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Thread: chinup's (really pullups) progress

  1. #1
    krazcanuk
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    chinup's (really pullups) progress

    I just can't seem to make ANY progress in pullups - what is wrong? I am 215, been doing WBB1 routine since April 2004. I had to lay off the intensity a few times in that period due to injuries, but I am now 1 month into it again.
    I STILL CAN ONLY DO 8,7,6 pullups.
    I am making no progress at all! Is this normal?
    Today I used my dip belt with a 5 lb weight, and did 6, and 4 1/2.
    PATHETIC! Please suggest what I can do make progress.

    Some of my other lifts:
    bench 205 2x8
    dips 2x8 with 20 lbs
    deadlifts 245 2x7
    bent rows 175 2x8
    curls 105 8,7
    skullcrushers 105 2x7
    shoulder press 145 2x8

  2. #2
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    hmm, well first off, you are 215. That's a good amount of weight. Considering where your bench is at, I don't see how you would expect more than the # of pullups you are doing now.

    Looking at your stats, everything looks good, except your dips seem pretty weak. I would work on those. Instead of doing 8 reps, mix in some power sets. Pack the weight on! Go hard, don't worry if you can only do a few reps

  3. #3
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    try doing assisted pullups or substitute pulldowns with the same grip and less weight than you weigh to build up your ability to do more reps, then work up to your bodyweight and more again

    usually it's the smaller muscles/synergists that fail for me on chins... I know my back is hella strong but chins are about more than just back

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    When in your workout are pullups done? If they are not the first back exercise, then try doing them first once in a while. You might also want to change your grip or try wraps.

  5. #5
    mind/body zen's Avatar
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    I have the EXACT same problem.
    My chinup strength is the most stubborn thing ever.
    When I started working out, I couldn't even do pullups and chinups, because like you, I am 215lbs (when I first started working out, I was as high as 225).

    So, I made gradual but consistent progress with the weights on my lats, doing lat cable pulldowns that started at 130lbs on the stack when I started and eventually getting over 180lbs.

    By the time I could do chin ups, I could only do 3 or 4. That was over six months ago and even today, I have only got my Chinups up to 7 or 8. It is taking FOREVER to make progress on this.
    It is one of the reasons I am trying to drop weight, because I really have the feelign that once I can do more than 8 or 9 chinups on my first set, I'll will be able to make some serious progress again.
    'In order to alter the inertial mass of weights, you must become one with them, like a machine, the totality of your motion is as one'

  6. #6
    Wannabebig Member
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    I have to echo what was said before. Do assisted chins. I was haveing a hard time, so i doassisted starying with 50 pounds. I do four sets of eight, and take off 10 pounds with each set. I noticed that they are getting easier, and I can really feel it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    for a 215 pounder... 8,7 or 6 pullups is good. As long as you are keeping strict form, you should be proud of it. Right now i can do like 15 to 20 pullups.. but i'm only 145 lbs haha. I wouldn't mind trade that in for 20 or 30 more lbs.

  8. #8
    nuthinlikehit'em....
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    It's like this, bodyweight exercises can improve your weightlifting ability but weights don't necessarily improve your bodyweight exercise performance. The only way to improve on pullups is to practice/work at pullups......period. This applies to the other exercises also, Ihave seen some big guys that can't do pullups or very many pushups because simply they don't do those exercises. However, if you grab a guy that can pushup/pullup with some consistency you will see the results when he goes to the weightpile. This is from my experience and $0.02........peace.
    Patience isn't only a virtue......it'll get you "CHISLED" if you like to workout!!!!

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  9. #9
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    You could also try slapping on 25 lbs to your dip belt for your first set. Try and get 3 or 4. Then take it off and do your other sets. Do this for a few weeks and then try without the belt and see how many you get.
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  10. #10
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElPietro
    You could also try slapping on 25 lbs to your dip belt for your first set. Try and get 3 or 4. Then take it off and do your other sets. Do this for a few weeks and then try without the belt and see how many you get.
    Indeed. Or wave load. I feel overloading effects very strongly during pullups. After weighted, it feel like I could throw my self above the bar.

    Something like: bw x5, +25x2, +45x1, repeat sequence.

    A small number of sets and reps with heavy additional weight can make following bodyweight sets feel very light, and may actually increase the amount of reps possible.

  11. #11
    Fury Divine RickTheDestroyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Indeed. Or wave load. I feel overloading effects very strongly during pullups. After weighted, it feel like I could throw my self above the bar.

    Something like: bw x5, +25x2, +45x1, repeat sequence.

    A small number of sets and reps with heavy additional weight can make following bodyweight sets feel very light, and may actually increase the amount of reps possible.
    :withstupi

    I got sort of burned out on chins for awhile, and hit up the hammerstrength high rows for a few weeks instead. Went back to the chins last night, and they felt pretty good, even though I had gained some weight since I had done them last. I didn't add weight though... I'll save that for next workout.
    Doing them with weight and then without makes me feel like I'm flying. Weighted pullups are the way to build lats.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    If you're doing pullups with an overhand grip, your forearms are doing a lot of work. Doing exercises like overhand-grip curls and hammer curls will increase your pullup strength if your forearms are the weak link. And for chins, regular curls will help.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bassman09's Avatar
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    When I can no longer pound out another full ROM pullup I do as many partials as I can stand before I let go.

    Remember it's not always in the numbers either, it's about hammering those muslces. As soon as I am done doing a set of pullups I grab onto a rack or other peice of heavy equipment with one hand, lean back, twist my waist and pull as hard as I can feeling it stretch in my lat, holding it for as long as I can (min of 15 seconds). I do both sides and take a short rest (15-30 seconds) before I hit the pullups again. I do those stretches almost religiously between every set of every exercise on back day. It seems to really help target those muscles. If you want you can do a dual stretch with a towel or rope wrapped around something stationary, I prefer to isolate each side though.

