T Nation

Pullups

What do you people do to get good at pullups? Does anybody do anything different from Arnold’s ‘count to 50’ or Poliquin’s gymnast routine or Pavel’s ladder(my favorite) or anything different from what’s on the T-site?

I have only been lifting about 6 months and was wondering about getting to be able to do a pull up for the first time. Both King and Poliquin advocate doing just “negatives” i.e just the lowering part (e.g. have someone lift you up or use a chair) which they say will help you improve very rapidly. Has anyone tried this, and does it work?

I did the negative only reps for about 6 weeks and it worked very well. I went from 2 or 3 reps to about 6 or 7.

The best thing I’ve found to UP my number of pull ups?
I totally convince myself that I have previously done 4 times as many as my PB, visualise how easy it is, breath in, exhale and PULL!
Its a case of Mind over matter as far as I’m concerned!

Great Scott! It’s Batman! Alright, that probably made no sense, so I digress. Scottie too Hottie, my man, do you have access to one of those dandy dip/chin stations? You could always try one of them there bad boys and just progressively decrease the amount of assistnace.

Natey, if you want to get good at pull-ups, I believe heavy eccentrics will be a good place to start. Also, I’ve directed some guys and gals in my gym to do the Patient Lifters Method as advocated by Poliquin. As a result of both training protocols, they’re doing pull-ups in the double digit range after starting out from being only able to do 2-4 bodyweight pulls-ups. I haven’t tried Pavel’s routine, but it looks pretty sound. Good luck bro. Peace.

It’s hard to get very good at pull-ups if you’re a bodybuilder because as you get stronger you gain weight and have more weight to pull. As far as the different routines go, I’m sure most of them work, but probably the most important thing is maintaining bodyweight or even dropping bodyweight. Weight cycling is another method that works for absolute strength…Say you weight 200 lbs bulk up to 220…cut back down to 205. Well chances are you’ll be a lot stronger when you come back down to 205 then you were at 200…I’ve found for myself anyway that my absolute strength increases significantly each time I come back down.

To get good at pullups you have to focus on doing pullups. By that i mean don’t substitute machine pulldowns as your core exercise to improve your pullups. Pullups require other stabilers and auxiliary muscle to perform them. Machines takes this synergistic factor away from pullups. I usually do pullups first on my back days. I work up to 4 sets of ten (in strict form *I weigh 195lbs @ 5’10 my bodyfat is around 9-10%) then i do the rest of my work outs.- Barbell rows,Dumbell Rows, and close grip pulldowns. Sometimes i will finish my work out off with more pullups with 2 sets to failure.
Pullup is definitely king when it comes to great back development. My training parter has notice a lot of improvements as i was preparing for last year’s competition.

Hope this helps.
Blaze

Stepping up on a chair and lowering yourself really does work. If you have a partner, have them assist you by pushing up on your shoulder blades on the way up only, then letting you handle your entire bodyweight on the way down (eccentric). My girlfriend used this method to go from nothing to sets with 6-7 reps in 1 year. Once you can do 6 reps with bodyweight, start adding weight with a belt for singles and doubles.

Nobody has mentioned weighted pullups, surprisingly. Even if you can currently only perform a few pullups (and I mean all the way up, not jutting your chin above the bar), try strapping some weight on every other pullup workout. This mocks gaining bodyweight, obviously stresses your muscles more, and will make a big difference. And don’t waste time doing pulldowns if you want to get better at pullups, you’re only exhausting yourself.

Here’s one for ya, let’s play with the new Staley article and some Westside ideas. Westside says that to get better at the bench/squat, there are three methods to use: max effort, dynamic, and repetition. Dynamic training is important for everybody because it improves your rate of force development, and we have seen from our T-dawg Staley that brachiomorphs are genetically suited to this type of training. So dynamic is good for everyone and even more so for the lanky types. You want to get better at pull-ups? Why not train it like a powerlifter would train the bench/squat? Have a max effort day and perform some variation of the pull-up then do supplemental/assistance work. Then have a dynamic day where the pull-up is done with compensatory acceleration, probably with a cable pulldown station then more supplemental/assistance work. Let me know if anyone would want to do this.

There is a playground next to my house that has a huge jungle gym. I will ape travel that for a good hour with several breaks and it really tears up the lats and all the related musclature. It is also good from an increased endurance stand point.