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TobiasValbjoern

10 one arm chin ups

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TobiasValbjoern

This is a cry for help. I had been progressing towards one arm chin ups for a while, and I was with one of my friends when I did my first. He saw it, and joked that soon I would be able to do ten OAC. I said that it might be possible, and the bet was on. I figured out afterward that I might have set the bar a little too high. I have bought "Building the gymnasitc body" and I am doing the static holds and bodyweight exercises four times a week each. In my training towards the OAC I am currently doing three sets of three reps assisted OAC's with 7,5 kg to get some volume. Would the best strategy be to stay at the three rep range and just lower the weight and then afterward do weighted OAC's or is it better to build up to 10 reps first and then lower/add weight?

PS. I am not interested in people telling me that it is impossible, there are enough people telling me that already. I just want some good ideas, inspiration etcetera from people that are more experienced than me.

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Nic Branson

Impossible is a word tell them to get over it. Do not defeat yourself. OAC takes time be patient. I would get to at least 5 sets of 3 assisted with a focus on holding the lockout for 3-5 seconds and a nice slow controlled lower. Be honest with yourself on this and do it right. You might need 8 sets of 3, but I would try a good single after 5 x 3. Do not worry about what to do after that yet. Just get a good reliable single, then ask again.

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Falcon

Nah, impossible.. setting the bar too high :D

just a bit of insight:

I have a friend of mine who is a barhitter, there is only few of us who do bodyweight stuff in this city, so it's pretty rare and people mostly don't know how to progress........ anyway.. he has some decent pulling strength so I helped him with some tips for OACs, as far as I know he has bodyweight of about 75kg (?) he wasn't really trying OAC negatives but working on weighted pullups/chinups. I think he can at his bodyweight pull 40kg for about 5 or more reps, and recently he told me that he did an OAC from standing on his toes with his arm bent a little bit, so conclusion: Work on weighted pullups, they do help.

by the way, the guy is terrible when it comes to workout/sleep/food ethic (i guess thats the right word?), he doesn't eat any special diet, his workouts are just freestyling (no routine), and what not, he sleeps only about 5-6 hours daily, sometimes less (night shifts). I've been trying to tell him what would have happened if he tried to do things differently, but he doesn't listen :D

Whoa. Sorry for the backstory. :D

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Mikael Kristiansen

I am by no means a master at 1 arm chinups, but do consider that 10 reps is a lot. You wont find many who can actually bang out 10 full rom ones. This is not to say you should not try, but it is definitely a long term goal. I would suppose it would take some years to go from 1-2 to 10. On such a skill there is also inury potential so be careful. As far as I see it, doing 1 oac should be a walk in the park before going for several reps to avoid elbow problems. Also, it will probably take a lot of determination to get to 10, so be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort, both on training and resting.

Is the assistance done by the other arm? If it is, remember that you wont work your stabilizers in the exact same way as when done on 1 arm. In that sense i think that if you choose to work up to 10 with assistance, it needs to be balanced out with work on the actual 1 arm chin.

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TobiasValbjoern

Patience is a key that is for sure. Variations in my bodyweight is enough too get different results from workout to workout. I think that you should not conclude that something is impossible just because there is not a lot of people doing it. Most people will not go the distance in terms of eating, sleeping and months/years of training.

"You might need 8 sets of 3" - Is this before I start to lower the weight used in the assisted OAC?

"Work on weighted pullups, they do help" I can see the point regarding to pulling strength, but seeing that adaptations are specific I thought that it would be better to work the specific skill.

In hinsight I can see that 4 times a week with OAC's are a little too much for my body to handle. What about OAC's two times, and weighted chin ups two times?

It is definitely on my long term goal list. To avoid the risk of injury I use the method from "Building the gymnastic body", where I keep the same routine for 8 weeks and then increase the intensity. By the way, I get plenty of sleep every night, and do not eat junk that floods out my energy.

For the assisted OAC's I use a rope with the weights attached to it which a hold with the other hand, so as soon as I pull more than the weight I am not getting anywhere. It was thought as a means to quantify my progress. You have a point. As soon as I can do three consecutive OAC's without assistance I will add that to the workout.

I am grateful for the great answers. However I do have yet another question. I have found out that my grip strength will be a limiting factor in gaining more reps in the OAC without assistence. Do you have some experience with increasing grip strength without putting further pressure on the joints, ligaments etcetera?

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Nic Branson

I would do 2 days of OAC work and one day of weighted chins. 5 sets of 3 then when those are solid go ahead and lower the weight and see how it goes. I said the might need 8 sets as it depends if you started to plateau out and need a bit more volume to push through and lengthen the adaptation phase.

Part of the grip issue for OAC is the twisting your body is doing. Just the volume of work will naturally build the grip over time. Farmers walks are good in this situation as they will trigger the rotator cuff and stabilizers from the opposite direction.

