PULL-UPS

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kMMAs
3/31/08 9:41:18AM
I want to improve my pull-up ability. I know it sounds weak, but right now I can only do about 4 pull-ups before I try to kick my legs up and barley squeak out a 5th...and thats on a good day.

My question is this...
Which is better overall to improve the amount of pull-ups I can do.

A. "Assisted Pull-ups" (If you dont know what I mean, my gym has a machine where your feet rest on a bar that is attached to a weight rack. the more weight you have on the rack, the more this bar will lift your feet/body weight and help you pull yourself up)

B. Regular pull-ups (self-explanitory)

...With the assisted pull-ups (A), I could do, lets say, 3 sets of 15 and decrease weight on the rack as it becomes easier.

BUT, is it better to do, say, 3 sets of "as many I can do" of (B) regular pull-ups? (even if this means my sets to begin are like 4,4,4??

Let me know your opinion.

(PS: just on the pull-ups. I know back strength can increase with all types or back exercises and lifts, but all that aside, which will benefit more just as far as pull ups)
grappler0000
3/31/08 10:08:02AM
If you can only do a few, I would suggest doing both. Do unassisted pull-ups until failure, followed by assisted pull-ups until failure. If your main objective is to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, it may not be a bad idea to get a pull-up bar for you house. They make em to place between your door frame...or i'm sure you hang a bar in you basement fairly easily.

Rush
3/31/08 10:54:27AM
Just keep doing unassisted pull ups until failure. Your number will increase. However, you have to do them frequently (about two times a week) to get better.

The other thing, there are different ways to do pull ups.

1) you can do them without totally straightening your arms
2) straight arms

combined with either

3) the "relaxed collapse" method - basically let gravity do the work on the way down
4) the "controlled collapse" method - slow your decent using muscles


Different people feel differently about these methods. I personally like a 1) and 4) combination. They are more difficult, and you will not be able to do as much, but they work more muscles.


Also, I've been told to look straight up when pulling up, but I find it awkward myself. I tend to look slightly above the horizon.
Jackelope
3/31/08 1:16:04PM
Honestly there's no "best" way. I would say whatever you've been doing if you've been doing it for 2 months, change it up. The best thing you can do right now is bring something new to those muscles.

Are you doing overhand or underhand pull ups? Wide grip or close grip? Hands turned in to each other, or facing away from your body?

These are important questions to ask as well. They affect different muscle groups when you do them differently.

If you're just starting out my recommendation would be to do assisted pull ups until failure beginning using a weight that allows you to get about 8 or 9 reps out of it. Once you get to the point that you can do that same weight 12 times or so a 5-10% increase in weight is recommended. Remember with this you have to factor in your own body weight. So if you're 180 lbs, and you're using a 30lb. assist that puts you at 150 lbs. A 5-10% increase would be 7.5-15 lbs. So you drop down to a 20 lb. assist. Do that until you can do around 12 again, etc. etc.

Always place the workout you mean to improve at the front of your workout session that day, too. That way you tire out all the muscles that workout uses (pull ups are great since they work a lot of different muscles) and as you continue to do more exercises those muscles break down a little more. Training for pull ups can include accessory muscles like biceps, back, and lats. So you should also be doing bent over barbell rows, close grip rows, and curls. For improvement upon this exercise I'd also recommend at least 2 times a week specifically focused on this muscle group.
kMMAs
3/31/08 2:58:29PM
Thanks guys.

I currently alternate wide grip palms facing away from body and close grip palms facing each other.

One other question... I have a "back day" where I do bent over rows, various lat work all that good stuff...

Would it be bad to do pull-ups as part of my warm-up on the rest of the days as well? I know you shouldnt over train one muscle, but I also know some muscles are more resiliant and recover quicker than others (ie abs, calves etc..)

So if i were to do my warm-up of jogging, stretching ect..before i lift, and just throw in a few light sets of pull-ups everyday, would that hurt progress more than benefit it?

Im not talking a whole back workout obviously...just a few sets before a chest or leg day to keep em working slightly?...bad idea??

PS: Im not a new-b to lifting, but my high school and college life was all trying to get bigger for football and lax (bench, squat, dead, sprints...basics) Now that my athletic life consists of BJJ only and eventually MMA, Im trying to do more core stuff and get more cut, and my lifting never focused on these areas
Jackelope
3/31/08 3:15:58PM
I wouldn't recommend it every day as a warm up. Back muscles take a long time to recover, and are extremely prone to injury. I'd say 3 days a week max. Recovery time is just as important as anything else, as I'm sure you already know since you've been working out for so long.

You said you do two different kinds of pull-ups (I do the same thing alternating on my back days) but which one is it that you can only get 5 with? Or is it both?
kMMAs
3/31/08 4:53:48PM
Thanks.
I can only get five with the wide grip palms facing out. The close grip is easier for me, maybe beacuse im using bis/arms alot with it to help.... but still not too many more with the close grip

casey64
4/1/08 10:02:22AM

Posted by Jackelope

Honestly there's no "best" way. I would say whatever you've been doing if you've been doing it for 2 months, change it up. The best thing you can do right now is bring something new to those muscles.

Are you doing overhand or underhand pull ups? Wide grip or close grip? Hands turned in to each other, or facing away from your body?

These are important questions to ask as well. They affect different muscle groups when you do them differently.

