T Nation

Short on Pull-Ups, Arm Exercises?

I just got through reading the T-Nation article “Stupid Things Guys Do in the Gym” and it says:

“Besides, if you can’t do five pull-ups with good form, you shouldn’t even be doing a curl of any kind. Your arms will grow once the rest of your body grows.”

I am getting closer to being able to rep pull-ups properly, but am still a tad short. What arm excercises would this article recommend I do?

I’d also be interested to see a reply to this as i dont so much do pull ups as hold the bar really tight pull as hard as i can fart a couple of times and then loose my grip.

try forced load progression.

essentially, you add weight (via back pack or dip belt) every week (by the lowest increments possible). you do that till you’re doing singles. once you’re doing singles, then you keep at that weight for two weeks. after two weeks, go back to your body weight. you’ll be able to do more.

then you start the process all over again, but with more weight.

example:

you’re starting the process now with your body weight. the next time you start the process, you’ll either have 2 1/2 lbs or 5 lbs of added resistance as your “beginning” weight.

get it? got it? good :slight_smile:

hope this helps. it did for me :wink:

If you’re a bigger guy then you might want to - lose some body fat, and work on your pulldowns and rowing.

Smaller guys should be able to handle negative only chins or any other progression towards chinups. Do a search there are at least a few articles about working up to a chin up. Additionally Deadlifting might be a good idea while you work up to it in order to strengthen your grip and upper back.

The quote from that article is stupid, don’t pay attention to it.

You should still be training your arms with the normal barbell/dumbell curls.

As others have suggested, negatives are a great way to get better at pullups

and… GASP… so is strengthening your arms with curls. Who would have imagined something so sensible???

[quote]tubbynewb wrote:
I’d also be interested to see a reply to this as i dont so much do pull ups as hold the bar really tight pull as hard as i can fart a couple of times and then loose my grip. [/quote]

hahahahahaha wait, does this mean you do some bad pullups? Or is it a typo? Or do you just fart a couple of times?

i seriously cant pull my 115kg body all the way up from a dead hang. i can do it from a jumping start and do a negative, but thats more momentum than actual work, but dead hang, no way.

[quote]tubbynewb wrote:
i seriously cant pull my 115kg body all the way up from a dead hang. i can do it from a jumping start and do a negative, but thats more momentum than actual work, but dead hang, no way.[/quote]

Just do 'em on the lat pulldown machine until you build up your strength. Go heavy, 4-5 reps or so, should get there in no time.

If you want to get better at doing pull ups, do more pull ups.

Negatives, Weighted and unweighted.

Lat pulldowns are good for a lift to do AFTER you are down with pull ups.

Keep It Simple Stupid. Use that method.

work hard!!

So, sticking with my normal curl excercises are ok?

[quote]tubbynewb wrote:
I’d also be interested to see a reply to this as i dont so much do pull ups as hold the bar really tight pull as hard as i can fart a couple of times and then loose my grip. [/quote]

“A” for effort.

It is ok to stay with your normal arm exercises. What I did was use a high cable pulley, I got on my knees and did pull downs. I kept progressing the weight up until I got to the point of being able to do pull ups.
Now I can do pull ups with added weight.

Try this, it worked for me.

My only word of caution to the OP and to tubbynewb stems from the way I see lots of guys doing pullups in the gym: with one or both shoulders hunching up toward their ears and staying there the whole time.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on in these cases, but it looks like their arms are overpowering their shoulders/backs. Whatever’s going on, it can’t be good.

When I started doing pullups again after a shoulder injury, I found some of the same happening to me – I felt like my shoulders (right – injured – one particularly) would slide up as I pulled down on the bar and that I couldn’t pull it back down.

I could still crank out 10 or 12 pullups after months away from doing them, but it was all arms: my back and shoulders were taken out of the picture after the first few reps. They felt horrible.

What I did to counter this: hang from the bar and just work on the “shoulder” portion of the pullup: the 3 or 4 inches at the bottom going from a dead hang (shoulders plugging your ears or close) to pulling your shoulder blades back and down, arms straight the whole time (feels like you’re sucking your arms into the shoulder sockets).

After a few weeks of doing this, I started adding in full ROM pullups (still from a dead hang) and they felt much better, like proper pullups again. (A proper pullup, to me, originates in the back – I like to think of pulling my elbows to my hips, though they never actually get there.)

Curl, bench, etc. all you want, just make sure you watch your form on pullups (and pulldowns) and that you don’t compensate for bad form/weak back with more arm work.