Once you can do a solid reliable single then things change a bit.

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Rik de Kort
I would do 2 days of OAC work and one day of weighted chins. 5 sets of 3 then when those are solid go ahead and lower the weight and see how it goes. I said the might need 8 sets as it depends if you started to plateau out and need a bit more volume to push through and lengthen the adaptation phase.

I'd do it the other way around, two days weighted chins, one day OAC, since OAC requires double volume (one 'volume' per arm) it would be a bit more taxing on the CNS. You can ask Steven Low, who burnt himself out doing too much volume on OAC's. He should have some good recommendations.

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Nic Branson

Well the volume on those days should be lower in general compared to the two arm. Most people fail to be able to control themselves in the OAC position. It sounds like he has some good baseline conditioning. The key is to manage the volume intelligently, the two days increases the amount of practice being done.

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Joshua Naterman

Extremely, extremely slow negatives help. Like 15-20s. That will help with control immensely. You will probably want to have a way to tap something when you need to fix the [at first] inevitable rotation. Eventually you won't have to tap and will control it with muscles.

On the volume side I think that you are going to need a pretty even mix of slowly accumulated volume with the current level of OAC assistance ( personally I would find an assistance level that lets you do 6-7 reps, build up to 10 there, and slowly decrease assistance. Build back up to a solid 2-3 sets of 10 reps before lowering assistance, and only lower 1 lb per workout at a time at the most. This will require measurable assistance, such as from a cable machine, and a light weight either a partially full water bottle or fractional plates.

Bands aren't exact enough for that, but you can always try stretching the band less at the top of the movement so that overall assistance gets scaled down. Heavily prefer this to be done with weights.

Weighted pull ups can definitely help, but keep the reps low. You want minimal size gain.

As Handbalancer said, you're also going to want to include OAC singles.

This is absolutely a multi-year goal, so take your time and don't look ahead. Focus on mastering where you are now and don't think about moving forward. The time to move forward will be clear each time it comes, there is no need to focus on it.

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seiyafan

Make sure you work both arms, you don't want to end up having one limb bigger than the other.

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TobiasValbjoern

"Extremely, extremely slow negatives help. Like 15-20s" - How do you propose that I get these into the routine?

Joshua Naterman, you said that I should keep the reps low with my weighted pull ups since I want minimal size gain, and that is my philosophy as well, I always aim for the 3-5 rep range as Nic Branson proposes with the OAC's, but you said that I should: "Build back up to a solid 2-3 sets of 10 reps before lowering assistance" - Wouldn't that increase size gain? It feels logical, since my goal is ten reps, but if I get heavier and more bulky, wouldn't it take longer to reach my goal?

And of course I use both hands. Anything else would be imbecile. :)

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Joshua Naterman
"Extremely, extremely slow negatives help. Like 15-20s" - How do you propose that I get these into the routine?

Joshua Naterman, you said that I should keep the reps low with my weighted pull ups since I want minimal size gain, and that is my philosophy as well, I always aim for the 3-5 rep range as Nic Branson proposes with the OAC's, but you said that I should: "Build back up to a solid 2-3 sets of 10 reps before lowering assistance" - Wouldn't that increase size gain? It feels logical, since my goal is ten reps, but if I get heavier and more bulky, wouldn't it take longer to reach my goal?

And of course I use both hands. Anything else would be imbecile. :)

When you can do 10 OAC with one arm you are going to have very, very large lats. I knew a guy on my ship that could do it, I saw it with my own eyes. 10 reps with one hand and then 9 reps with the other. All the way down to complete lockout and back up each rep, and it only looked like it took effort on the last 2 reps with each arm... I have never seen a muscle structure like his. When I tell you that it actually looked like he had two butt cheeks on his back, I mean that. It is not meant to be some sort of funny statement or an exaggeration, that's exactly what his lats looked like. They had to have been 3" thick, measuring outwards from the ribs. We seriously used to tell him that he needed to wipe his butt when his back started sweating in the summer. He knew exactly what we meant.

If you somehow think you're going to do that without size gain you are living on a fantasy planet, just so you know.

As long as the mass gain is in the muscle moving your body, it will accelerate your progress and not hinder it. If your legs gain 2 lbs each, that's going to slow you down. If your lats gain 2 lbs each, which they should or close to it, you are going to be doing many more consecutive reps of OAC much sooner.

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Nic Scheelings

In my opinion if you want to do this, cool go for it. However I feel you're going to have to become a real specialist in this movement with most of your training geared towards this one goal. Some people may not agree with me here but I think achieving this will come at the expense of some other abilities, do you want to be the guy who can do ten OAC and has amazing specialized pulling strength or do you want to be the guy who can do straddle planche, straddle planche push up, 90 degree HSPU, 2 OAC's, Front lever, maybe 2 X BW back squat, 1.5 X BW clean ect...

I guess it is upto you, but ten OAC I think becomes very specialized and may come at the expense of the rest of these skills, esp the lower body ones. Then again you may prove me wrong and do ten OAC and still be able to do all this stuff and then I would tip my hat :)

Anyway make of this what you will, just my opinion.

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Joshua Naterman
In my opinion if you want to do this, cool go for it. However I feel you're going to have to become a real specialist in this movement with most of your training geared towards this one goal. Some people may not agree with me here but I think achieving this will come at the expense of some other abilities, do you want to be the guy who can do ten OAC and has amazing specialized pulling strength or do you want to be the guy who can do straddle planche, straddle planche push up, 90 degree HSPU, 2 OAC's, Front lever, maybe 2 X BW back squat, 1.5 X BW clean ect...

I guess it is upto you, but ten OAC I think becomes very specialized and may come at the expense of the rest of these skills, esp the lower body ones. Then again you may prove me wrong and do ten OAC and still be able to do all this stuff and then I would tip my hat :)

Anyway make of this what you will, just my opinion.

Excellent food for thought.

The guy I saw, Davis, was an honest to god genetic freak. He could do... what seemed like everything. I don't think that's in the realm of possibility for very many people.

But, like Nic says... if you want to specialize then go for it! It will be fun to watch either way!

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Brian Li
"Extremely, extremely slow negatives help. Like 15-20s" - How do you propose that I get these into the routine?

Joshua Naterman, you said that I should keep the reps low with my weighted pull ups since I want minimal size gain, and that is my philosophy as well, I always aim for the 3-5 rep range as Nic Branson proposes with the OAC's, but you said that I should: "Build back up to a solid 2-3 sets of 10 reps before lowering assistance" - Wouldn't that increase size gain? It feels logical, since my goal is ten reps, but if I get heavier and more bulky, wouldn't it take longer to reach my goal?

And of course I use both hands. Anything else would be imbecile. :)

When you can do 10 OAC with one arm you are going to have very, very large lats. I knew a guy on my ship that could do it, I saw it with my own eyes. 10 reps with one hand and then 9 reps with the other. All the way down to complete lockout and back up each rep, and it only looked like it took effort on the last 2 reps with each arm... I have never seen a muscle structure like his. When I tell you that it actually looked like he had two butt cheeks on his back, I mean that. It is not meant to be some sort of funny statement or an exaggeration, that's exactly what his lats looked like. They had to have been 3" thick, measuring outwards from the ribs. We seriously used to tell him that he needed to wipe his butt when his back started sweating in the summer. He knew exactly what we meant.

If you somehow think you're going to do that without size gain you are living on a fantasy planet, just so you know.

As long as the mass gain is in the muscle moving your body, it will accelerate your progress and not hinder it. If your legs gain 2 lbs each, that's going to slow you down. If your lats gain 2 lbs each, which they should or close to it, you are going to be doing many more consecutive reps of OAC much sooner.

I think that is mainly based on genetics or staying with the mass building rep range (6-12). Cisco can do close to 10 one arm pull-ups on each arm and his lats are nowhere near as huge as your friend's, although it could be because his workouts consist of mainly strength training with a few reps per set or just plain genetics and nutrition.

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Joshua Naterman

Cisco can do 5-6 with chin to the bar, followed by 2-3 reps that are not quite there. That is ridiculously impressive, but is a long way from 9-10 really good ones. I have a feeling that with his shirt off Cisco looks a lot bigger.

Davis looked like a normal guy (aside from ridiculous pecs, but you couldn't tell HOW ridiculous) with his shirt on, and when he took it off it was like he gained 30 lbs or something. The only other time I have seen that was actually this semester, on another guy of similar basic build. He was African, small bone structure, looked like a very well-developed natural bodybuilder but never works out. What he would look like with actual training... I don't know. Could very well be a similar case of genetics. There was a guy at BUD/S from Germany, Wobig, who also had a similar build but was heavily endurance oriented in his training. Similar case, kid was apparently just naturally a bit more built than the rest of us.

I also never saw Davis train... I don't know the slightest thing about how he maintained himself, but I don't think he did a whole lot. There is a distinct possibility that he could have gotten much stronger. Davis was literally just one of those very few guys who is born to be a dominant physical force. I absolutely agree that most people won't be his size or close to it. Crazy, crazy phenotype. For as many people as I've seen train, I've never seen another quite like it. Close, but not quite, and only 2 or 3 total.

We all know how over the top Cisco's pulling strength is, and it is far beyond what we see from almost anyone, as is his dedication to regular and specific training, which strengthens my belief that Davis's accomplishments are beyond most mortals' potentials. Shouldn't stop anyone from striving for excellence, but 10 OAPullups is a lot. I am not sure if too many people can get there even with very dedicated training, it will be interesting to see how the OP progresses! He seems to already have a good strength base.

