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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tip Of The Week - Developing Strict Pullup Strength

Developing strict pullup strength is one of the best ways to develop upper body strength, increase athletic performance and improve shoulder health.  Here is a great progression to develop your strict pullup strength.

Step 1:  Lose Weight
A pullup is a body weight exercise.  The more you weigh the more weight you have to pull.  Eat more vegetables, lose body fat and your pullups will get better.

Step 2:  Static Holds
Put a box under the pullup bar so you can easily jump your chin over the pullup bar.  Use a pronated grip (hands out) with your hands a little wider than your shoulders.  Jump your chin over the bar and hold.  Focus on keeping your abdominals and glutes (butt) tight and grip the bar as hard as possible (white-knuckle grip).  Hold this position for 70-80% of your max hold.  In other words, if you can hold for 10 seconds, hold for only 7 or 8.  Rest about one minute then repeat for 5 sets.  When you are able to hold your chin over the bar for three to five sets of ten seconds you can move on to the next step.

Step 3:  Negatives
The setup for a pullup negative is the same as a static hold.  Jump your chin over the bar with a white-knuckle pronated grip, abdominals and glutes tight.  Now slowly lower your body until your arms are at full extension.  Performing this movement SLOWLY is vital.  You should take at least 5 seconds, or more, to lower yourself.  Attempt to perform 5 sets of 3 repetitions with about 3 to 5 minutes rest between sets.  You must be able to lower yourself to full extension of your arms under control.  If you "free-fall" at any point in this movement then your set is done.  Control is key.

Step 4:  Partner Assisted Pullups
Hang on the bar, white-knuckle pronated grip, abdominals and glutes tight.  Have a partner behind you with their hands on your mid to upper back.  Pull your chin over the bar and let your partner assist you only when you need the assistance.  Perform 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions.  Eventually you will be able to pull yourself up without the assistance of a partner.

A band can be used as well, but it is not as effective as a partner.  Using a band will sometimes give you too much or too little assistance.  A partner will only give you the assistance you need.

Here is an example of Partner Assisted Pullups...  Only 2 years old and already on Step 4!
 

Train With Purpose
When working on these progressions, do not think of your training sessions as a workout or exercise.  View these sessions as practice.  You are practicing a perfect pullup.  Do not simply perform these movements just to get them done.  Perform these movements with purpose.

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