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Thread: Pull-up progression

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    Pull-up progression

    Hey guys,
    I'm wondering what type of program or rep scheme you follow for pull-ups. Lately I haven't been able to make progress and its been about 6 weeks. I'm currently stuck at 3-4 sets of 7-8 reps. What do you guys like to do to increase your numbers? Any suggestions? I was thinking about getting a weight belt.

  2. #2
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    Are you able to go all out in your first set and try increase by a rep or so each week? Or maybe you can try timing your rest periods and slowly decreasing the rest times, that way you still get stronger even though you're going same sets/reps

    Also low rep chins with added weight might be a good option. Plus that also gives you the added psychological benefit of bodyweight chins feeling light as hell after doing weighted ones

  3. #3
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    If you want to go crazy with the pullups, a good method for upping your reps is doing "Grease the Groove" or Frequency Method. Basically get a pullup bar at home and 3-5 days a week do 4-6 sets a day throughout the day of 1/2 the numbers of your maximum pullup reps. As it gets easier add a rep here and there. So if you can only do 8 reps right now, do sets of 3 or 4. Once the 4's get easy, start doing 5's. Never take a set to failure here, keep one in the tank.

    If you don't have a bar at home or don't want to spend all the time doing this (really not that much time, more remembering to do it), then you might want to do a high rep day--do a set of pullups between all movements or all pressing movements, and a heavy day where you add weight and keep the reps between 4-8.

  4. #4
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkoman View Post
    Hey guys,
    I'm wondering what type of program or rep scheme you follow for pull-ups. Lately I haven't been able to make progress and its been about 6 weeks. I'm currently stuck at 3-4 sets of 7-8 reps. What do you guys like to do to increase your numbers? Any suggestions? I was thinking about getting a weight belt.
    You could try going with a lower rep range and adding some additional weight using a dip belt or holding a dumbbell between your legs, and then discarding the added weight as you become fatigued. Another option would be to perform body weight pull-up's and then once you become tired add a resistance band anchored to a rack or to the bar for assistance so that you can increase the overall volume.

    Lastly, you could increase your Back strength using machines (Hammer Strength is a personal favorite of mine) in addition to the Pull-Up's / Chin-Up's that you are doing.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Brian Hopper's Avatar
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    Maybe try taking a break from them about every 4th week. You might be getting burned out on them. Like Tom said, maybe try hitting some other back exercises to help get your back strong.
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  6. #6
    Dr. Subtotal
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    With just bodyweight:
    Cluster your reps. If you know you can do 8 reps say, just do 7. Rest like 10s, then finish your reps. This will push your volume up.

    Target your training density. Try to cut down on rest times while maintaining reps.

    Pick a number of total reps and try to reduce the number of sets over time.

    Otherwise, determine where you are weakest at and hit that the hardest. You may want to use different grips, wider/narrower setup, longer eccentric, etc.
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  7. #7
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    Wow alot of feedback in here thanks guys.

    I already did try to back off a bit by taking a week off and letting myself rest but that didnt seem to help much. I also tried switching to doing pull ups twice a week instead of once but that also didnt seem to work. As someone else suggested, I have also tried lowering my reps and leaving some gas in the tank...that also has didnt help me. What's worse is the last 2 weeks I tried doing them I didn't even hit my normal reps. The last 2 weeks I havent even been able to complete my full sets of 7-8 so im a bit confused as to whats going on.

    I follow a workout schedule thats similar to baby got back routine from this website so I work my back twice a week. Everything else such as my deadlift, squat, bench, overhead press, rows and even my accessory work is getting alot stronger except for my pullups which suddenly for some reason have started to decline. Im on a bulk, my calorie intake is up and my weight is also going up, i've gained about 8-9 pounds since early september and I get plenty of rest each night. Very frustrating to me, I might try to go with the weight belt for a few weeks and see if that makes any difference.

    Thanks again.
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    Last edited by bkoman; 10-16-2012 at 03:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    If your rows are going up, don't stress to much about the chins as they are using the same muscles. Also since you are gaining weight, that will be making chins slightly harder too

    Another thing which you could do is set a target of 20 chins and do as many sets or as long as your need to get them. Then each week try improve on the time and/or number of sets

  9. #9
    Wannabebig Member
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    Haha good point. I guess I never really thought that maybe since my weight was going up then progression would be difficult.

    Thanks again for the feedback

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