T Nation

Pull Ups (For Female)

I have a client who has to pass the US Secret Service PT test in the near future. I have to lower her run times, keep her sit ups and push ups steady, all of these tasks should be easy. My difficulty will be getting her from 0 pull-ups unassisted to 3 un-assisted pull ups…

Any ideas you guys have to help me get her strong enough to pull up on her own would be greatly appreciated. Her weakest point in the pull-up is at the bottom. If she is to hang, she can not get herself moving. With a little push from the bottom, she can move herself up about halfway, where I have to force the rest of the movement.

[quote]TrainerinDC wrote:
I have a client who has to pass the US Secret Service PT test in the near future. I have to lower her run times, keep her sit ups and push ups steady, all of these tasks should be easy. My difficulty will be getting her from 0 pull-ups unassisted to 3 un-assisted pull ups.

Any ideas you guys have to help me get her strong enough to pull up on her own would be greatly appreciated. Her weakest point in the pull-up is at the bottom. If she is to hang, she can not get herself moving. With a little push from the bottom, she can move herself up about halfway, where I have to force the rest of the movement. [/quote]

I’d say keep spotting her like you do until she can.

[quote]TrainerinDC wrote:
I have a client who has to pass the US Secret Service PT test in the near future. I have to lower her run times, keep her sit ups and push ups steady, all of these tasks should be easy. My difficulty will be getting her from 0 pull-ups unassisted to 3 un-assisted pull ups.

Any ideas you guys have to help me get her strong enough to pull up on her own would be greatly appreciated. Her weakest point in the pull-up is at the bottom. If she is to hang, she can not get herself moving. With a little push from the bottom, she can move herself up about halfway, where I have to force the rest of the movement. [/quote]

If she can’t do any pull-ups, start with lat pulldowns as heavy as she can do for a few reps. Use an underhand (supinated) grip about shoulder width. Also work on bicep exercises. Don’t waste time on those pull-up assist machines. Just do lots of heavy pull downs and curls.

You can try 8x3’s or 5x5’s on an assisted pull up machine. If you can reduce the assistance each week, you might make your goal.

I’m not sure how she is weight wise, but if she can lose some weight, she’ll have less to pull up.

tweak

Try band assisted pull ups if bands are available. Also, see how negative only pull ups works with strength gains for this client.
-LH

Do they allow kipping in the test, or do they have to be strict pull-ups?

You might want to have her train using kipping or even jumping pull-ups, as this will generally increase a person’s number of strict pull-ups.

Id say also add in opne day a week of HEAVY negatives where she jump up or you help her to the top and she SLOWLY lower her self.

Ive used this helping several females and males get to that One and beyond in a short time. I am pretty sure Jilly Bop did much the same in her thread on chinning as well. Just once a week or twice on those though they are taxing, Do them in singles until she cant slow the eccentric then call it a day.

Here’s a great article on pull up progressions:
www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/226/

Also, I am a big fan of accentuated eccentrics, helping her to get up, then a slow negative. This is what I have found to be most effective for teaching the pull up.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=636350

I got a lot of good advice in this thread. I’ve worked my way from 0 up to a max of 7 consecutive pullups. Focusing on jumping up and doing as slow a negative as possible a few times at the end of each workout really helped get me started.

Zeb also has a killer post somewhere (do a search) on pullups and chin ups. Good luck!

The negatives are your big gun here I think but I also like the band assisted idea for this, especially if you have her pause for a few seconds at the hang and then explode up. Obviously this will require substantial band assistance.

Keep the reps low on these and the quality high. The other thing I would consider is having her finish her session with one or two dead hangs for time, focusing on really squeezing the bar- a habit she should get into for the radiation effect- since her grip may be a weak link holding back the rest of the movement.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Id say also add in opne day a week of HEAVY negatives where she jump up or you help her to the top and she SLOWLY lower her self.

Ive used this helping several females and males get to that One and beyond in a short time. I am pretty sure Jilly Bop did much the same in her thread on chinning as well. Just once a week or twice on those though they are taxing, Do them in singles until she cant slow the eccentric then call it a day.

[/quote]

I like this idea. I’ve never tried it.

There are a lot of things you could do with this client, just think of what you would do with someone trying to get past a sticking point, but something specific and simple would be just trying to attemp to do one pull-up everyday of the week.

This part is key (that’s why it needs to be in all CAPS): STRESS “SAFE” SPEED THROUGH THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT

If you have it available to you, try vertical rope climbing (start by using the legs to support some of the weight then work up to using more of the upper body only). I had tried all of the techniques listed above, and had improved my pullups a little, but when I added rope climbing, it really taught me to engage my back properly and now regular pullups aren’t a problem - I was surprised what a difference it made for me.

Great posts in this thread DC.

I really have not much new to add other than fat man pull ups.

I have used assited pull ups (by me), negative pull ups (weighted at times), pull up machine - lower assistance weekly, front lat pull downs - including negatives.

Thanks to the other posters for their good avice, will come in hand with my clients.

She came in today for a one hour session. She is already capable of excellent in the sit ups and 1.5 mile run, so we aren’t even going to work on those.

After 20 mins of supersetting quads, hams, and calves, I started her on lats with Pulldowns 3x10 50 70 90 with wide grip, then a closer grip with the same rep scheme and pyramid, she weighs about 125. Some seated cable rows and rear delt flies, then just some hangs in pull up position to increase grip strength.

Finished off the workout with supersets for bicep 10 pounds db supinated curls followed by straight bar curls w/ 30 pound bar. Sets for 15.

