T Nation

Perfect Ten with Pull-ups


I'm thinking of following the CW Perfect Ten program, using pull-ups. I'm just finishing a week or so away from Pull-ups as part of a planned rest (have still been working out - just no pull-ups), but prior to that, I was doing heavily weighted (for me) pullups 45-65LB extra weight, very low reps. The perfect ten program tends to involve higher reps-sets - probably representing a nice change from my heavy-weight Pull-ups, so that's as good a reason as any to try it.

But I have a couple of questions:

Firstly, has anyone tried this program, and if so, can you share your experience please? Ideally, I'd like to learn of someone trying Pull-ups, but frankly, I'll be pleased to hear from anyone who's tried it.

Secondly, I note that, for some of the workouts, Chad prescribes high-rep sets. Like many, I can't do high-rep sets with pull-ups without counterweight assistance (which I don't want to do). Last time I checked, my max reps was 14 (to burnout). It will probably be less now, being as I've trained heavy, and obviously burnout is not an option for this program.

How should I address that issue? As I see it, my options are:

  1. Don't try Perfect Ten using pull-ups.

  2. Do multiple sets until I make the prescribed # reps for a particular workout. E.g. where Chad prescribes 2 sets of 25 (let alone the one set of 50!), I could break that up into, say 2 x (3 x 8), with relatively short rests between each 8-rep set, and a longer rest between the next series of 3 sets. (Similarly, I could aim for 10 x 5 for the 50-rep workout, for example). All these would be bodyweight only.

  3. Stick to the number of sets, letting the reps be what they will be at near fatigue levels (this will thus restrict my max # reps to around 10-12, I suspect).

  4. Use a counterweight and make the full number of reps. This may be impracticle for me, as I don't have access to an assist machine, and my homemade attempts at this have been "less than successful" to date, but maybe I should persist?

  5. Use a Lat-tower (which I think is a poor substitute) for the high-rep sets?

Any suggestions?



I would suggest getting a "band" such as the kind which Louie Simmons uses at Westside. Attatch it to the Chin bar and either place your feet or knees in the band (whichever is appropriate for you) for assistance.



I do pullups every back day, I use lifting straps as I like to do sets of 20. I change grip every set and also do one set of chins. By the time I get to 80 I'm tired, myself I think that large numbers of PU's work best. That's just me.
anyway we can discuss this and maybe we can try different things and find a kickass routine




If you want to do the perfect 10 program I would do it for your back so you can get more variety in your training. You can still do plenty of sessions of pullups but I think you find the variety of different movement patterns to be helpful.

For vertical pulling movements you could do
parallel grip pullups
mixed grip pullups
sternum pullups

for other movements try
bb rows
db rows
upright rows
chest supported rows
scapula retraction row
muscle snatch
power clean


That's an interesting idea, thanks. I guess a concern I might have is trying to follow something as prescribed as Perfect 10 (P-10) routine using so many "different" exercises. If I understand P-10 correctly, I incorporate (say) a P-10 back routine into my regular workout - so I still do Cleans and such as part of my total-body training 2-3 times a week, but I focus on the back per the P-10 schedule. So perhaps lifts like Cleans would be too much (uses too many other body parts - so I risk overtraining); but I suppose I could substitute for other, quite different back exercises where a pull-up is just too intense - I had not considered that fully. Thanks for the thought. :slight_smile:

I won't start the routine 'til after next week, when I "return from Oz" (business trip to the land of kangaroos and great wine!), so I still have more time to mull things over as I develop a plan. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice!



When you do the Perfect 10, you are supposed to use 10 different exercise for the body part you pick.

You can do all sorts of variations of pullups, but you'll likely need some rows or pulldowns for the 2x20 and 1x50 days, since you're supposed to be able to do them as a set without pausing. If you have to keep resting to eventually get to the 25 reps in that set, then pull-ups or chin-ups are too tough for that day.

Also, the reason to do 10 different exercises is so the muscles are targeted differently each time, helping to avoid overtraining while keeping the frequency up.