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Improving Pullups

I’ve just started working out for the past 2 months after being a long distance runner and I must state; it feels great!! But I do have a question about pullups though. I can only do about 5-8 completely. How can one improve this? I’m guessing it’s mainly shoulder strength and lats. Any input?

-Lee

Do Pull-ups.

When I was in the Marines, we’d “train” pullups at almost every PT session by doing sets of 10 or max sets. But in my oppinion, I was able to easily get 20+ on test days by my workouts in the GYM, not necessarily on the pullup bar doing body weight pullups.

On my “back day” I’d pick a number like 50, then do weighted pullups in sets of 5 (or triples/doubles etc) until I reached 50 pullups. I’d usually end with just body weight, but the goal was to get at least one more weighted pullup out of the 50 total each week. Then I’d do deads, rows, snatches, more rows, maybe some pulldowns, whatever. I think that helped more than anything.

Hope this helps.

DD

i used to only be able to do 1 back in high school. just keep on doing them, no replacement for pull ups. if you can do 5-8 then you can do sets of 5/4

Also sometimes do lower rep weighted pullups and other times do band assisted pullups for more reps.

Two methods that will work: “grease the groove” and ladders.

Grease the groove = do many sets every day, well short of failure. If you can do 8 at the moment, do sets of 4-5. After a month, check your max and adjust number of reps accordingly.

If you can’t do this method (eg because of work) then do ladders. Do 1 rep, take a short break (traditionally this would be just long enough for your workout buddy to do his 1 rep). Then do 2 reps, take a break, 3 reps, take a break etc until you reach the point where you can’t do any more reps than the previous set. Then start back again at 1 rep, 2 reps etc.

Both methods essentially work by doing large volume without failure.

Sweet, this is great advice. Thanks I’ll begin to incorporate it and watch my progress :D.

[quote]Go heavy fool wrote:
Do Pull-ups.[/quote]

I think the same way you do Go Heavy, and after all these years, I can still only get 20.
The same I did when 15-16 years old.
Ive gotten to being able to do 100 pushups in a row and all this other stuff with powerlifting but those damn pullups seem to hate me

Obviously your overall fitness level plays a role (low body fat, more muscle == more pullups). I’m about 50 days into a Berardi-styled eating plan with the primary goal of dropping fat. When I started – I could not do 1 pullup (I know – pathetic). So I started with slow eccentrics (I’d lower myself, and use a chair to get back up to the bar). I started by doing 3 sets of 8. I’m up to the point where I can do a measely 3 – but I’ve also dropped 20 lbs over the last 50 days – so that probalby has as much to do with it as anything. I also finish the remaining 3x8 negatives. But I’m actually quite proud of those 3 – considering where I’m starting from – but then again I am a fatGuy.

[quote]huyslogic wrote:
I’ve just started working out for the past 2 months after being a long distance runner and I must state; it feels great!! But I do have a question about pullups though. I can only do about 5-8 completely. How can one improve this? I’m guessing it’s mainly shoulder strength and lats. Any input?

-Lee[/quote]

sharetrader had some good ideas, 2 other good ideas are:
http://www.weight-lifting-workout-routines.com/workout-routine-3.html

  1. Major Armstrongs Pullup Program

The first method is a lot more doable the 2nd method is if you want to increase your numbers very very quickly but you are also working pullups 5 days a week. Using the 2nd method I went from 10 to 15 in 3 weeks. After that I stopped because basically I was sick of doing pullups 5 workouts a week.

Do 4 sets of half your max reps 3 times per week. On the last rep of each set, hold for as long as possible at the top and middle of the eccentric portion. At the bottom (hang) position, do max reps of ‘shrugs’ by pulling your shoulder blades down & in.
Do partner assisted or cheat pullups from a bench.
Work range of motion & endurance by doing reverse push ups under a bench bar.
Work overall back strength with bent over rows/ rows.
Round it off with lat pull down machine.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
Two methods that will work: “grease the groove” and ladders.

Grease the groove = do many sets every day, well short of failure. If you can do 8 at the moment, do sets of 4-5. After a month, check your max and adjust number of reps accordingly.

[/quote]

Grease the groove, IMO, is the way to go. My brother got pullup bar for his 10th birthday, and since then every time I went downstairs I did 10-15-20 pullups, and I still do them to this day , 7 years later, every time I go downstairs. Grease that groove!

Also, I’m into heavy metal and I went to ozzfest a few years ago and got a free Marines t-shirt for doing 20 pullups, so if that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is.

I like the grease and groove idea…gotta admit I had never heard it called that. Don’t be afraid to bust out sets of pull-ups the whole time you are at the gym…in-between other exercises - whether it be chest day or leg day or whatever. The idea is to get as much volume as you can.

I am reminded of how Arnold brought his calves up to par. His calves were really lagging behind, and he was not genetically pre-dispositioned to great calf development. So to solve this dilemma he would do calf work first in his workouts,when he was fresh, and he would do them often. Volume is the key.

[quote]huyslogic wrote:
I’ve just started working out for the past 2 months after being a long distance runner and I must state; it feels great!! But I do have a question about pull ups though. I can only do about 5-8 completely. How can one improve this? I’m guessing it’s mainly shoulder strength and lats. Any input?

-Lee[/quote]

Once I started doing weighted pullups, the amount I could do without added weight jumped up. Seems logical but I am the only one at my gym I ever see doing weighted pull ups, chinups, or dips.