Home   |   Contact   |   Help

Get Our Newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter to get training tips and stay up to date on Catalyst Athletics, and get a FREE issue of the Performance Menu journal.

Go Back   Catalyst Athletics Forums > Training > Fitness, Strength & CrossFit

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-30-2008, 11:11 AM   #1
Frank Needham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 543
Default Pullup progression

From a thread in community by Steven Low
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Needham
That is just sick. Recognizing that I need to get stronger in the pull up area I began to do 5x5 pull ups with added weight. I'm at BW + 20 lbs now. How did you approach your weighted pull ups on the way to 2xBW?

Last summer did a cycle with 4 weeks (well, 6 weeks but didn't start OAC until 3rd week) of Mon-Thurs OAC negatives (~5-15 volume each arm depending on how I felt) + Fri testing weighted pullups. Went from 3x3 55 lbs to 5x3 90 lbs. Right off the bat honestly if you can do OAC work without blowing up your elbows it's a great idea. If you've had or are dealing with elbow problems probably not such a great idea.

5x5 is too much volume IMO to allow good increases. 3x5 is more than enough. IMO try some linear progression (add in 2.5 lbs per session if you can't add 5 lbs). If you already are failing in linear progression so some simple undulating periodization: 3x5 mon, 5x3 Wed, 8x1 Fri or something along those lines. Can even mix it up to do 3 RM mon, 5 RM wed, 1 RM fri.. doesn't really matter that much. Also, I like a one or two weighted negatives before doing your work sets with ~1.2-1.25x your max for 5s each or so. Helps to prime muscles to get ready for heavy pulling; well, at least I find I do better with it.

I plan my cycles at 5-6 weeks before taking a much needed rest break which helps significantly. Once it starts getting up don't be afraid to go harder (more workouts in days as opposed to more volume). Recently, did a cycle of 18 workouts in 14 days (2/1/2/0/2/2/0 times two) before my rest week last week and after that rest week I pulled those two PRs. That's probably too intense for you but even if you're used to like 5 workouts a week you can up it to like 6-7 and see similar results (note even though workout freq increases volume of actual workout decreases; for example, normally if I would do a total of 30 reps pulling and pushing, the workouts often go down to 15-20 reps pulling and pushing with higher frequency). Even though it's less volume you tend to be "fresher" after a longer break and thus better work for strength + CNS (as long as you don't push failure).

Just persistence though as it's not going to come overnight. Since I don't focus specifically on a goal or statics that much mine tend to end up taking longer than usual. 55 lbs to 2x bodyweight took me basically a year or so; might take longer if you're heavier than me which you probably are so it's all about keeping plugging along.

Uh, I think this post was too long.

Question
Ok less volume but the volume you mention for OAC work ranged from 5-15? That seems like a bunch for me. I haven't failed in linear progression yet. On the other hand I'm not doing true linear though. I'm just going week to week with the last weight used until I can crank out 5 on the last set. Bought a bunch of fractional plates from ironwoody anticipating that I'd soon only be able to add bits of weight. If you got those results using OAC negatives then I'm in and am going to use that. Did I understand correctly?
__________________
"Lack of sleep makes cowards of us all."
Frank Needham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
Steven Low
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091
Default

Starting off with 15 obviously may be too much. Maybe only a couple. If that. Elbows need to adapt.

Here's a detailed writeup of what I actually did that summer.


----------------------------



The progress is fairly staggering to say the least, and the only weights I used were basically for lower body (deadlifts and one arm cleans), so every upper body workout was basically just bodyweight.

