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npr0

I can't even do one pull-up.

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npr0

I don't know what to do. I've resorted to just trying to hang from the bar for a combined 60 seconds but even that is proving pretty hard. I have no equipment save a doorway pull-up bar and the Gymnastic Bodies book. Please help me come up with some sort of plan on how to proceed. I have almost no lat strength and can't seem to make any headway in the two months. Please help.

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Alexander Moreen

Go outside and climb some trees and swing on some monkey bars, and keep doing holds at the top of a pullup. When you can do like 20 seconds I'll bet you can do one. You can also try resistance band assistance or have someone spot you by pushing up on your back just enough to get you over the bar, I've been helping some of my fat friends do that and they can get a good workout with a few assisted reps.

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Alvaro Antolinez

What is your weight and height, if you are over weight is like jumping to a harder progression before even starting. Try negatives they helped me when I was 20 kgs heavier and couldn't even do a single pull up. One of the most important thinks is loosing weight if you want to see results, your strenght may improve but you will not see it as the excess weight will prevent you from doing them in quantities, like 10 or 20 pull ups. Of course following the wods scaled down or a pesonalized pull up protocol( search slizzardman posts on the topic).

This is my experience but I am not the best suited here to give advice( still only 4-5 dead hang pull ups but I have been without working out properly for the last 4 months), I made a big improvement following the wods scaled down( almost only negatives!) but keeping the rep numbers. Hope this helps

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Philip Chubb

I am surprised no one has said it yet but rows! Hang a long towel from that pull up bar, put your feet out in front of you, and start pulling! It's a great step in between that I use when I have a client who doesn't have enough pulling strength to go straight to pull ups. And using the towel will give you an added grip bonus.

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Neal Winkler

If you are overweight then lose weight, for starters.

You said that you hold yourself at the top. Have you tried doing negatives?

If you buy some rings from Coach you can hang them from the pullup bar and do rows which will help build pullup strength.

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jl5555

Perhaps you might progress if you used elastic bands or other scheme to do assisted pull ups. There have been a variety of discussions here regarding how to fashion such a set up. You can get rubber bands at various stores or you can put in some pulleys and ropes and counter weight.

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AlexX
I am surprised no one has said it yet but rows! Hang a long towel from that pull up bar, put your feet out in front of you, and start pulling! It's a great step in between that I use when I have a client who doesn't have enough pulling strength to go straight to pull ups. And using the towel will give you an added grip bonus.

Getting proficient at rows is a great progression towards the pullup. Once you can knockout a few sets of 8-10 (chest to bar or rings) you can start working on the negatives in the pullup with pauses at the top. A pullup will be quick to follow. This is the progression I used for most people who couldn't do pullups, male or female. They all got pullups within a few of months.

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npr0

Thanks a lot for the help guys. I'll start working on the rows today. I assume all I have to do is hang the towel down from the bar like a cape and grab the corners, right? As for my height and weight I am 5'9 with at about 175lbs so I guess I am a bit heavy for my height but I don't think it's overly so. I hope this helps if anyone else has any other sorts of advice for me.

Oh one more question. would I be over training if I worked these rows every workout day(M,T,T,F?) Thanks again, guys.

You said that you hold yourself at the top.

Actually I hang from the bottom.

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Blairbob

I would only start working the rows 2x/week for now. However, you'd probably be able to do them 4x/week but you'll come across a point where you'll burn out on them and have to program them more effectively (exhausting linear progression).

175lbs@5'9 isn't necessarily overweight. Sort of depends on body fat levels.

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npr0

Bodyfat was something like 22% last I checked... sort of feels like it's all around my waist. :P

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AlexX

Depends on your goals but if your goals are anything relative strength related, ring work is, then 22 percent is 12 percent too much, it's just extra weight. I'd say at the minimum 14 percent should be your goal. The good news is this is easily fixable, just fix your diet.

And I second blairbobs recommendations for frequency.

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JL

I think negatives are the most popular way of getting the 1st pullup. It works. The question is really about what is the best way to program it.

1) Should you fight it until you break to a hang, or do submaximal lowering for a slow count, or lockoffs.

2) How many days a week.

I have had success at two separate points in my life both fighting it until I give out, using lockoffs, and hold the top position/lower to bottom. Namely using a 3x a week plan. What has failed me is trying to increase time, or to every week. What I would do is a 3x a week plan for a month or two. Do a certain lockoff or lowering scheme that allows you to get 3-4 sets without going to failure on any set, but maybe the last set. It should be challenging, but not kick your butt. Stick with that exact scheme for a few weeks and use a 1x a week test to see if you are improving where it counts.

Monday: Pullup test (Do the max reps, or best pullup you can accomplish in one set). Note how many reps, or where you body is relative to the bar. I usually do not warm up. Maybe something really easy, but nothing that will begin to fatigue you or even slightly affect the test. That is why I didn't warm up for it. Maybe I am lucky, but I never got injured.

