T Nation

Weighted Pullups


First off, this is my first post but i have read soo many articles here and LOVE the info you guys provide.

I was wondering what would be better for overall back development as far as weighted/body weight pullups go.

Last time i did weighted i could hit BW + 25lbs for 3 sets of 4-6
but unweighted i can only get about 3 sets of 8-12

what would be better for overall back development?


Why not both. 3 weighted sets followed by a couple of unweighted. Surely if trying to build muscle you need to lift as heavy as you can with correct form.


Yeah i think weighted is better for building muscle, if your not just worried about your max number and you actually are bodybuilding


Yea the only problem is fatigue.. If i start out with weighted for a few sets, im toast and the BW rep sets drop dramatically.


IMO pulldowns are better than pullups for overall back development. You can lean back slightly and get a better anlge on the lats, keep constant tension on the lats easier, and do more weight without having to strap plates to a weight belt. Much easier to get that squeeze on lat pulldowns than on pullups also.


I strongly disagree. Soo much easier to cheat on pull-downs. Plus, idk many people in the industry that would place lat pulldown over pullups for back development. Different hand positions can make up for hitting the back at the right angle.


If your doing pullups right then you should be pulling the bar to your chest anyways, so you're essentially doing the same thing as leaning back on pulldowns



have you ever seen a crossfitter kip a pullup?


I don't know what you mean by people in the industry, but if you're talking bodybuilders, most pros use pulldown variations over pullups. Do you see cutler, yates, and heath doing pulldown variations or pullups? watch any videos of top pros like that and they're doing pulldown variations. Why? Because they just work better.


Anyone can kick their legs in a pullup just as easy as someone swinging their back back and getting under the bar on a lat pull down.

Why do people insist on looking at pro body builders for their techniques and imput, it has little to no correlation to every day people in the gym. thoes dudes are on soo many hormones and their bodies are nothing like mine or yours. its like rebuiding a transmission on a muscle car based on what the guys use at the drag strip on alcohol fueled cars.

Yes they are cars, and yes they use similar mechanics, but in no way are the cars comparable. cutler, yates, and heath probably do pulldowns because they weigh 300 pounds in the off season.


Most people here could care less about looking like the everyday person in the gym. Volume and intensity is one thing, but saying that a pro bodybuilders exercise selection should not be emulated because of their steroid use is just a stupid argument. It's like saying someone shouldn't emulate berry bonds, manny ramirez, or a-rod's swing mechanics because they used steroids.



I can achieve a much tighter MMC with pulldowns as opposed to pullups. additionally, while I've been bulking I have been fuck-all clueless as to how much I am actually progressing. I had to drop down to BW pullups again after admitting to myself that my bis and some kipping had been keeping me afloat with my pullup progression. however, there is no doubt with pulldown progression. the weight stack stays the same no matter how much you weigh.

edit: you are 6'1" and 180? Jesus Christ eat something. I weighed just ten lb less than you in my old avi and I'm 5'9".


LOL at people arguing over which exercise is better. How about we just let each person figure out what works best for them.

And the idea that you can't cheat as much on pulldowns as opposed to pullups is ridic. More leaning back/shorter ROM if you aren't honest with yourself.


funny how the answers diverted from the original question. Some of my old workout partners did the same, cuz they were a little heavier and struggled with pullups, eventually they just dismissed it and criticized the movement all together. Be weary of some advice IMO.

I'd incorporate both on alternating weeks, the non-weighted with a nice slow negative. My best results were with no weight + negative, but I always make sure I use weighted pullups on occasion to see where my strength is at in that movement. I'll hit the lat pulldown too sparingly when I'm feeling blah, on a de-load or say nursing an slight knock/injury. There is room to hide using lat pulldown, there isn't with pullups..


I agree. The best indicator of growth is progression, but the progression gets screwed up with pullups if you're constantly gaining weight.

Either way here's a thread that I started a while ago on the topic in case it helps



Yes exactly what the forums are for, so people can figure shit out on their own and not ask questions or argue lol.

I think Froivians point about assessing progression easier on pulldowns is a good one. Also, pulldowns are not just for people that are too fat to do a pullup. A lot of people do them because pullups have become too easy and don't give the same results that pulldowns do.


This was turning into the usual "what else other than shrugs should I do for my traps" thread. some people like weighted pullups, some like pulldowns. I think you should just get a strong with both as possible.



that vid of Wendler doing 100 lb weighted chins is boss, and something that I'm aiming for.


Aiming to look like eveyone else in the gym, and being average are two different things. Im not a big guy. Im tall lean and am not aiming to be "gigantic' like most of you. I also dont bench like a power lifter. Does that mean im not a good bencher? Does that mean im doing it wrong? No its just different. Im not 300lbs or have the body to utilize a powerlifting form.

Why the hate from everyone? I know im not big, nor am i that strong. But i didnt start this thread to argue with thoes of you who are. If u like pull-downs thats fine. If you think i should eat at a buffet every day and gain 20 lbs thats fine. But stick to the topic. This isnt the pulldowns vs pullups thrad.

As far as rep ranges go... which would be better for overall back development? Sets of 3-6 weighted, or sets of 8-12 non weighted?


Just do both, even if one was slightly better than the other wouldn't you want to get good at both? Weighted should help non-weighted anyway.