This is the first time I attempted a 5/2 schedule (Mon-Fri workouts with Sat-Sun rest) when I had previously been only doing 3 or 4 days a week most commonly M,W,F routine. I had the additional benefit of benchmarking my weighted pullups at the end of every week to see the progress I obtainted (no doubt they probably helped some though). Anyway, here's the results:


Quote:
Originally Posted by results
~1 week DB cleans 80 -> 90
~3 weeks DL 4x3 245 lbs to 1x3 for 285 lbs
~4 weeks OAP negatives much stronger & can do with +10 lbs about the same as when started
~6 weeks rings HSPUs went from 5x5 to 1x15 which is a nice 10 rep increase (~2 reps/week).
~6 weeks weighted pullups from 4x3 50 lbs -> 6x3 55 lbs (previous PR 4x3 55 lbs) -> 4x3 70 lbs -> 6x3 75 lbs -> 4x3 85 lbs -> 4x3 90 lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by workouts
Week 1

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 5x5
front lever (FL) eccentrics: 5x3 @ 5s lower per rep to hold
straddle FL pullups: 3x5

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 6x5
straddle FL pullups: 4x5

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 5x6
straddle FL pullups: 5x5

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 5x6
straddle FL pullups: 5x5

Fri:
rings HSPUs: 5x6
OA DB cleans: 1x5 40 lbs, 1x5 55 lbs, 1x3 70 lbs, 1x3 80,85,90 lbs
weighted pullups: 1x5 25 lbs, 1x3 40 lbs, 4x3 50 lbs
ring flys: 5x5
ring pseudo PL pushups: 3x5
straddle FL pullups: 5x5

Week 2

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 5x7
FL negatives: 3x3 5s lower (inverted hang slow eccentric to front lever or hang)
straddle FL pullups: 3x5

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 5x8
OA rings rows: 3x5
straddle FL pullups: 3x5

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 5x8
OA rings rows: 3x5
straddle FL pullups: 3x5

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 5x8
FL negatives: 3x3 5s each
straddle FL pullups: 3x5
OA rings rows: 2x5

Fri:
rings HSPUs: 6x8
deadlifts: 1x6 135 lbs, 5x5 225 lbs
weighted pullups: 1x5 25 lbs, 1x3 45 lbs, 6x3 55 lbs
straddle FL pullups: 3x5 +20 lbs

Week 3 - Notably, I started one arm chinup work this week.

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 5x9
OA pullups negatives: 5x2 5s per rep
OA ring rows: 3x5

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 5x9
OA pullups negatives: 3x3 5s per rep

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 3x9
OA pullups negatives: 4x3 5s per rep

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 5x9
OA pullups negatives: 5x3 5s per rep
straddle FL pullups: 5x3 @ 45 deg

Fri:
rings HSPUs: 3x10
DL: 1x10 45 lbs, 1x5 135 lbs, 1x5 225 lbs, 1x3 235 lbs, 4x3 245 lbs
arched back extensions: 3x5
3 pullup negatives +100 lbs for 8s each
weighted pullups: 1x3 50 lbs, 1x3 65 lbs, 5x3 70 lbs (PR by 15 lbs)

Week 4

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 4x10
pullup negatives: 5x3 for 5s each rep
L-sit straddle press: 3x3
DL (home): 1x8 60 lbs, 1x3 160 lbs, 1x3 215 lbs, 2x3 245 lbs

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 1x10,11,11
straddle FL pullups: 3x3 @ 30 deg
OAP negs: 2x3

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 4x11
OAP negatives: 1x3 for 5s each rep
straddle FL pullups: 3x3 @ 40ish degrees
DL (home): 1x6 110 lbs, 1x5 160 lbs, 1x4 215 lbs, 6x3 225 lbs

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 3x12
OAP negatives: 3x3 for 5s each rep
assisted OAP: 3x3

Fri:
rings HSPUs (full range): 1x8,9,9
DL: 1x5 135 lbs, 1x4 185 lbs, 3x5 235 lbs
3 pullup negatives +100 lbs for 8s each
weighted pullups: 1x3 60 lbs, 6x3 75 lbs (PR by 5 lbs)

