T Nation

Weighted Pullups


Hey everyone I was just wondering on your thoughts on weighted pullups and how you guys progresson these. I find this a bit tricky as you can't ramp like a pressing muscle. By the time I get to the maximal weight, the muscle is too fatigued.

I was wondering If anyone had a progression method for these. FWIW I'm training for size, but I want to see some sort of improvement.



after using either the lat pulldown or assisted machine to get blood in my lats I use singles or doubles to work up to the top set eg.:

lat pulldown or assisted machine 2-3 light sets progressing in weight then
+25x4 (all out top set)

and go from there. It's a tough lift to progress on but I've been doing alright with this method.


Pretty Simple

BW x 10-12
+45 x 10-12
+90 x 10-12

And then I increase weight like I do on any other exercise...


you could also try aiming for a specific number of pull ups and dont stop until you hit that number even if it takes you a few tries. so work up to your top set, in austin's beastly case, 90lbs (you bastard). but lets say you can only do 2, just keep doing singles till you hit 12. each session, lessen the amount of sets it takes to reach 12.
so if it took 1 set of 2 and 10 sets of 1 to get there the first time, next time shoot for 1 set of 3 or 4 and work from there.

there is always a way to progress.


I love pull-ups and have always been able to do them for reps or max weight, BUT, I have to say that as the weight increases, the form can easily go down hill. Everyone is different and I personnaly have to make the pullup a FEEL movement rather than a power movement to move heavy weight if my goal is hypertrophy.


I agree with this 100 percent.

I have done heavy pullups, going up to 115-125 for reps, but my form hasn't been spot on.

I get much more out of bringing my chest all the way to the bar or doing sternum chinups where your body becomes almost 45 degrees to the floor using either my bodyweight or 25-45 added pounds than I did out of doing them where just my chin went over...but, then again, it's always fun to strap a ton of weight on and do some pullups : ).


This is the difficult part I find. Getting the right balance between the two, the weight vs. feel. As a point of reference:

I can do about BW+45lbs for 3-4 reps (not the greatest form) As well as BW for 23 reps (form is strict but "fighting" by the end). If this were a pressing muscle there would be no question; I would just go heavy, for 3-5 reps per set, ramping until I hit my max. I find that pulling muscles aren't that simple, as the fatique, and the subsequent form, deteriorate the effectiveness of the set. I was just seeing if anyone had the same problem and found something that worked for them.

So far I've tried this.

Typical raming scheme
Problem: by the time I hit the max weight my lats are way too fatigued. I've tried bigger jumps but that doesn't help.

Same weight each set, progressing when the a certain amount of total reps is achieved in a limted number of sets.
Problem: usuallt the last few sets are like one rep each and I don't really feel the muscle working.

Same weight each set, progressing when the a certain amount of total reps is achieved in a limted amount of time:
Problem: This would seem like the best opstion, but 90% of the time I'm working in with a guy who's using a cable machine. Not having the pullup bar to myself is sort of annoying with this kind of thing.

With every other exercise i understand how to perform it to give me the desired result, It's just this one exercise.

Anyways I appreciate the input and will keep experimenting but if anyone has any input I would like to hear.


Drop Sets. Warm up on lat rows with light weight. Put on high weight and do sets of 3-5 and drop weight as you get exhausted. It works for me and I'm 290lbs. I put on a 45 and do 4sets of 3. Then I go down to BW and do another 6 sets. I worked up to BW + 135 for sets of 3 a couple of years ago using this scheme but quit training. Now I'm starting over.


I used to just pick a rep and work my way up until I came to a relatively hard set. Then I would try and add a little more weight each week 5 - 10 lbs until hitting X rep was hard. When I came to a plateau, I just picked another rep, dropped the weight back and worked up the weight each week using the same method.


Whenever I try weighted pull-ups (supinated or neutral grip), my arms seem to do most of the work.

Not a bad thing, but it becomes more of an arm exercise than back.


Using a prone grip, eh?


Oops, I meant pronated grip - not supinated.


I am by far not the most developped lifter here but I had good result with this:

I ramp with sets of 6 reps, then when I can't do that much reps I still ramp up with the max reps I can until I do sets of 1-2 reps. After my top weight I drop to let's say BW+45lbs or some ''round'' weight to do a set of 6-10 reps. Then I drop to BW and do slow super-focused reps. All with a wide-pronated (palms facing forward) on the end of the bar (when it ''curve'' down like reversed bulls horn. yes). I always completely go down to dead-hang but I don't fully go up (my ceiling is too low anyway)

I tried many scheme but this is my favorite way to do them. I feel that this way I hit the muscle with all kinds of stimulus.


This is impressive. Do you have any vids of +90x10-12 (or with the weight subsequently increased)?


I'm hitting back tomorrow, but at home and I have no dipping belt which sucks, but.....I'll see if I can get a vid of me doing 25-30 chins, just BW.


I tend to do more Pullups when I am "leaner" and stick mostly to the Lat Pulldown variations when a bit heavier. When doing pullups I am not really concerned with adding weight per say...I try to focus more on the stretch and contraction and use the exercise more as a warm up before I do some type of row variation.


Fair enough.

Yesterday, was a back day. It was a cool day for me; a blessing in disguise. Basically I came in at an earlier time, and the gym was PACKED! There was literally hundreds of people in there. Every machine was being used and I was doing wieghted pullups. I did the first three sets and then took off the belt to get a drink and someone swipes it. I was really pissed cuz there goes my "structure". Anyways I'm about to give up when I just decide to use whatever equipment is free, and just go heavy with it. It went like this:
Pullup (wieghted)
Lat pulldown
Pullup (Weighted holds with DB between legs)
BB row
Pullup (BW)
Machine row
Pullup (BW)/Inverted row/ Shrug curcuit

I only did maybe 2-3 sets of each but it was really fun.

Also, Kroc just posted up an article on back today, gonna maybe give that a try.


There you go, this is my only chinning video....I'll get one at the gym at some point when I can use their weight/dipping belt.


^lol so your ceiling is pretty low too. I want to see a video with 90 lbs tought.


Whatever, You would have only got 27 if you were wearing shoes :wink: