T Nation

Pull Ups

I can do 13 pull ups now. My goal is to do 30. Can anyone recommend a program?



Simply put, a dog can perform far fewere pull-ups than a monkey. why? monkeys are in trees all darn day. Starting a regime, regardless of reps, etc., be prepared for your max. rep set to go down before it goes up. Your muscles have to get accustomed to the new routine…after they adapt you will improve. My recommendation (i do 35 dead hang for the usmc) is to do a max set and then do partial repetitions. Meaning: hit the top half of the repetition and only go down until your for arm and humerous create a 90 degree angle and then back up. (max set) then the bottom half: from the bottom until you get to that 90 degree angle. (max set) what you’re doing here is isolating the particular muscles that work that exact portion of the repetition whether it’s your lats or your biceps. This will get you through the sticking points, give you some combustion from the bottom, and break up the monotony as well…hope i helped

Start doing weighted pull-ups for a while and get your numbers up to 13 with 50lbs of additional weight. Then go back to bodyweight chins and watch what happens. Hint: you will fly over the bar!

I brought my pull-ups from 12 to 27 waaaaay back in high school by simply doing one max set per day and always going for an extra rep every second to third day. I had to do them on a bar against the wall, so they were all done with pretty good form. That’s the only pull-up training I did and it worked fine… (also in prep for USMC).

See CT’s program in a recent issue for one good program.

For myself, I tried many different approaches to reach a long term goal of 20 reps, but for the longest time I could never get past 16.

What eventually worked for me was frequent workouts with lots of sets, but never to failure. I did pullups 3-4 times a week, with up to 20 sets in a workout, but I never went to within 2 reps of failure. I used ladders, reverse ladders, and other rep schemes. Since breaking 20 reps I’ve been able to maintain it without such a frequent program, and I’ve moved on to trying to increase my weighted pullup max.


Big Philly Style,

While the great Dr. Dre always said Keep Your Head Up, the great Christian Thibaudeau would counter by saying Keep Your Chin Up. Check it out, yo.

why not try toying with Christian T’s “keep your chin-up” article. I am sure you can get it to work for pull-ups as well.

Is your goal a realistic one? I can do 13 as well, but 30 seems so very far away…



i always thought monkeys could do more pull ups than a dog because dogs dont have hands! just kidding…point taken.

When I got to 10 bodyweight pullups to the chest I added weight. It made a big difference. My goal was never to do mass amounts of reps at bodyweight though. If it was I’d go with working at less than failure 3-4 times a week to grow the muscles but not overtax the nervous system. Gradually increase the workload as you adapt and you’ll get there.