    I wouldn't focus too much on the amount you are doing. Pay more attention to the intesity and quality of the over all workout.

  14. #14
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doobs
    If you're doing pullups with an overhand grip, your forearms are doing a lot of work. Doing exercises like overhand-grip curls and hammer curls will increase your pullup strength if your forearms are the weak link. And for chins, regular curls will help.
    Well, your forearms are doing some work, but they are weaker than your biceps, so your lats have to do relatively more work in pullups than chins.

    My recommendation is to start doing pullups and then switch to chins when you're tired.

  15. #15
    Fury Divine RickTheDestroyer's Avatar
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    I think that another good idea is to find a grip/width that's comfortable through a full range of motion for you. I like just wider than shoulder width for pronated, and about 8-10" apart for supinated. Widths different than that are really uncomfortable for me. I feel like I'm strongest at neutral grip, I can usually do a few of those once I'm burned out on my overhands.

  16. #16
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    Agree with most of the others....you're progressing & nothing wrong with getting used to the weightbelt starting with 5lbs. Try doing close grip over or underhand or using the 'v' bar some. They're a bit easier to master & will build up strength. Do negatives with or w/o the weightbelt, stretch at the bottom as far as you can...if the bar is high enough for you. Too many gyms have the chinning bars between the cable machines or too low for anyone taller than 5'9" or so; you expend additional energy keeping your legs crossed & off the floor.

    Soundsl like you're making good progress; nothing 'pathetic'

  17. #17
    Wannabebig Member
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    i was in the USMC and i know all about pullups. I weighed 220 and could get 20 dead hang pullups every time. with no wraps. Its all about doing pullups and doing pullups often. Body weight exercises is all about stamina and strength. So you need to do pullups like youre doing cardio. every time you get the chance. once your body gets used to the body wieght it will go up fast. i went from being able to do 10-12 to 20-24 in a month simply by doing pullups at the end of everywork out but back day. However I have always been extremely strong with back movements.
    3x10 with 130lbs dumbells Single arm rows.
    3x8 on the pulldown machine that is a legit 280lbs.
    random sets with the actual row machine.
    3x8-10 barbell shrugs with 225,315,405, and sometimes more.

    you guys are motivating me, i need to go to the gym now!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spillman
    i was in the USMC and i know all about pullups. I weighed 220 and could get 20 dead hang pullups every time. with no wraps. Its all about doing pullups and doing pullups often. Body weight exercises is all about stamina and strength. So you need to do pullups like youre doing cardio. every time you get the chance. once your body gets used to the body wieght it will go up fast. i went from being able to do 10-12 to 20-24 in a month simply by doing pullups at the end of everywork out but back day. However I have always been extremely strong with back movements.
    3x10 with 130lbs dumbells Single arm rows.
    3x8 on the pulldown machine that is a legit 280lbs.
    random sets with the actual row machine.
    3x8-10 barbell shrugs with 225,315,405, and sometimes more.

    you guys are motivating me, i need to go to the gym now!
    you are a big mofo

  19. #19
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    Gee, I thought I was lagging with my pullups, but I guess I'm okay doing 8-7-5 with 60lbs on a dip belt (then I do dropsets, repping till failure until I get 30 reps). You guys made my day. Then again, I only weigh 178 (5'6" at around 11-12%bf(been bulking).
    This may help some of you guys, but I read somewhere to try and get 30 reps, no matter how long it takes. I've been doing WBB1 for over a year, and it's the first back excercise.

    Oh, when I started I was doing 2 sets at bodyweight until I could get 8 reps, then started adding weight with 5lb DB between my ankles. I think many people quit when they really do have another 1-2 reps in them. Then go back in a minute, and squeeze out another 1-2, or just hang there and enjoy the stretch in the lats.
    Last edited by manowar669; 12-02-2004 at 02:01 PM.
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  20. #20
    nuthinlikehit'em....
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    Hey Spillman, I feel you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Q: How to get better at pullups????
    A: Do alot of pullups!!!!

    Yall are gonna make me pullout the weightbelt and a quarter and go to Town(yeah)!!!!!!!
    Patience isn't only a virtue......it'll get you "CHISLED" if you like to workout!!!!

    Success(defined by my High school Football coach) : doing a certain thing, a certain way.........everyday!!!!

  21. #21
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    There's no real reason to do a ton of pullups in one set for muscle building purposes. Certainly, anyone who can do 20+ pullups in one set will probably have proportionally decent lats, but you're always better served with a conventional hypertrophy-oriented rep scheme.

    Even in rock climbing, high rep pullups are not very useful. It's far more useful to have execellent low rep strength, corresponding to 1-2rep maxes, and good endurance to be able to pull a small fraction of bodyweight for a long time (akin to rowing).

    Basically, the only place where high rep pullups are important is in test for high rep pullups! Thus, I always recommend weighted pullups once you get to about 10-12 bw reps.

  22. #22
    nuthinlikehit'em....
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    Mixmaster I agree. I hope my post wasn't misunderstood. I read in a Men's health article that after 12 reps you're only increasing endurance. That's what made me get a weightbelt once I could do 12reps for 3 sets of 3 grips. The quarter on the belt dropped me back to a 6-7 rep range and i had to build back up to 10 reps. After that I returned to the weights.
    Patience isn't only a virtue......it'll get you "CHISLED" if you like to workout!!!!

    Success(defined by my High school Football coach) : doing a certain thing, a certain way.........everyday!!!!

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