, the lack of progress could all come down to diet, lack of sleep or something else, but if you guys have any training advice I’d love to hear it.

… so, your plan has you doing four sets of six reps, and you’re doing more than that because??

Generally you would go to failure on the LAST set, if you are wearing yourself out to nothing on the first set how do you expect to do the last one?

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
… so, your plan has you doing four sets of six reps, and you’re doing more than that because??[/quote]
Really good question. Just do 4x6. When you can do that (I think you already can) do 4x7. If you end up doing 7,7,6,5 just keep trying to hit 4x7 until you do. Then aim for 4x8 and so on.

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
… so, your plan has you doing four sets of six reps, and you’re doing more than that because??[/quote]
Really good question. Just do 4x6. When you can do that (I think you already can) do 4x7. If you end up doing 7,7,6,5 just keep trying to hit 4x7 until you do. Then aim for 4x8 and so on.[/quote]

OK thanks for the advice. It’s Pull day today so I’ll see if I can do 4x6reps.

I’ve always just thought that to gain muscle you should do as many reps with correct form as possible, and if that number is higher than 8 or 10 that you should then think about increasing the load. Is that wrong, or is it just the case that there’s more than one way to increase strength/build muscle?

[quote]dubdevil89 wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
… so, your plan has you doing four sets of six reps, and you’re doing more than that because??[/quote]
Really good question. Just do 4x6. When you can do that (I think you already can) do 4x7. If you end up doing 7,7,6,5 just keep trying to hit 4x7 until you do. Then aim for 4x8 and so on.[/quote]

OK thanks for the advice. It’s Pull day today so I’ll see if I can do 4x6reps.

I’ve always just thought that to gain muscle you should do as many reps with correct form as possible, and if that number is higher than 8 or 10 that you should then think about increasing the load. [/quote]
That’s a great way to get bigger and stronger, but it’s not 4x6. And if the way you’ve been doing it isn’t working for you, why not switch to what you were supposed to be doing?

Yes.

Tried for 4x7 yesterday, thinking I could do 4x6 comfortably. Got 7 on the first 3 sets, but on the 4th could only manage 4 reps with correct form. On Wednesday I’ll do what I’m told and try 4x6 like a good boy :slight_smile:

I’ll keep you guys posted as to the results!

P.S. Cheers for the advice

only go to failure once in a long while. dont do it every set, every last set, every workout, or even every week. trust me. it might be okay at first when you can’t do many pullups but after a while it’ll get you no where fast.

[quote]GreatAjax wrote:
only go to failure once in a long while. dont do it every set, every last set, every workout, or even every week. trust me. it might be okay at first when you can’t do many pullups but after a while it’ll get you no where fast.[/quote]

this is vaguely worded general advice that is misleading, IMO. granted, a natty lifter should not go to failure very often compared to a geared lifter for recovery reasons, but to say that you shouldn’t even try to go to failure of any sort every session or every week is bad advice.

Pull-ups are all about progress over time.

If you start with 4x5, then add one rep to every set in one year you’re going to be doing 4x17. Not shabby for anyone.

But you sound like a candidate for Pavel’s Fighter Pull-Up program http://www.kbnj.com/FighterPullupByPavel.htm

well then let me say this: going to failure as in doing as many pullups as you can with perfect form but ive found for about the last year that grinding out as many reps as you possibly can until you can no longer even pull halfway with without momentum – that kind of failure-- has always been counterproductive for me. if youre going for a PR or something then great. but otherwise i avoid it.\

and the fighter pullup program is great. id really suggest that. it helped me a lot although towards the end of the program progressing got really hard for me because i was gaining some weight and the adding resistance made the volume pretty difficult.

Doing pull ups separately from your work outs except back day works very well. Do them everyday, start with 10 total a day doesn’t matter how many sets and add one everyday until you are up to 60-70 a day. It will feel like a lot after you get higher in the numbers. Once it gets real tough take a week off from pull ups all together then hit them again. You’ll have an easy increase in set numbers. Theres an article on here somewhere about this method. I’ve done it and my back grew a lot in a short time as well.

[quote]Anthony Mychal wrote:
Pull-ups are all about progress over time.

If you start with 4x5, then add one rep to every set in one year you’re going to be doing 4x17. Not shabby for anyone.

But you sound like a candidate for Pavel’s Fighter Pull-Up program http://www.kbnj.com/FighterPullupByPavel.htm[/quote]

i find it pretty tough if your max is for instance 8, and you can do 7 the next set. usually after an all out max set for pull ups, tough to hit near the same amt

The best way I have ever encountered to improve pul ups is Pavel’s ‘ladders’ method.

You know everyone always says, “just keep doing reps and eventually you’ll be able to do sets of 20”. This has never worked for me. I always get stuck at 10 reps. Even if I do 100 reps a day I can never get that 11th one consecutively. I’ll get to the point where I can do 4x10 but never get the 11th lol.

Does anyone have any advice for me or is my body just retarded? Eventually I just said fuck it and I’ve been doing them weighted for months now. My one rep max is my 220 lbs body plus an 80 pound dumbbell. Took away the dumbbell after I maxed and got 10.5 reps with bodyweight lol.

Ghost16, are you using a specific grip all the time?

[quote]Ghost16 wrote:
You know everyone always says, “just keep doing reps and eventually you’ll be able to do sets of 20”. This has never worked for me. I always get stuck at 10 reps. Even if I do 100 reps a day I can never get that 11th one consecutively. I’ll get to the point where I can do 4x10 but never get the 11th lol.

Does anyone have any advice for me or is my body just retarded? Eventually I just said fuck it and I’ve been doing them weighted for months now. My one rep max is my 220 lbs body plus an 80 pound dumbbell. Took away the dumbbell after I maxed and got 10.5 reps with bodyweight lol. [/quote]
Armstrong pullup program

When trying to increase bodyweight reps, I only do 2 working sets after my main sets, meaning it’s a strength movement and not a “muscle building burnout high rep blah blah blah” thing.

I start with 90% max reps, then just add 1 rep each training session, don’t go to failure. Do it 1-2 times a week. If you can only add the extra rep on 1 of your working sets, then that’s fine, you’ve still gotten stronger, just try to add in the other rep the next week. When you stall, try a different grip, or try a different variation that’s harder than regular grip (Closegrip, uneven chins, 1/2 ROM 1-arm-chin, towel grip assisted).

You could also try doing max reps (unweighted) with various grips. Chins/pullup/neutral/rings. Do that multiple times a day. That’s what all my marine friends do and when they were actually doing it they could do a respectable amount of pullups.

Chad Waterbury has a few articles about pullups you should read.

Do declines only with weight and throw in some iscometric holds up there. Holding extra weight up there will definately make you stronger. Id say hold at the top for as long as you can, declining as slow as possible. 4 sets of 4-6 reps will help anyone struggling with pull ups.

I would do this once every two weeks or once a week max. dont over do it when training, I have experience over training. lol