There have been several other threads on pullups if you care to look for them, and there are all sorts of strategies for doing your first/doing more.

Yeah I was never able to do pullups even through early college. I did pulldowns, inverted rows and arm work but nothing really helped all that much with pullups. So I justed started doing negatives as slow as I could for a few reps 3 or 4 days a week.

Just jump up and lower under control. After a while I was able to singles from a dead hang. Eventually your body will adapt and you will get some very noticable back growth and you will be doing reps in no time.

The negatives suck and are not fun but the only way I every got myself doing pullups was to practice pullups. Make sure you are doing chin-ups with palms facing you. The back workout is just as good and they are a bit easier to start.

When you can do 5-10 reps with good form you will be able to do pull-ups as well, probably for a few less reps.

[quote]Dissonance wrote:
I just got through reading the T-Nation article “Stupid Things Guys Do in the Gym” and it says:

“Besides, if you can’t do five pull-ups with good form, you shouldn’t even be doing a curl of any kind. Your arms will grow once the rest of your body grows.”

I am getting closer to being able to rep pull-ups properly, but am still a tad short. What arm excercises would this article recommend I do?[/quote]

the point is not to work your arms directly.

sit your ass on that lat pulldown machine and keep pulling until u can get 15 pull ups

[quote]ZeusNathan wrote:
Dissonance wrote:
I just got through reading the T-Nation article “Stupid Things Guys Do in the Gym” and it says:

“Besides, if you can’t do five pull-ups with good form, you shouldn’t even be doing a curl of any kind. Your arms will grow once the rest of your body grows.”

I am getting closer to being able to rep pull-ups properly, but am still a tad short. What arm excercises would this article recommend I do?

the point is not to work your arms directly.

sit your ass on that lat pulldown machine and keep pulling until u can get 15 pull ups[/quote]

And thats a stupid point. Why in the name of GOD would a newbie NOT train his arms?

NEWSFLASH, THIS JUST IN: Doing curls helps your pullups and will leave you with big arms. Not doing curls if you want big biceps is dumb.

OP: You should try negative pullups. Get yourself up using momentum and really resist the tension on the way down. After a while th epullups should be easier. Also try rack chins.

I really have to say, I’m sick of this trend of saying that body parts shouldn’t be worked until you can do this many (insert exercise here).

It’s asinine.

I can see getting athletes to train big lifts over isolation exercises, and wanting them to not focuse too much on the “Curls for the girls” (as my old football coach used to say) but I cannot see guys who just want to get big not doing curls because they can’t do pullups, especially because strong arms will help you do fucking pullup.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
Dissonance wrote:
I just got through reading the T-Nation article “Stupid Things Guys Do in the Gym” and it says:

“Besides, if you can’t do five pull-ups with good form, you shouldn’t even be doing a curl of any kind. Your arms will grow once the rest of your body grows.”

I am getting closer to being able to rep pull-ups properly, but am still a tad short. What arm excercises would this article recommend I do?

the point is not to work your arms directly.

sit your ass on that lat pulldown machine and keep pulling until u can get 15 pull ups

And thats a stupid point. Why in the name of GOD would a newbie NOT train his arms?

NEWSFLASH, THIS JUST IN: Doing curls helps your pullups and will leave you with big arms. Not doing curls if you want big biceps is dumb.

OP: You should try negative pullups. Get yourself up using momentum and really resist the tension on the way down. After a while th epullups should be easier. Also try rack chins.[/quote]

i hope you are under 15 yrs old

[quote]Der Candy wrote:

And thats a stupid point. Why in the name of GOD would a newbie NOT train his arms?
[/quote]

Because most newbies biggest weakness is everything else BUT their arms. It is not about arm training so much as it is about using your time to train more powerful movements. Take the time you spend doing arms, cut it in half, and do dead lifts without straps.

Oh - and make sure they are heavy.

[quote]RWElder0 wrote:
Der Candy wrote:

And thats a stupid point. Why in the name of GOD would a newbie NOT train his arms?

Because most newbies biggest weakness is everything else BUT their arms. It is not about arm training so much as it is about using your time to train more powerful movements. Take the time you spend doing arms, cut it in half, and do dead lifts without straps.

[/quote]

Oh stop. Every one who weightlifts is getting so fuckin elitist lately with this shit.

I followed that bullshit for years, and I ended up with a thick back and severely lagging arms. I could have developed them pretty evenly had I not listened to bullshit like this.

Keep drinkin that kool-aid homey.