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Hams
07-20-2004, 09:55 AM
Good day, everyone! I've got a question or two about pullups. About how long does it take to build the back and arm strength to do a set (8 reps, let's say) of unassisted pullups using a normal grip? I've been doing pullups on the assistance machine for about 3 months now and I feel I've hit a plateau. A couple of days ago I tried to do a couple with my bodyweight and could only do 1. It's very frustrating. I'm thinking that reducing bodyweight in general, and especially losing fat from the lower body, will help. In the meantime, do you have any tips for building pullup strength?

Thanks,

Hams

Emoore
07-20-2004, 10:48 AM
The best way to build strength for pullups is to do pullups. Grasshopper. (sorry, couldn't resist :D) Do them on the assist machine without much assistance, so you can only get out 5-6 reps. This will help you build your strength.

You can also try this: Hang a resistance band from the bar so it hangs down in a big U. Then you hang from the bar and put the band under your knees so it's holding up a bit of your bodyweight. It should stretch. This way the band is helping you lift a little bit of your weight, but it's closer to a "real" pullup than using an assistance machine.

Xanatos
07-20-2004, 11:00 AM
Emoore is right. You'll have to do more pullups.

You could try a variation with the tempo. Try doing maybe 3 seconds going up and 6 seconds going down, then switching to the assisted pullups (slow tempo). In time, your strength will increase.

nsouth
07-20-2004, 11:39 AM
I have found that what helps me the most is having someone hold my knees (similar to how you might use a band) so as they vary their amount of assistance I have to work harder or less hard. And it feels more like a real pull-up than the rigidness of an assistance machine.

moody_weasel
07-21-2004, 11:06 AM
I have yet to reach the point where I can do 8 pullups in a row. It seems that whenever I don't do them for two weeks I have to start over where I left off.

Anyway, I've had some good results with the synaptic facilitation approach:

http://www.cbass.com/Synaptic.htm

What I did was crank out a few pull-ups using different grips whenever I walked past my pull-up bar. This has worked best for me.

Others like this one more:

http://www.cbass.com/Pavel%27sLadders.htm

I've used negatives to build up the strength to do regular pullups.
Here's a description how to do negatives, it's from Scrapper (http://www.trainforstrength.com/):

Negatives are what I usually prescribe to those people in my classes that
can't do any pull-ups. Basically, set the bar at a height that you can grab
it and still have your feet on the ground. Jump up, get your chin over the
bar, and SLOWLY lower yourself back down to the floor. Doing pull-ups like
this can really burn your back out so take it easy at first. Pyramiding up
to 2 and back is ok if you're just starting out. It's tempting to "check"
your progress every few days, just remember that pull-ups take strength and
that takes time to build. Make sure you take a couple/few days off between
pull-up workouts if you're doing lots of negatives. Like I said, they can
burn you out quickly if you're too anxious!

corefit
07-21-2004, 01:18 PM
Negatives have helped me the most....and lots of lat pull downs

Hams
07-22-2004, 11:24 AM
Hey all,

Thank you for the helpful advice on generating pullup strength. I'm going to stop hanging out on the assisted machine and move on over to the pullup bar to do some negatives. Maybe I'll be able to crank out 3 or 4 within a month.

Hams

moody_weasel
07-22-2004, 11:37 AM
Ah, yes, that sound. ;)

-=E=-
07-30-2004, 12:05 AM
At the moment I do unassisted pullups with 55lb weights attached 3x7 (I'm a guy btw)...

Not long ago, I could not do my own body weight without assistance...

The secret is to forget about the assisted machine for the first set(s) and try to do as many on your own as you can ( EVEN if it's 1, 2 or even zero) ... You must get your arms and back used to supporting your own weight ( if you can't do ANY pullups unassisted, start doing it by dangling from the bar for a few seconds (ofcourse while still struggling to pull yourself up), several times) ...

Once you are done with your difficult attemps at doing unassisted pullups and think you can't take anymore :), then to finish off your pullup excercise for the day revert back to the assisted machine and finish your normal sets.

If you can already do 3-4 unassisted, I strongly suggest you add approximately 5-10lb of weights. This might make a single rep barely possible, but challenge your body to do more than your own body weight. Once you finish your attempts you can remove the weight and finish your normal reps with assistance.

Keep challenging yourself like this and in approximately 4 weeks you can do at least 1 set of 6-8 of unassisted pullups. In 2-3 months you will have to add weight to your body to make it even a challenge.

