Getting that Pullup(part 1)

Are you “So Close” to a pull-up? Do you feel like it’s within reach but has still eluded you despite your most sincere efforts? Below are three things I think will help folks who are close to pulling body weight get over the bar.

Start with Chin-Ups
Chin-ups are easier than pull-ups and you’re more likely to get your first chin-up sooner than your first pull-up so it’s a pretty good place to start. In my experience once a couple chins have been developed the pull-up magically shows up a lot faster. That being said, both versions are totally legit and huge milestones for anyone who didn’t have them before.  Chins are also easier for people to organize well. The upper arm is already rotated into a more stable position and the last few inches over the bar usually involve less neck craning and wiggling. Once you can do about 3-5 chin-ups you’ll be a lot closer (if not already there) to the pull-up. When performing chin-ups, keep your hands just inside shoulder width and imagine pulling the bar down to your chest, not pulling yourself up to it(most of you have probably heard me cue this in class). That cue usually helps people fire the upper back and pull the elbows posteriorly during the ascent, both good things.

Keep The Reps Low
If you’re struggling to get your first pull-up, your muscles experience the effort as a near maximal exertion.  You’re going for something that you’ll only be able to do 1 rep of (right now), so when we train to develop our first pull-up a lot of our reps should look and feel pretty similar.  Several doubles or singles with just enough resistance to clear the bar is better than high volume sets of 5 or 10 with much more assistance. If you were a 1 rep max obsessed lifter, you wouldn’t spend all your time doing sets of 5 and 10, you’d perform submax singles, doubles and triples more often to get your body ready for the effort.  Here are two examples of productive training sessions:

7 sets of 1 rep with ample rest
5 sets of 2-3 reps with ample rest

“Ample Rest” could be anywhere from a minute to three minutes depending on how much you require to get another successful rep. Because this is going to be a strain, make sure to warm-up with some ring rows and more heavily assisted pull-ups. 2-3 sets of 5 reps should be sufficient.

When you’re scaling pull ups in workouts, use the lowest volume option possible. 20 Kipping pull-ups as  on the workout might be 5 chin-ups for you. That component of the workout won’t have anywhere near the same conditioning effect but depending on your goals that might be okay.

That being said, a little volume isn’t a bad thing. Just remember that if you want to get a pull-up you’ve got to train in a way that feels similar to your goal.

To be continued…

Strength:

Snatch:

Find a heavy single for the snatch.

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Conditioning:

AMRAP 3 Minutes:

75% of your best Snatch on the day full Snatches.

If your still working on a mature overhead squat preform Power Snatches.