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Pull-Up Improvement?

Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks

[quote]barbiegirl wrote:
Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks[/quote]

Any reason that muscular endurance is so important to you?

As for breaking through your plateau, as you say that you have used weighted sets before the easiest way I could think of would be to add lets say 10 lbs and work your way to being able to do 10-12 reps with that. When you return to BW only 10-12 will feel like nothing.

Thanks for the response.

I can’t even get 4 with 10 lbs on me let alone 10!

Why endurance cause my sport requires endurance (I paddle on an elite team)

I can’t even get 15 done without any weight!

[quote]barbiegirl wrote:
Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks[/quote]

You have a number of choices.

Option A)

Add weight to your pull up. So much that you can only perform 3 with excellent form. Progress to performing pull ups with this same added weight up to the number of reps you could originally perform with just body weight.

You will be able to crank out more body weight reps after this.

However, repeat the weighted Pull Up practice, adding more weight than before ( of course ) starting you back at 3 reps per set.

I suggest that you put these Pull Ups first thing, before you train anything else do you weighted Pull Ups. Later in the evening (5-8 hrs) later practice doing as many body weight Pull Ups as you can.

Option B)

Practice your Pull Ups like normal, just get your 10 in but, as soon as you can’t do another get assistance. From a band, or a partner.

I prefer having a partner.
Have your partner hold both feet at first, then progress to them holding just one foot, then progress the partner assisting by holding your waist, and pushing as needed. Then no longer pushing at all. Soon enough with your partner no longer helping.

With this option you should see improvements in endurance.

Option C)

Perform very heavy negatives, for so many reps. Feel your back muscles, lats, etc. Take AT LEAST 8 seconds to negative.

This last one sounds strange but it does work.

Weak links:

You may have a weak grip.

You may have weak arms, often these will give out before your back.

PS: Hit me up for clarification. I know I am not the best writer, so just get back on here and say WTF?!
I’ll try to be back with more techs, later. Very busy now.

Try Pyramid sets

e.g. start off with 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The rest you take between each set depends on how many reps you did (the system is based on you and a friend doing it together, so when you’re done your set, your friend/workout partner does his).

i had the same problem before. here’s what i did.

I started with pullup training and i only hit 8. I did ladders every other day and in about 3 weeks i hit 20, then i got stuck. After some experimentation, i realized that although ladders were good, they didn’t allow your cns to be trained to do higher reps, coz your max ladder set will be no where near as high as your one set max.

this is what worked best for me. do one max out set on day 1, cheating if you have to at the end. on day 2, perform one set of about 80% of your max reps. repeat the cycle. its important that you do it everyday. With this, i got from 20 to 30 in less than 2 weeks. 30 is a breeze now.

simple but effective.

[quote]barbiegirl wrote:
Thanks for the response.

I can’t even get 4 with 10 lbs on me let alone 10!

Why endurance cause my sport requires endurance (I paddle on an elite team)

I can’t even get 15 done without any weight!

[/quote]

It doesn’t matter if you can’t get the numbers immediately, just work your way up.

There was a time when I couldn’t do 2 BW pullups and although I made very slow progress it wasn’t until I forced myself to add a little weight to my belt that I started to get stronger. When I eventually tried them again with just BW it was like I didn’t weigh anything.

Do you know what kind of numbers your team mates can achieve? If they can do more than you maybe you could ask them how they got to that level.

Forget about weighted sets, if you want numbers then practice bodyweight only. The only reason I see you not making progress is wearing yourself out.

How often do you have to paddle?

If you perform pull-ups after paddling or even the day after, there’s a good chance you are overdoing it. For starters make sure you have at least 1 day in between the two. Even if that means doing pull-ups only once a week, you WILL improve. Over time you will be able to do them more often. But when progress stops, give it a rest and reduce the amount of work you do in a week.

Hi Barbie,
Wat’s your weight? If you have excess winter fat, lose it.
Pull ups is a combo of abs, lats, rhombs, rot cuff, biceps and forarm (grip).

You need to train these muscles at med-intensity with a little more speed.

Next, theres actually a technique.

Pull with your back and use the abs to coordinate the move. dun waste your energy with legs swinging and other movements. The abs, your core helps to drive the force of your bodywt upwards.

Pull simultaneously with the back and the arms. Once the chin is above the bar, come down. Down stay up there.

Lastly. inhale as you pull up (imagine feeling your lungs with helium and your body floats). Once you reach up there, exhale. Repeat the process.

Barbie,
I’d recommend what other people have said, ladders and pyramids. Also, if you can lift back once a week, any sort of row, I like bent barbell rows, straight arm pull-downs, and pull-downs will help. Go both heavy and light for weights. Weighted negatives are another good one, but lifting is what broke my plateau.