I hope this helps.

P.S. another friend of mine is 155lb, he ties TWO 45lb plates to his waist and does 3x10 ... go figure :D

Hams
07-30-2004, 09:40 AM
Hey E,

Thanks for the huge spark of encouragement! Man, those pullups are wicked, but I'm glad to hear you've found a way to do them. I'm a chick, btw, and so my lower body is much stronger and carries more weight than my upper body, making pullups that more difficult. Yesterday, however, I ventured over to the pullup bar and did five sets of 1 negative rep. Today, my lats are so sore I can barely raise my hands above my head! I know this will build awesome strength and that I'll be doing my bodyweight for reps in a month or two. I'm going to give your method a shot next week when I hit it again.

Thanks again,

Hams

RosieRivetor
08-09-2004, 06:58 PM
boo yeah... i remember being humiliated in 5th grade because I was the only girl that couldn't do a pull up. Well damn it, I'm bound and determined to do it now!!! I'm proud of how well my arms and shoulders have developed, but not sure I could do even a single unassisted pull up. I weigh 170 right now, but can do 2 sets of 8 at 135 on the lat pull down machine. I'm going to try the assisted machine to see how that differs, then on to the unassisted pull up. Maybe I'll sneak into the gym when no one is looking. So no one sees me dangling from the pull up bar goin' nowhere but growling and groaning. How about the running in the air method? LOL!!!

~ Rosie ~

**Caution - wildly flailing legs near pull up bar.... **

narak
08-10-2004, 12:18 AM
LOL !!!

RosieRivetor
08-11-2004, 06:19 AM
ok, what gives??? I weigh 170lbs. I can do 150 on the lat pull down machine for 2 sets of 8. But with the assisted pull up machine I had to have the weights at 60lbs!!! That means my puny muscles were only pulling 110 of my body weight. What gives? Isn't a lat pull down the same as a pull up? Why is it that my lat pull down wieght is higher than my assisted pull up weight? Just pisses me off. I was hoping to go in there with flying colors and ended up disappointing myself. Got a little pissed and now I've gotta work hard to prove to myself I can do a full set of unassisted pull ups at some point in the not so distant future.
I am thinking of entering the military and I have heard that men are required to be able to pull their bodyweight over their heads, but women are not. I think that's bull****. I'm working hard at getting my body into shape, I think that we have a lower body weight to compensate for our smaller muscles but there's no reason most women can't do a pull up if they worked hard enough. But society lets the women think they're weak. Ugh, drives me nuts! One more reason I'm going to do a full set of pull ups!!!!

~ Rosie ~

moody_weasel
08-11-2004, 07:10 AM
Originally posted by RosieRivetor
ok, what gives??? I weigh 170lbs. I can do 150 on the lat pull down machine for 2 sets of 8. But with the assisted pull up machine I had to have the weights at 60lbs!!! That means my puny muscles were only pulling 110 of my body weight. What gives? Isn't a lat pull down the same as a pull up?

Don't feel bad, Rosie. The same happens to guys who can pull a lot on the lat pull down and think because of that they can smoke others at pull-ups.
They all learn the hard way. ;)

RosieRivetor
08-11-2004, 07:36 PM
OMFG! Talk about learning the hard way. Well obviously I've got more attitude than muscle because I woke up this morning and couldn't put my hands above my head. My entire ribcage hurt, my delts and even my biceps are somewhat sore. I was doing the assisted pull up with only 110 resistance... but I can do 150 on the lat pull down without that kind of pain the next day. I must be working different muscles or something. I really pushed hard to get through 2 sets of 8 but dang! I've never been this sore before. I am taking today off from lifting. Just to give my body some time to recoup. Well, guess some of us have gotta learn the hard way!!!

~ Rosie ~

narak
08-11-2004, 07:59 PM
Do let us know how you're progressing, and look forward to seeing you doing a full set unassisted !

I weigh 140 and had to have theweights at 80

bscrusher
08-12-2004, 01:33 AM
hams, and others, i have a question.

why is it so important to be able to do x amount of pull-ups? what will this arcane ability do for you?

Emoore
08-12-2004, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by bscrusher
hams, and others, i have a question.

why is it so important to be able to do x amount of pull-ups? what will this arcane ability do for you?