When I see her again on saturday I intend to work on her chest, and actually make her do negative pullups every 10 - 15 minutes for a couple sets. Probably throw in some tricep and direct shoulder work as well.

Any suggestions or comments are definitely welcomed. I appreciate all the input so far, and so will she when she blows away the test. =D

Do pull ups first in the session when she is fresh.

Focus on the number. Get her to cheat as much as possible by jumping, kipping and using the stretch reflex at the bottom. Anything, as long as the gets to the top. Do 1-2 sets like this.

Then do 1-2 sets where she jumps to the top and focus on a super slow eccentric.

Finally, finish with a band assisted or spotted set.

I would keep the reps under 4, as she only has to get 3 to pass.

When she can cheat 3 reps out, you can focus on perfecting the technique.

I took my wife from 0 - 10 chins in less than 3 months by using a chair to start at the top and do a 20 sec negative for 2 sets and 2-5 minutes rest in between sets 5 days a week.

When she could do that I added a dumbbell to her legs of 10-15 pounds and did the same thing.

When she could do that I had her rep out at real speed for one set then reps with a real speed concentric and a 4sec negative.

I took 2 reps off(saw she could do 3 reps with a 4 sec negative I would start with one rep) and did 2 sets of that number and a a rep to a set each day.

Week 1
Day set 1 set 2
1 1 1
2 2 1
3 2 2
4 3 2
5 3 3
off
off
Week 2
1 4 3
2 4 4
3 5 4
4 5 5
5 4 3
off
off
Week3
1 4 4
2 5 4
3 5 5
4 6 5
5 6 6
Off
Off Now I had her rep out at real speed and did the same thing with real speed reps.

With another lady I worked with she didn’t follow this rep scheme. At the start of each I would use the previous wednesday rep scheme and continue the progression from there.

So week 2 would have been
2 2

week 3 then would have been
3 3

Week 4 would have been
4 4

etc.Then real speed reps and repeated.

So I guess it depends on how long you have before she tests out.

Another option is for her to drop some body fat - I pressume she probably doesn’t have much if any to lose if she is this far along and serious about the job - something to look at though.

Peace,
Teddy

I like the negatives idea. I’ve never tried one-armed pull-ups or chins. Always just added weight. But I’m going to test it out and if I can’t do one, I’m going to use this negative approach until I can.

For Those Who Are Unable To Do Even One Chin:

The biggest fallacy that I have seen regarding Chinning is that you can get better at it by doing Lat pulldowns. That is like saying that you will get better at public speaking by chewing your food! They both move the jaw bone but thats about as much as they have in common. The Lat machine will not help you become better at Chin-ups.

These are two completely different movements that should not be confused with each other. I have seen many people who are good at Lat Pulldowns but still unable to do even one Chin-up.

If you are unable to do one Chin I suggest the following: Find a Smith Machine and place the bar about eye level. Then get a bench and place it in front of the bar a few feet. Grab the bar in Chin-up or Pull-up position while placing your feet on the bench. This position should be easy enough for you to knock off 6 reps or so. If you are unable to do this, then lower the bar in the Smith Machine a few more inches and try again. You will eventually find just the right height.

I have instructed others to use a Smith Machine as one was available in their gym. However, the same thing can be accomplished with any bar that is at a lower level. This can even be done under a regulation Chin-up bar if you have something to place your feet on. You may have to get creative, but the idea is the same. You want to mimic that motion as best you can.

In addition to this I also suggest climbing up to a regulation Chin-up bar and holding yourself in the “up” position for a few seconds, and then doing a negative. Begin the first week by doing one set of three negatives, no more! Try to take at least :5 to :10 seconds to do the negative, if possible.

A third alternative, depending upon how far along that you are, is to have someone assist you from behind. As you grab the Chin-up bar and begin to pull, have your partner grab you from behind by placing his/her hands on your lower waist. Then have him/her help lift depending on how much assistance that you need. Whatever you do, do not use the Lat Pulldown machine thinking that this will help you with Chins/Pulls. It may build the Lat (not as good as Pullups) but it will not actually help you do Chins-ups or Pull-ups, as much as actually doing the movement!

Also, make sure that her bodyfat is low. The lower the bodyfat the easier to perform Chins. I know that many women usually carry more (fat)weight in their hips and thighs. This is one reason that they usually have a more difficult time performing Chins. But that is not insurmountable. Make sure that she is doing the proper cardio and following a good nutritional plan. Both will help her attain her chinning goals

Good luck,

Zeb

I think you need to reverse the order of her workout. Put pullups first, followed by pullup assistance exercises (though I doubt they’re needed), then everything else. If she’s doing supersets on her legs, working her back with rows, etc, then dowing pullups she’s going to be too damn tired to concentrate on what she needs the most improvement.

Follow all the other advice in this thread but be sure she does all that in her workout when she’s fresh, after a light warmup of course.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
For Those Who Are Unable To Do Even One Chin:

If you are unable to do one Chin I suggest the following: Find a Smith Machine and place the bar about eye level. Then get a bench and place it in front of the bar a few feet. Grab the bar in Chin-up or Pull-up position while placing your feet on the bench. This position should be easy enough for you to knock off 6 reps or so. If you are unable to do this, then lower the bar in the Smith Machine a few more inches and try again. You will eventually find just the right height.

[/quote]

I use doorway chin up bar and a kitchen chair in the same way as this. My plan was to occasionally crank out a few chins on my way to the fridge. I guess it’s working because i’m up to about 4 unassisted.