Week 5

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 5x10
OAP negatives: 3x3 for 5s each rep
straddle FL pullups: 3x3 @ 45ish deg
DL (home): 1x5 110 lbs, 1x5 160 lbs, 1x4 215 lbs, 1x3 245 lbs, 2x3 260 lbs

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 2x12
OAP negatives: 1x2 +5 lbs, 5s lower
assisted OAP (ring finger): 4x3

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 3x12
OAP negatives: 2x3 @ 5s lower
assisted OAP (ring finger): 2x3
DL (home): 1x5 160 lbs, 1x5 215 lbs, 2x5 245 lbs

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 2x13
OAP negatives: 1x3 @ 5s lower
assisted OAP (ring finger): 2x5

Fri:
rings HSPUs: 2x13, 1x12
DL: 1x5 135 lbs, 1x5 225 lbs, 1x3 255 lbs, 1x3 275 lbs (PR), 1x3 285 lbs (PR by 20 lbs)
3 pullup negatives +100 lbs for 5s each
weighted pullups: 1x3 70 lbs, 4x3 85 lbs (PR by 10 lbs)

Week 6

Mon:
rings HSPUs: 3x14
OAP negatives: 1x3 +21 lbs, 3x3 +15 lbs
DL (home): 1x5 160 lbs, 1x5 215 lbs, 2x5 260 lbs

Tues:
rings HSPUs: 1x15, 2x13
OAP negatives: 1x3 +10, +5, +0 lbs

Wed:
rings HSPUs: 1x15, 1x14
explosive pullups: 1x5
straddle FL pullups: 3x3 @ 30 degrees
pistols: 5x5 each leg

Thurs:
rings HSPUs: 1x15, 1x14
OAP negatives: 2x3
assisted OAP: 2x3

Fri:
rings HSPUs: 2x12
DL: 1x5 135 lbs, 1x5 235 lbs, 1x3 255 lbs, 1x3 275 lbs
2 pullup negatives +100 lbs for 5s each
weighted pullups: 1x3 75 lbs, 4x3 90 lbs (PR by 5 lbs)
pistols: 2x8
Basically what I noticed is that I was making personal records at the END of almost every week in weighted pullups work which is phenominal considering I had done 4 workouts in a row the day before that. I tested my 1 RM a couple months after this, and it was at 110 lbs for a single which is my current personal record (which I am working on busting now).

I didn't really do any isometric holds at the top although my program mainly consisted of negatives with some assisted concentrics. These (negatives) are VERY rough on the elbows so I would not suggest doing something with this high frequency at least unless your elbows are very strong. I had obtained the cross previously which puts a lot of stress on the elbows and had been sufficiently conditioned to elbow stress to allow me not to develop tendonitis during this time. Even so, the volume is kept very low per day to minimize excessive stress on the elbows (6-15 per day).

Front lever progression pullups do help gain strength for weighted pullups although much slower as evidenced by the first two weeks of this program where I brought up my strength from 50 -> 55 lbs (even though I was fatigued by the end of the week). So these will definitely help as long as you're progressining with them, but the core of making weighted pullup gains definitely lies with one arm chinup/pullup work.

The one thing I noticed with DLs is that if you do them 3x a week you will burn out pretty quickly. I hit a big PR in my second week and then fizzled out in the third. If you are going to train with weights and do exercises like DL which have a very heavy CNS (central nervous system) component I would only suggest you do them 2x a week or less.
__________________
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
Site // Bodyweight Strength Training Article // Overcoming Gravity Bodyweight Book

Last edited by Steven Low : 07-30-2008 at 11:55 AM.
Steven Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
Frank Needham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 543
Default

I think the OAC will work nicely with what I've been doing lately. My workouts have been 3-4 per week alternating between an A and B 5x5 program where A is DLs, Ring Dips, Push Presses and B is Back squats, Pull ups, Rowing. I'll add in the OAC on my A workout and replace the pull ups in my B workout with OAC also. Stirr and serve, should work out nicely. I have never had issues with elbows but we'll see I guess. Thanks!
__________________
"Lack of sleep makes cowards of us all."
Frank Needham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2008, 03:37 AM   #4
Gittit Shwartz
Senior Member
 
