T Nation

Triple Set to increase max pull-up reps?

As in Christian Thibaudeau’s OVT training, a post-exhaust superset is a great tool for back development. I’m wondering whether it might also be an effective technique for increasing pull-up reps. I was thinking

A1) 5-6 reps of wide-grip pull-ups, 201 tempo
A2) 5 reps of underhand-grip Yates barbell rows, 30X tempo
A3) 2-3 reps of close-grip pull-ups (palms away) 401 tempo.

No rest between exercises; do 3 supersets, resting 90 seconds between them and avoiding explicit fatigue.
The rationale is

  1. exhaust the lats fully without the biceps and forearms giving out first
  2. train the biceps and forearms from multiple angles in a duration similiar to a long set of pull-ups.

Would appreciate anybody’s thoughts about whether this method would be effective.


I will not speak to the matter of whether or not your routine will increase back developement. However, it is not the best way to increase your rep count in Pull-Ups!

Why would you think that doing barbell rows is better than Pull-Ups for increasing Pull-Ups? Their not!

Also, I would never do wide grip Pull-Ups as they increase the strain on your shoulder joints. They do not help Lat developement if that is what you are thinking. The traditional thinking is that a wider grip means wider lats. In fact, a narrow grip means wider lats as you go down lower! If you really want to increase the size of your lats do some static holds on the bar while flexing your lats!

If you want to increase your rep count in Pulls/Chins, there are many ways to do it. One way that works well for me is to do three sets of 75% to 80% of your max resting 3:00 in between each set. At the end of the third set I do one set of negatives and one set of half reps (top half) with a weight belt.

My workout looks like this: 25-25-25. Then 10 half reps with a 20lb wt. belt, 3:00 rest then 10 slow negatives. I did this workout three times per week for four weeks prior to a chin up contest I was in. It worked well.

There are other ways to train to get max reps in chins. However, that one is my favorite. I always recommend training three times per week for four weeks taking off two days prior to the Pull/Chin contest. Do not try to train like this year round!

If you are after more reps in any sort of Chin/Pull-Up count you have to train them often. It’s all about hitting the groove and getting comfortable with the pain!

Best Of Luck,


Zeb, I appreciate your input. My logic for the wide-grip is to take the emphasis off the biceps and forearms during the pull-up motion initially, that is for the FIRST exercise. Of course, I’m not going to failure with the wide-grips.

The last few months, I’ve been doing isometric methods and before that more “greasing the groove” methods, and I’ve gained a rep or two tops. But my goal is to test my pull-up max reps I can do with either a 311 tempo or a 211 tempo. I’m not going for an army-like test. This itself might be holding back progress.

Pull-Ups will take the emphasis off the biceps. Nothing takes the emphasis off the forearms, as the only thing connecting you to the bar is your grip!

You need to train specifically for whatever your actual goal is!