T Nation

Pull- Ups/Over 250lbs


First off I would just like to say hi I am a long time reader of this site. This is my first post, I am 5'10 275 lbs right now. Currently bulking, does anyone on this site that is around or above the 250lb mark have problems doing pull ups?

Currently I can only preform underhand or close grip neutral pull-ups. If I try to preform wide or overhand pull-ups my shoulders and elbows start screaming. 4 months ago when I was at the end of my cutting phase I could do pull-ups with all grips no problem. I can currently hang 45lbs off my waist and rep out 10-12 pull ups no problem underhand. I cant even do body weight pull-ups with any other grips without the problems I described earlier making me stop after a few reps. I was just wondering if anyone else has this problem or if I have structural deviations that stops me from using over hand grips or if it's just not a good idea doing overhand pull-ups at my Current weight.

Any advice would be appreciated. Oh I have also had my fair share of battling upper cross syndrome.


I'm lighter than you are at 215 but do weighted pull ups twice a week with 50 or more (I've gone as heavy as 100 lbs) twice a week. I do them both neutral grip and pronated grip. My shoulders used to bother me a lot too but I found that working on my mobility really helped out. I also did them only with a neutral grip for a while and slowly worked the other grips into my routine.

I'd say that if you're knocking them out with an underhand grip or neutral grip with added weight then you're doing really well and maybe you shouldn't worry about it. Do your shoulders bother you at any other time?



No my shoulders are fine on all other lifts. I just love pull ups it's one of the main ways I built my back. Will stick with under a while longer. Also have thought of trying to do overhand grip on the pull up assister machine in the gym. Just will have to swallow my pride first.


Nah, I weigh 280 and can do wide grip pull ups just fine. Sounds like a flexibility issue of some sort. Try performing the DC broom stick stretches to loosen your shoulder girdle up.


dont do wide grip pullups, i do them at the same spacing as my pressing - just outside of shoulders


I am just under 250 down from 280.. I had problems pulling the muscles in my scapular region when I tried to do bodyweight pullups, I would not do really wide pullups,( if its it hurts, it could be structural or just your too heavy to put that kinda stress on your shoulders in that position). Try using the pull up machine/ weight assisted for overgrip for higher reps one workout and undergrip/ neutral grip on your other workout. I would also add in scapular retraction pulldowns on the lat pulldown machine. just my 2 cents


Oh, and x2 to this.


We all going to ignore the fact that this guy weighs 275lbs in giving our advice? Really?


...a 275lb dude who can do chins and neutral-grip pullups


quite interesting
do you go all the way down/up on the chins?


What do you mean by this? Is a 275 man not supposed to do pullups? Im not following


Did everybody just turn retarded for a minute?

At 5'10 and 275lbs, we are either being asked about pullups from someone with an extremely large amount of muscle mass, or a fat guy. The difference in the advice we give depending on which one it is seems pretty significant.


See a physio, I had very similar elbow issues - they are 99% resolved now.


I've been a hair over 250 but spend most of my time in the 245'ish range. Pullups have always been part of my routine and always from a dead hang, overhand grip, slightl;y wider than shoulder length. I can do about 7.


He can perform several pull up/chin up variations according to the OP so I don't think his weight is that relevant here. I weigh 280 and can do pull ups just fine.

If he can do neutral grip and close grip chins there's no reason he shouldn't be able to do overhand.


He said he can hang a 45lb plate and "do 10-12 pull ups EASY"

I've never seen a 5'10" 275lb guy do 10-12 good weighted pullups before... Just sayin


Sorry it has takin me a while to post back. To answer some of the questions I don't go all of the way down on the pull ups, I leave a slight bend in my elbows.

I am not fat, although I'm not ripped either. I will post a picture of my back if any can explain to me how to post a pic from my phone.

The reason I'm asking is because I have never had this pain before. It seems to have been triggered by my weight gain. That's the reason for the bodyweight question.

I checked on the broomstick stretch and will add it to my stretching routine.

I used the pull up assister at The gym the other day and was able to do overhand pull ups with out pain at a lower weight.

I am starting to believe it is an imbalance or a flexibility issue.



It's good that you're doing the broomstick stretching - that is so money.

I'm interested to see a back shot if you get that up at some point.


I don't mind posting it, just can't figure out how to post it from my phone.


Do you have a data plan with your service provider? You can send a picture in an e-mail from your phone if you do. If not, you might be able to hook it up through a standard usb port and get the image off that way. Not sure, though. Never tried it that way.