Also, don’t do many max sets, take a few weeks between that. I went over 2 months without doing a max set and went from 31 to 37. Also, when you hit a dead-hang, go straight back up, no pause, get rhythm, numbers increase.

Widen your grip, numbers will go down at first, but after a couple weeks of it, they will improve because you’re utilizing your back more and decreasing the distance traveled. Good luck.

Barbie–

Point A) You’re a girl, and you can do 12 pull-ups? That’s awesome!!!

B) How much training volume do you do? You may not yet need to focus on weighted pull-ups yet.

Lots of people get stuck at 10-15 chins or pull-ups because they just do a couple sets of high reps and never see any progress. Try manipulating your rep ranges and total volume. During one workout, set a total number of reps (like 50), and try to get it done doing sets of 5 or 4-6 with shorter rest periods; during another workout, just knock out a couple sets of high-rep chins.

If you get bored, do some sets with weight. At this point, variety is your friend: All different kinds of training will drive up your bodyweight reps as long as you practice medium to high reps at least once or twice a week.

C) Women tend, as a rule, to have weaker arms than men do; so the biceps are more often the sticking point. You mentioned that you have trouble getting 4 reps with 10 pounds added. Many women are much stronger up to the point where the biceps take over (where the arms are about parallel to the floor) and then fail, especially with added weight. A way to get around this is do lockoffs at the end of your workout.

Just chin up until your chin is over the bar and the bar is pressed against your shoulders. Then hold yourself there as long as possible. It helps to have clock to watch–‘mental seconds’ usually last about half as long as real ones. Shoot for benchmarks of 15, 30, 45, and 60 second holds. Even just getting to 30 seconds will improve your ability to finish up the chin-up a lot.

Barbie,

You are doing great with 12 pullups and I know a lot of gym rats that can barely get two reps. You might take a two week break from pullups and work on heavy barbell, dumbbell rows and pulldowns. If you don’t like that idea, then try forced rep training on pull-ups by having a friend push you up from the legs and get at least an extra 2-5 reps.

Ciao,
B

This is simple and effective.

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/69/

[quote]barbiegirl wrote:
Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks[/quote]

[quote]JamesA wrote:
This is simple and effective.

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/69/

barbiegirl wrote:
Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks

[/quote]

Like that one!

And I totally agree, I guess I just have to keep at it and more often. It does however get very frustrating.

Thanks for all the replies…but this last post just hit the spot!

The best advice I can give you for improving your pull-ups is to improve your grip strength. Working in the 8-15 rep range with fatbar or towel bar versions of dumbbell rows and curls will keep your grip and arms from fatiguing. They’re usually the weak link in people’s pull-ups.

But keep in mind that it takes a while to recover from intense grip training. If you have a day where your doing lots of thickbar work or other grip work, I’d keep it to 1 day a week.

Whats really handy for improving your arm endurance with pull-ups is narrow towel chin-ups.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1411503

[quote]barbiegirl wrote:
Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some input from this forum on improving my pullups. I’ve been stuck at a max rep of 10-12 depending on the type of bar, less with a fatter grip, more with smaller grip.

I seem to have tried everything: weighted sets, drop sets, ladders, max reps etc.

I’m kinda stuck and don’t know what to do to improve this aspect.

My goal for the summer: improve my pullups as I don’t have any stress of testing for max reps or max weights in the summer.

What muscles are lagging in order for me to see definite improvement. This winter I only went from 5 to 10 12 max reps so I don’t find this alot considering the amount of work I have put it into. I have a strong back but it lacks endurance…same goes for my bench row while lying flat on a board, chin touches board(not allowed to lift head up) and you row with a olympic bar 45lbs for girls. I can only get in around 85 for 2 min.

Thanks[/quote]

One thing you could always do, depending on what your current training set up is to do a set up like Joe DeFranco sets up in his westside for skinny bastards. You could do weighted pull ups/chin ups as a Max Effort Movements for a 5, 3, or 1 Rep Max.

Also on the Repeated Effort days, you could include Pull Ups there too, 3 sets of AMRAP, with no more than 2 minutes rest between sets.

Try Pavel’s Grease the Groove method.

[quote]Andrew Dixon wrote:
Try Pavel’s Grease the Groove method.[/quote]

best advice possible!

OP:

Glad to see you got what you needed. Now I am no longer obligated. Sounds funny but I was just going to keep posting until you either got the info you wanted or couldn’t take me any more. :wink: I just think anything less is half-assed. Any way, hope you get your results.

PS: Thanks for the input JamesA.

There is alot of info that got posted, honestly I felt kinda…lost, not knowing which one to pick. There are a few one that I had already tried, ladders, max rep set, total volume sets etc.

Like the article said, I just need to keep at it and do it as often as possible. Am thinking about getting chin up bar but I don’t find they allow you to go wide…

Thanks everyone for the posts, really appreciate it.