T Nation

Pull Ups Not Improving

well, i just cant seem to be able to improve on my pull ups. I can pull about 7 right now, and perhaps struggle on my 8th. but its been the case for the past few months or so. and the number fluctuates, some days i can pull 8 easy, some days i can barely pull 5.

as im only able to go to the gym on weekends, i have two bodyweight days during the week which consists of me pulling up to 40 - 50 total doing sets of 5. (maybe 4/3 on the later sets when im more tired) Rest about 1 - 2 mins in between sets.

when i hit the gym, i’ll use the assisted chin up machine and do 5 sets of 8 - 10. and i also do T bar rows for my back, also 5 sets of 8 - 10.

so can anyone give me some advice?? id really like to be able to pull more.

*my other lifts are fine and are improving though. such as deadlifts and my presses.

We need to see details of your lifting program, diet and pics.
Or this post is useless.

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How is your bodyweight doing? Since your other lifts are improving, are you gaining weight (which means you are actually doing more work even if the # of repetitions does not change)

When you train every day, do not go to failure more than 1-2x per week

Since you’re a beginner, you’ll rapidly gain weight, and that will not aid in improving body weight rep numbers, especially not in a movement such as the pull-up, where you’re pulling 100% of your BW.

Work on your pull-ups. Assisted pull-ups won’t help in upping your pull-up numbers. You have to do the actual exercise. As long as you’re not ONLY doing assisted PU work your only problem probably is that you’re rapidly gaining weight by squatting and deadlifting.
You also need to do the movement more than once a week.

One thing that has done wonders for me, I’ll do a few sets, then do a fair amount of negative pullups. The negatives build up into adding extra reps to my max. Also, just do them more frequently throughout the week. There are a few good articles on this topic on T-Nation. Nate Green did one i believe.

I did the program from twentypullups.com. I started at only being able to do 4 pullups. After 6 weeks, I could do 23.

ok i just booked out after a short week in camp(army). thanks for the replies.

uh i dont really think my diet is really needed in this question. :confused:

but i train about 4 times a week like mentioned above. during the weekdays as im in camp, i do bodyweight excersises, weekends are spent in the gym, an upper body and lower body day.

body weight = pull ups to a certain number. for instance i started out doing 30 (divided into sets) then slowly progressed to 40 and now 50. and i did some pushups with assistance as my tricep which was injured is still recovering though its alot better now. (:

gym - upper body. for my back i do assisted pull ups. 5 sets of 10/8. this has been improving though. have been slowly decreasing the weight. and i do T bar rows which have also been improving.

lower body - deadlifts, rack pulls etc which have also been improving,

so it really seems that most of my other lifts have been improving except my body weight pull ups. :confused:
i dont really think its an issue of my weight increasing cause ive lost weight playing basketball. 74 - 70kg.

Just googled “TNation pullups.”

From my own experience I found that the number of reps for pullups I could do wouldn’t increase unless I did negative reps. I would do my usual sets, and then on the last set add 3 negative reps. Doing that I found my numbers would steadily increase. Eventually, when I stopped doing negative reps, my numbers stopped increasing. I started doing negatives again, my numbers started to increase.

It worked for me.

Suggestions:

1: Weighted pull-ups. Some sources suggest doing this after you hit 10-12, but I started doing them when my max was 8. Start with a belt and 10#, add. I shoot for 1-3 reps, then do drop sets back down to BW. I’m currently at ~+50# for 3 rep, 13 reps BW @ 255#.

2: Forced negatives. Bring a step or box, hit your reps, then do another 3-4 reps negative. Note: this will give you DOMS, and if you’ve never had sore wings, you’ll come to know the feeling.

3: Pyramids and other stuff. Don’t do them myself, but they’re a pretty popular program. Do a pull-up. Rest 10s. Do 2. Rest 10s. Do 3. Repeat to failure. Then back down (n, n-1, … 3, 2, 1). Example: http://www.projectswole.com/conditioning/increase-the-number-of-pull-ups-you-can-do-by-50-percent-in-one-day/

4: Grease the groove: Do 1-3 pull-ups every day, whether it’s back day or not.

Depending on where you are with fat loss / muscle gain, your numbers will vary. I’m up 10# and down a rep from January of this year.

to get from 5-10, i just did bodyweight ones all the time. inbetween exercises i’d always sneak in a few on a leg day, and some workouts i’d set a goal of 50 chinups to get done before i could leave.

to get my reps over 10, doing weighted ones got my numbers up really quickly. i’ve never focused on getting my chin/pull up max really high, but i can usually get at least 15 at a bodyweight of around 195

Ramp to a heavy triple on pulldowns

Kroc Rows

Google Armstrong pullup program. It was many people use to get their 20 in USMC. Worked for me when I followed it. I was never in the Marine Corps but alot of the guys I worked with were and they swore by it.

Could be a form issue? Try doing less reps and really focus on using your lats and upper back, but otherwise there are many good suggestions above.

Things that worked for me: weighted chins (but your form must already be good), high frequency (small numbers multiple times per day 1-3 at a time if you can only do 7 currently), and when you get stuck switch things up (chins, neutral grip, or change the angle of pull, as in lean away from the bar).

hmm thanks guys. ill be trying some of the suggestions out. maybe switch the grips once in a while, more focus on form and mor evolume. (:

[quote]jakerz96 wrote:
Could be a form issue? Try doing less reps and really focus on using your lats and upper back, but otherwise there are many good suggestions above.

Things that worked for me: weighted chins (but your form must already be good), high frequency (small numbers multiple times per day 1-3 at a time if you can only do 7 currently), and when you get stuck switch things up (chins, neutral grip, or change the angle of pull, as in lean away from the bar).[/quote]

Yeah. OP needs to learn to pull real hard/fast. When you do those easy sets of 5 make sure you are smoking your reps. Try to smash your sternum into the bar.