Personally, I like getting stronger. And I like to have goals in my strength training. Gives me something to work toward besides asthetics.

moody_weasel
08-12-2004, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by bscrusher
hams, and others, i have a question.

why is it so important to be able to do x amount of pull-ups? what will this arcane ability do for you?

I think pull-ups are a great exercise that's why I incorporate different kinds of pull-ups into my workout. I don't have a specific goal rep-wise as long as I improve I'm happy. :)

PowerFromAbove
08-18-2004, 08:33 AM
do lots of bent rows and heavy pulldowns- sets of 8

i can do about 25 pullups @ 250lbs bodyweight

Emma-Leigh
08-18-2004, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by PowerFromAbove
do lots of bent rows and heavy pulldowns- sets of 8

i can do about 25 pullups @ 250lbs bodyweight
That is very nice. You must be pleased.

Thank you for sharing.

;)




You are obviously also a male - meaning you have a proportionally much stronger upper body to body weight ratio than most females (generally speaking)... And seeing this is the female forum....

narak
08-18-2004, 08:08 PM
I would have given 3 "winkies" but I'm still trying to figure out how....

moody_weasel
08-19-2004, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by PowerFromAbove
do lots of bent rows and heavy pulldowns- sets of 8


No. If you want to do lots of pull-ups you'll have to do lots of pull-ups. :D

RosieRivetor
08-24-2004, 10:38 PM
to bscrusher - what's the point in doing pull-ups? What's the point in any exercise? To make you stronger, to make your body more efficient and how often do you have to pull with your arms? I know that when I was hiking and climbing in the mountains that upper body strength really paid off! Being able to pull myself up over the rocks with a 40lb pack on was really worth it. I'm glad I worked those muscles hard before I went so I wasn't sore as hell the next day.
Also, I'm working on getting into the military and it would be nice to have some good physical strength before going in. And I think we've all got a competitive edge that we hate not being able to do something, and it eats at us until we master it hard.

~ Rosie ~

bscrusher
08-25-2004, 06:45 PM
hi rosie, here's the thing, if you add extraneous items to your physique goals the progress of your goals will slow down. so if you have the goal of say, building muscle mass, but then you decide to add the goal of doing a very high number of chin-ups, the growth of your muscle mass will be slowed down in proportion to how much energy you expend on the chin-up goal.

p.s. bump weasel.

Hams
08-26-2004, 08:17 AM
Here's a really good article on how to progressively build a stronger and more MASSIVE back through chinups and pullups:

http://www.dolfzine.com/page243.htm

According to Ms. Vernon (the author of the article), pullups helped her add 2 inches of MASS to her back in a matter of 18 months.

Pullups Rule!!!



Hams

Iron Draggin
09-01-2004, 10:02 AM
Originally posted by RosieRivetor
ok, what gives??? I weigh 170lbs. I can do 150 on the lat pull down machine for 2 sets of 8. But with the assisted pull up machine I had to have the weights at 60lbs!!! That means my puny muscles were only pulling 110 of my body weight. What gives? Isn't a lat pull down the same as a pull up?
~ Rosie ~

Not really
One The lat machine is an Isolated movement, you don't have to worry about support muscles as much (I think, correct me if I'm wrong.)
Two the lat pulldown machine uses a cable pully system, this will probably lessen the actual "lifting" weight versus the "plate" weight.

I guess it's like the difference between doing squats and leg presses on a machine.

RosieRivetor
09-06-2004, 06:53 PM
I've noticed I'm getting much stronger in other exercises now that I've incorporated pull ups into my routine. I can do two sets of push-ups without much effort when before it was agony (I hate push-ups btw!) I've still got alot of work before I can do a set of unassisted pull-ups but it's getting better.


~ Rosie ~

Gabrielle
09-13-2004, 09:16 PM
That is WONDERFUL! Congrats Congrats~you are an inspiration to me!

RosieRivetor
09-19-2004, 08:45 PM
Well I finally was able to do a few unassisted pull-ups. I've been working with the assisted pull up machine and lowering my bodyfat. Working from both ends there :) Anyhow, I'm down to 160 and can do 3 full pull ups before muscle failure aka-hang there like a limp noodle... I went from using 75-85lbs of assistance, to being able to pull my own body weight vertically 3 times. Now I'm aimin' for 3x8 :) I have to admit I love seeing the nice bulge of biceps and the tightness in my chest when I'm pulling. Definitely gives me a good feeling to finally be able to unassisted pull ups.