T Nation

Increasing pullup strength

I know this has been touched on before, but I can’t find it. Does anyone remember a workout for increasing strength on the pullup. With a slow tempo and a wide grip I’m lucky if I can get 3 reps. At a fast tempo I can maybe get 5-6 reps. HELP!

Arnold S’s way of doing it always works well. In a workout, pick a total # of reps to do & do them, say, 50. So you do 50 total reps, whether they’re in sets of 1 or 5 or 10 or 50.

Look for an article in the previous issues called “Back to the Basics”. But I’d be interested in hearing of methods some of you guys may have. I am in a strength phase and I can only do 3 sets of 4 widegrip/pronated. I chose to work that one because it seems like the weakest pullup position, but I may be wrong.

Get back to basics.

If you don’t have a spotter, you can still cheat to help yourself get in some extra reps. I once had a very low ability to do reps, but by cheating at the end of the set by pushing lightly on the floor with my feet for a few extra reps, I have worked up to about 12 reps. I you have a partner though, just get a spot.

Strap a 45 to a weight belt and do singles

I realize I am stating the obvious, but I can do a lot more pull ups when I drop some excess pounds. I am bulking now and can barely do six.

Perform ladders. That will get your numbers up.
Ive gone from 6 to 10 to 14 to 16 to 18 to 20 and now am at 22 in about 5 months. I am not sure how much you weigh but if you can lose some weight that helps as well. I went from 195 down to 185 and they got a lot easier for the obvious reason. I am now back at 195 and kept my strength.

I was in the same situation, Dave. And I came across this information from CP’s site about a guy with the same problem (huh! there’s more of us weak bastards! that’s a no-brainer) He (CP) says:

"If you can only do 5-6 pull-ups, strive to do 10 sets of lets say 2 reps on your first workout. Every workout, strive to increase the total number of pull-ups by at least one. The key to success of this progress is the total volume of work, not all sets of pull-ups are obviously done to failure. But for your first workout, you will have done 20 reps on the pull-ups, within no time your pull-up performance will increase. Shoot for 10 sets of 6 pull-ups before your retest your maximal performance for reps on a single set. Make sure to pair antagonists muscles to be time efficient. You can pair a pressing exercise or a external rotator cuff exercise or both.
For example your workout will look this:

Set 1 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 1 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 2 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 2 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 3 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 3 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 4 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 4 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 5 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 5 of antagonist work - change of exercise (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 6 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 6 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 7 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 7 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 8 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 8 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 9 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 9 of antagonist work - change of exercise - (Flat Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 10 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 3110, rest 90 seconds)
Set 10 of antagonist work (Flat Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3110 rest 90 seconds)"

Have any of you stupid fuckers ever read Charles Poliquin book the Poliquin Principles. In his book he goes into detail about how he increased the Canadian bobsled teams number of pullups from 0 to 12 in a twelve week time. Here is what you do. Do as many pullups as you can then have a friend help you complete the rest. Do two to three sets of these. Then do 1-2 sets of a weight or your bodyweight and lower yourself for 30seconds. Once you can lower yourself for 30 seconds add weight like a 5pd. plate attached to a belt and tie it around you…i swear to god this works…my number of pullups shot up. Good luck dude. Oh and the comment at the beginning was not toward the first post but to the people who follow. Who the fuck still listens to Arnold…he is no damn strength coach. geeeezzzzzz.