Wednesday: Work sets. 3 sets = 10 sec. lowering from peak, [3-5 min. rest], 10 sec. lowering, [3-5 min. rest], 10 sec lowering.

Friday: Work sets. 3 sets = 10 sec. lowering from peak, [3-5 min. rest], 10 sec. lowering, [3-5 min. rest], 10 sec lowering.

If after 2-4 weeks you are getting stronger at the test, the sets of whatever you chose feels easier, and you feel no stress or strain in the forearms or elbows, increase the time. Or you could keep with it until the parameters no longer give you results, then increase the time for given positions.

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Cole Dano

Just to add a word of encouragement to all the good advice already given. Hang in there, the first pull up is the hardest.

I had many years of bodyweight work behind me, but there was absolutely no pulling. So when i came here it was the same as you, couldn't do one. I did rows, negatives and basically struggled. It truly felt impossible at first, but if you just hang in there, are patient but persistent it will come and its 100% worth it.

The key moves as already stated are - rows, negatives, and assisted. Experiment with how often works for you. You'll know its too often if it feels worse than the last time you did it.

Good luck and do keep us posted.

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Guest

Great advice everybody. And also (equally important in my eyes) great attitude. Everybody here was once a 'no-pullup' person and it's great to see that we did not forget where we all came from. There are plenty of forums where 'noobs' get ridiculed and I'm glad that the GB community chooses to encourage each other instead :D

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Cole Dano
Great advice everybody. And also (equally important in my eyes) great attitude. Everybody here was once a 'no-pullup' person and it's great to see that we did not forget where we all came from. There are plenty of forums where 'noobs' get ridiculed and I'm glad that the GB community chooses to encourage each other instead :D

Well that's one of the most awesome things about the community. It was even more in evidence at the seminar.

One of the highlights of my life was me trying to climb at all up the rope and having Orench give me props and encouraging me on.

I'll tell you that never happened in High School, and it still haunts me at 47!

The Coach has a gift fro bringing this out in people and in many ways i consider that a bigger achievement than the physical achievements his athletes show.

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Blairbob

Get a chair and get into a flex arm hang if you can. If you cannot hold this for any long period of time, negatives may be of no use.

If you cannot hold a flex arm hang, I would do with your toes still on the chair, bending your knees to take off a percentage of the weight.

Grease the grove with the body rows. Everytime you walk by the bar, do a set. Find your max reps at a certain angle and then shoot for your work set to be half your max repetitions, perhaps even less than half. If you cannot do at least 5, adjust the angle so you can do 1 to 2 reps without a taxing amount of effort.

How many reps you do in a day sort of depends on how many sets you are gonna shoot for and of course, how much volume your able to do.

No pullup person? Umm, I think I was one sometime in elementary. I cannot remember when I did my first pullup but it's been a long time. So my experience has been mainly getting other people to pullup, primarily adolescents in the past 10 years. I'm pretty sure I may not have been able to do 5 perhaps as a freshman in HS but I never worked them much before then. Once I started climbing the rope in the dojo as a frosh, my pullup test hit 5-10 pretty fast in HS PE.

For someone like Gregor, he probably was a no pullup person about 20 years ago. Dillon, about 15, maybe.

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npr0

I couldn't manage the flexed arm hang but the body rows worked out very well for me. I didn't have a long enough towel so I just hung a pair of jeans from the pull-up bar and went to town.. well sort of :P. I got about 3 body rows out last night and for the first time, since I started trying to get my lats doing the right, I feel the dull soreness that is an exercised muscle in my back. Yes! I'll will keep doing this twice a week for a while until I can manage about 3 sets of 10 before I try to move forward.

It feels great to know that my attempts won't be in vain anymore and I'll be sure to let you know what kind of progress I've made in the next few weeks. Thanks a lot everybody.

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Blairbob

When you can, try holding the top of the pullup for 1-2 seconds and taking anywhere from 2-5 seconds in the ascent, descent, or both. Something to play with later on.

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npr0

Does handstand work help your back? I feel a muscle being tensed in my upper back, could this be my lats?

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Longshanks

I'm another one that started off in the same boat where I couldn't do even pull-up negatives. Started with an SSC of 5sets of 5*5sec negative rows at quite a high angle (about 45degrees at the bottom of the ROM). Started those in June this year and I'm currently doing 3-4 sets of 6* 5 sec negative pull-ups on the rings. I've found it a very slow improvement at my size (6''5' and about 224lbs), but the max reps do go up by 2 or 3 each cycle, or the same max reps in a slightly harder variation.

I feel I've only seen a small increase in absolute strength but it is definitely visible in my lats now after nearly 5 months of it. I get the feeling now that you can spend a lifetime progressing through harder pull-up variations if your so inclined.

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