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Old 06-07-2009, 01:07 PM   #1
Frank Needham
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Default Pull Up Programs

Ok, first of all this topic is one that is endlessly discussed but, at the present time I'm deeply interested in them.

My current goals are to keep working on my GPP while reaching my longer term goal of getting my BW down to the 170-175 lb range. Right now I'm about 186, down about 8 lbs from 194.

I'm sick of not being able to get a MU and figure the weight is one reason why it hasn't happened.

To combat this problem I embarked on a program in mid-March centered around sprinting (400m), pullups, dips and pushups. Today my workout was one mile of sprint intervals (done with my son in a jogging stroller) marked with 70 pullups.

The program that I'm using to develop pullups I found at this link:


I have my own pull-up program I did with recruits and it works the best. I have tried them all with the recruits and the most gain I had was by using the below program.

Depending on the amount of pullups you do right now when u first get on the bar will be your start point.

Here is the start numbers and I will explain below.

1-5 (50)
6-10 (75)
11-15 (100)
16-20 (150)

The number to the left is how many you can do right now and the number in parenthesis is the number of pull-ups you will do for the workout.

1. Jump on the bar and do a max set You will rest for 60 secs and during that rest do at least 25 crunches but NO PUSHUPS.

2. Keeping the number you finished with jump back up and do another max set. You will rest again for 60 secs and do your crunches. You continue to do MAX SET each time you get on the bar until you have reached the number in parenthesis.

Continue your sets no matter how many times you have to get on the bar. Even if you jump up and only do 1, oh well keep doing it.

If for some reason you can not even do 1 when you get on the bar, take longer rest but if you do this, you better double the workout because you suck.

Do this every other day for 1 month and then take 4 days off and start again.


Semper Fi!!!!
Now, I know there are a lot of pullup programs out there but this guy seemed pretty cocky so I decided to try his method. I found that it works. I haven't tried to do a max PU workout yet, contrary to what he suggests, buy my pulls per set are going up pretty steadily.

Anybody seen this one, or tried it before? How about others?
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:25 PM   #2
Garrett Smith
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Most people's problem with muscle-ups (who can do pull-ups and ring dips) isn't strength, it's technique.

False grip, pull up hard, then violently "break the glass pane in front of you with your forehead" to get into the dip position, then simply ring dip up.

A pull-up program I tried for a while (I got bored with it and decided to do harder pull-up variations a la Coach Sommer to get stronger rather than more and more pull-ups) was the Recon Ron Pull-up Program.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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How many regular and chest-to-bar pull-ups can you do?
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Technique + powerful pulling + deep rings dips
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:51 AM   #5
Frank Needham
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This morning I found that I can do 13 any-way-you-can pull ups with chin over the bar.

I've read a lot about technique and don't disagree with the observations about how important it is. OTOH, another fair observation is, if you can bang out 20-30 solid pullups then technique becomes less important. I've tried following the technique suggestions from reading about other's problems with MUs with no result. That doesn't mean the suggestions aren't valid, more like that I just don't get it. So I'm working it from the power angle and I'm liking the results that are coming.

Just for the discussion I was wondering what programs others have tried and what their results were.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:59 AM   #6
George Mounce
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The number of pull-ups you can do is not as important as learning the correct technique. I could do maybe 15 strict pull-ups and 20 kipping before I learned the muscle-up. Ever since I did my first muscle-up at CrossFit SoCal 2+ years ago, I've been able to string them together. The key to the muscle-up IMHO is to practice the technique. Pull-ups and dips are great to help build the strength but they are basic components and when done without momentum (which a kipping muscle-up uses) they aren't going to help the transition much.

Just from my personal experience. I find muscle-ups to be kinda boring now that I can do them, and since I'm too heavy to string together 30 at a time like Steven, and rings don't just pop out in front of me on a daily basis challenging me to do them, I kind of see them as a fad part of CrossFit, and just one of the multiple workouts that show up from time to time.

What you really need is someone who can do a muscle-up to watch you attempt yours, and perhaps see how your pull-ups are coming along. Heck post a video on here so we can see what is going on in the digital coaching section.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:00 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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I've done:

The Armstrong pullup program which was 5 days a week and that got me to 15 deadhangs at ~185 pounds.

I've also tried the Density Training method by Ethan Reeves and it was twice a week but I can't remember how well I did.

I'm not sure what method this is considered but Robb wrote about it in one of his PM articles where he had someone doing 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps of weighted dips and pullups 3-5 times per week. That actually did a lot of good for me after I had not been doing pullups for months.

Recently after what seems like an endless line of arm injuries I've been able to dedicate training time back to the pullup without any pain and I've been able to hit a solid 13 chest to bar pullups at a weight of 189. Recently T-nation had a article about pullups and I just took the tip from Poliquin in there on doing ten sets of half my max pullups once a week. So I was doing ten sets of 4 and then a few days later I did a few max sets. Less than 4 weeks later I went from 8 pullups to 13. Now I'm back to the weighted pullups.
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