Gittit Shwartz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 295
Default

Thanks for posting this, Steven! Great to see the planning leading to some awesome results!
__________________
Radio G
Gittit Shwartz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2008, 08:19 AM   #5
Steven Low
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gittit Shwartz View Post
Thanks for posting this, Steven! Great to see the planning leading to some awesome results!
It was poor planning though. If I could go back I'd change most of it (like the 3x a week DL.. horrible..). I'd also eat a bit more as well as throw in squats. Pretty much remove everything except the OAC/OAP stuff and weighted pullups and rebuild around that.

The only thing of particular note as previously mentioned is the correlation between OAC work and weighted pullups. And pretty good progress on each, if I might add.
__________________
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
Site // Bodyweight Strength Training Article // Overcoming Gravity Bodyweight Book
Steven Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2008, 11:53 PM   #6
Dave Maerk
New Member
 
Dave Maerk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Thailand
Posts: 9
Default

Out of curiosity, do weighted pullups effect you guys' dead-hang pullup numbers? Of course, it seems they would, but in my experience with pullups and dips (adding up to 70lbs), my BW rep numbers have stayed the same.
Dave Maerk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2008, 02:11 AM   #7
Steven Low
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091
Default

To a point. Beyond that you have to work them specifically because you won't build the endurance otherwise.

My "sticking" point is about 18-20 pullups without specific work; I can increase my weighted pullups all I want but my BW won't move unless I work endurance reps (which I refuse to do). Same with my pushups stuck around like 50-60. I am more interested in strength anyway so working endurance is a waste of time for my goals.
__________________
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
Site // Bodyweight Strength Training Article // Overcoming Gravity Bodyweight Book
Steven Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2008, 05:52 AM   #8
Frank Needham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 543
Default

I haven't really tried to do a max set of pull ups since doing 5x5 pullups to improve my pulling strength. Once or twice on the park pull up station I have noticed that firing off more than the normal number of bw pullups seems to be no problem. I'm going on vacation for the next week and intend to do some max efforts when I get back just to check out progress. This ought to be about the right time for me to do this since it has been 8 weeks or so without a break in work outs.
__________________
"Lack of sleep makes cowards of us all."
Frank Needham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2008, 06:55 AM   #9
Darryl Shaw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 708
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
To a point. Beyond that you have to work them specifically because you won't build the endurance otherwise.

My "sticking" point is about 18-20 pullups without specific work; I can increase my weighted pullups all I want but my BW won't move unless I work endurance reps (which I refuse to do). Same with my pushups stuck around like 50-60. I am more interested in strength anyway so working endurance is a waste of time for my goals.
I've found the same thing; I seem to be stuck at 22 bw pull-ups despite increasing my weighted pull-up 1RM from 20kg to 37kg (63% of BW) over about a three month period.
Darryl Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Subscribe to our Newsletter


Receive emails with training tips, news updates, events info, sale notifications and more.
ASK GREG

Submit your question to be answered by Greg Everett in the Performance Menu or on the website

Submit Your Question
WEIGHTLIFTING TEAM

Catalyst Athletics is a USA Weightlifting team of competitive Olympic-style weightlifters with multiple national team medals.

Read More
Olympic Weightlifting Book
Catalyst Athletics
Contact Us
About
Help
Newsletter
Products & Services
Gym
Store
Seminars
Weightlifting Team
Performance Menu
Magazine Home
Subscriber Login
Issues
Articles
Workouts
About the Program
Workout Archives
Exercise Demos
Text Only
Instructional Content
Exercise Demos
Video Gallery
Free Articles
Free Recipes
Resources
Recommended Books & DVDs
Olympic Weightlifting Guide
Discussion Forum
Weight Conversion Calculator