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Old 03-24-2009, 01:14 PM   #1
Emily Mattes
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 727
Default Incorporating pull-up/back development

I'm still trying to build the strength to get to a pull-up. I do Olympic weightlifting/weightlifting 4-5 times/week. So far, once a week after a workout I do a 5x5 of barbell rows, and once a week at the end of a different workout I do 3-4 max sets of body rows. Recently I switched the body rows out for the assisted pull-ups described in Step 2 of this page, the ones where I put my feet on the bench. I increase the difficulty of assistance if I can do more than 5 or so at the last set.

I also do jumping pull-ups as they come up in my conditioning workouts.

I haven't been happy with my rate of progress though. How can I speed things up? Add another day of max assisted pull-up sets? Switch out the barbell rows for more assisted pull-ups? Do sets across instead of max sets? Does anyone have any suggestions? My main focus is on Olympic weightlifting, but I would really like to get a pull-up in the next couple of months.

Also: I don't have a GTG option right now--no place to put a pull-up bar in my apartment and can't afford the ones that fit over door frames .
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:27 PM   #2
Arden Cogar Jr.
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 694

Have you considered using woody bands or bands to assist you with your pullup progression?

Honestly, if you want to improve your pull ups, even though OLy lifting is your focus, I would incorporate the jumping pull ups, assisted pullups, and other pull up variations into your olympic lifting warm up. In other words, I would go ballz out with pull ups pre-snatch or clean and jerk, but I would do a few to GTG at the beginning of the session, while you're fresher. The return to movements for full out sets after you've done your lifts and your primary assistance movements.

I don't know if that's something you'd considered or not? Don't even know if it's good advice or not?

All the best,
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:38 PM   #3
Blair Lowe
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 593

I say save up the 30 bucks for an iron gym somehow.

do pullups in a band and work negatives when you can actually hold the lock off at the top and lower down in 4s controlled. until you can, keep just working the band pullups.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:00 PM   #4
Craig Brown
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 220

The bands saved my ass with pull ups. Straight up density training with the bands will get you there. It can also help to really look at the flight path- most people who can't do them visualize them different than they actually are, which makes them impossible.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:03 AM   #5
Ivan Perez
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 26

Hi Emily

You can do jumping pull ups and controlled negative as Blair said. Another posibility could be do partial pull ups, so you can control negative as well.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:32 AM   #6
Dean Saunders
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 66

Emily, I've tried negative reps, jumping pull ups and other exercises but I really made progress on my pull up strength when I started to use straps on a chin up bar.
Now I know most people will frown on using straps but I found they helped when I could focus on the actual movement without worrying about grip. (for the record, I weighed 105kg when I started trying to do pull ups and not all of it muscle dammit) Now able to do sets of 6-10... Wasnt easy took a long time but it worked for me
Once I was able to do a couple of pull ups without straps I would knock out as many reps as I could and then add straps for a couple more if possible.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
Emily Mattes
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 727

Yeah, those are all good exercise ideas, I guess I'm wondering about how to specifically program them in. What kind of set/rep schemes? How many days a week? I tend to overdo things so I'm trying to be careful. And should I drop the barbell rows?
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:26 AM   #8
Steven Low
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091

3x a week do maybe 3-5 sets after your workouts. See how that feels and adjust accordingly
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
Site // Bodyweight Strength Training Article // Overcoming Gravity Bodyweight Book
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:38 AM   #9
Ivan Perez
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 26

I'm doing 4-5 times/week 2 or 3 set, but I don't have a fixed schema.

One day I do first set to failure, second and thirtd sets 10 reps or second set to 10 reps and third set weight partial

Other day maybe I do weight pull up to 8 failure, then I drop weight and do a second set to failure two.

So many times I do 3x10

P.S: I do only extrict pull ups
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:07 AM   #10
Alan O'Donnell
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 51

What worked for me was buying an Iron Gym and then randomly practicing them throughout the day. I don't think you really need to worry that much about following a strict program, just do them when you're pretty fresh - I know how you feel though, I'm trying to get HSPUs right now and ugh progress is slow.
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