If you're just starting out my recommendation would be to do assisted pull ups until failure beginning using a weight that allows you to get about 8 or 9 reps out of it. Once you get to the point that you can do that same weight 12 times or so a 5-10% increase in weight is recommended. Remember with this you have to factor in your own body weight. So if you're 180 lbs, and you're using a 30lb. assist that puts you at 150 lbs. A 5-10% increase would be 7.5-15 lbs. So you drop down to a 20 lb. assist. Do that until you can do around 12 again, etc. etc.

Always place the workout you mean to improve at the front of your workout session that day, too. That way you tire out all the muscles that workout uses (pull ups are great since they work a lot of different muscles) and as you continue to do more exercises those muscles break down a little more. Training for pull ups can include accessory muscles like biceps, back, and lats. So you should also be doing bent over barbell rows, close grip rows, and curls. For improvement upon this exercise I'd also recommend at least 2 times a week specifically focused on this muscle group.





Nice info I would give you props but I have to spread the love more Sorry
fullerene
4/1/08 1:16:00PM
Good advice on here. This might be solving bigger problems and doing more work than you want, but two other ways to improve the # of pullups you do are to lose weight and/or do deadlifts to incrase your overall pull-chain strength.
RMFG_187
4/3/08 3:17:15AM
also, another way i've seen to do pull ups, u put 2 rags around both sides where u want to place your hands, then grab the rags slack
Jackelope
4/3/08 3:30:32AM
^ That's used for strengthening the grip. If you find yourself failing on grip strength during your pull ups it might be a good idea. Another thing people do is just wrap a rag or towel around the pull up bar and grab that over the top of the pull up bar. It basically makes it so your grip is a bit bigger and therefore your grip strength is put a bit more to the test.
drunkel
4/3/08 3:48:52PM
I've got to disagree with not doing pullups everyday.
I do crossfit workouts and for my warmup everyday are 3 sets of kipping pullups and dips x12 of each back to back. If the wod calls for pullups I don't include them in my warmup.

You can try jumping pullups, or kipping pullups.
Rope climbs if you are able.
jgtribbett
4/13/08 3:29:39AM

Posted by drunkel

I've got to disagree with not doing pullups everyday.
I do crossfit workouts and for my warmup everyday are 3 sets of kipping pullups and dips x12 of each back to back. If the wod calls for pullups I don't include them in my warmup.

You can try jumping pullups, or kipping pullups.
Rope climbs if you are able.



yeah know reading that brings a good point to mind.. if you want to get strong for grappling.. honestly..
go do weird shit.. like..climb ropes.. practice lifts (throws, squeezes, etc..)

i lift and all that shit.. but ya know the strongest dudes i ever wreslted were the ******* cornfed rednecks who worked on the fars and bailed hay and stuff hahahaa.

but yeah.. i say dont kip-up.. i mean.. technique is important and can reduce inujury.. i'm in the same position you are.. i was always trying to get bigger and now i know how to train for grappling and what not and i'm trying to re-learn to lift all over again.. it sucks
TSaL
4/20/08 12:01:50PM
When I first started pullups they really sucked. Try doing 5 pull ups when ever you go by the bar. For about a week I hardly ever when to the bathroom >.< but it work for me lol
Jackelope
4/21/08 3:15:20PM

Posted by drunkel

I've got to disagree with not doing pullups everyday.
I do crossfit workouts and for my warmup everyday are 3 sets of kipping pullups and dips x12 of each back to back. If the wod calls for pullups I don't include them in my warmup.

You can try jumping pullups, or kipping pullups.
Rope climbs if you are able.



Well you can argue it if you want, but honestly you can ask any serious weight lifter and they will tell you that rest is just as important as work. That's just simple body mechanics. Biceps and forearms will repair quickly, but your back muscles will not. The more you work a muscle without allowing it rest the greater your chances of injuring it are. Especially if you're using a cheat technique to work it. Like kipping pull ups.
NeaRMisS
4/21/08 4:19:07PM

Posted by Jackelope


Posted by drunkel

I've got to disagree with not doing pullups everyday.
I do crossfit workouts and for my warmup everyday are 3 sets of kipping pullups and dips x12 of each back to back. If the wod calls for pullups I don't include them in my warmup.

You can try jumping pullups, or kipping pullups.
Rope climbs if you are able.



Well you can argue it if you want, but honestly you can ask any serious weight lifter and they will tell you that rest is just as important as work. That's just simple body mechanics. Biceps and forearms will repair quickly, but your back muscles will not. The more you work a muscle without allowing it rest the greater your chances of injuring it are. Especially if you're using a cheat technique to work it. Like kipping pull ups.



Indeed, I do agree with this. Drunkel you need to remmember that you might be able to do all those pull ups every day, but when you are doing these "warm-ups", you are not pushing yourself. Where as the OP, he couldn't do this as a "warm-up". From the sounds of it, it sounds like he is just starting to work out, and he is pushing himself to the max everytime. So right now OP, do what you can but PLEASE give your muscles time to rest and grow. You need to train and do what your body is capable of doing, at the same time dont be a panzy and dont push yourself ^^, as you wont get anywhere.
drunkel
4/25/08 12:15:49PM
edit
tsuwrestler157
4/25/08 12:54:09PM
one thing that really helped me was on back days id started with pullups do as many as i could then move on to my next exercise after that i would go do as many pullups as i could then do my next exercise and then do another set of pullups it doesnt matter if you only get 1 rep per set it still helps on the overall volume that you do