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MCem222

ten OACs is possible. Here is a video of it:

Now. keep in mind, the guy in the video is 5'3 or 5'4. If you are 6'2, the chances of you doing something like this are significantly lowered. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try, but just keep it in mind

Also, Slizzardman, what sort of stuff would Davis do? Bodyweight feats, or weights, or what?

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Joshua Naterman
ten OACs is possible. Here is a video of it:

Now. keep in mind, the guy in the video is 5'3 or 5'4. If you are 6'2, the chances of you doing something like this are significantly lowered. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try, but just keep it in mind

Also, Slizzardman, what sort of stuff would Davis do? Bodyweight feats, or weights, or what?

He would show off, that's about it.

I've seen him jump, with one small step, onto a platform more or less collarbone height. He was 5'9, 162 lbs just to give perspective. I have seem him jump nearly 12 (might have been 13, I can't remember) feet from a standstill, we measured the distance from gripe pad to gripe pad in the transition area from the wind tunnel to the boat deck. I could to a little over 9 feet at the time. It was a substantial, almost inhuman difference... I mean it literally was like he stayed in the air for just a little too long.

I've personally seen the following:

20 reps back squat with 225, no perceptible effort. Just below parallel.

45 degree bent arm planche, which at the time was insane to me. Now I realize that this isn't a HUGE deal, but still... pausing halfway down in a Bower/hollowback HS press is pretty tough.

bench press 325 for 2 reps

50 consecutive deadhang pull ups, again didn't even seem to be breathing very hard. He just did that to piss off some marines, then laughed and went back to the engine room.

I have no idea how fast he was sprinting, but he ran an 8:05 1.5 mile. My best was 8:15 or so. I just couldn't quite catch him. Big weight difference, but I was also training hard and again I don't think Davis trained for running hardly at all. I never, ever saw him on a treadmill and I knew his shifts, engineers just don't have much time off.

Davis, my friend Austin, and myself were equally fast sprinters. We could outsprint anyone at the time, just about.

the 10 OAPullups were another thing.

I also saw him tumble, he could do round off back handspring back tuck and an ugly layout. Standing front tuck as well. There was actually a 6'5" guy that out-tumbled Davis and Davis was mad about it, that was funny. I think there was some twisting involved that Davis couldn't do, but I didn't see that particular event, just ran into an angry Davis one evening hahaha!

What I didn't witness, but believe: He got in trouble at BUD/S about a year before I got there. What happened? Well, he let the instructors think he was struggling just like everyone else with the pull ups. Then, the guy beside him couldn't do his rep. Everyone else is at the top of the bar, holding until the instructors say to go down. Davis reaches down, grabs the guy's collar, and helps lift him up. Needless to say, the instructors were all over him for this. They immediately realized that he clearly was not physically challenged but was faking the difficulty. This... did not go over well, and ultimately led to him quitting.

That is what I remember.

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Quick Start Test Smith

What I didn't witness, but believe: He got in trouble at BUD/S about a year before I got there. What happened? Well, he let the instructors think he was struggling just like everyone else with the pull ups. Then, the guy beside him couldn't do his rep. Everyone else is at the top of the bar, holding until the instructors say to go down. Davis reaches down, grabs the guy's collar, and helps lift him up. Needless to say, the instructors were all over him for this. They immediately realized that he clearly was not physically challenged but was faking the difficulty. This... did not go over well, and ultimately led to him quitting.

Hahaha! Like a boss!

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TobiasValbjoern

I am 5'9 and weight 165 pounds. I have strength trained for five years, the most recent year or two with a focus on functionality, and I have a very decent strength base I did my first OAC without any progression towards it, and that is why I thought that 10 reps would be possible, but I appreciate the reality checks. Maybe I am living in a fantasy world, but I thought that the increase in relative strength would be enough to take me through. But after reading your comments I have kind of figured, that I might need "some" increase in size too.

I don't want the training to come at the expense of other abilities, I will still do my strength routine with a focus on intensity, and continue the progressions for the static movements such as front planche, front lever etcetera. For those of you interested I will keep an update of the progress, and eventually throw in a video, if/when I get there.

Just to get an update on my first question, should I increase volume or intensity first? Or does it even matter?

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Coach Sommer
... should I increase volume or intensity first? ...

Always increase volume first.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

Definitely volume first. You need the OAC singles, but you also need the assisted OAC with higher volume, and you are going to want to give a little priority to the volume. I would find whatever assistance level lets you hit 5-7 reps with great form and then keep working that until you hit 10 reps. You probably won't see more than 1 extra rep every week or two with good form, but that's fine.

Personally I'd do a set of max good reps and immediately do the slowest negative possible unless the negative is less than 7-8 seconds. I certainly wouldn't bother with a negative that's less than 5s, but preferably 10-30s. This is where your best strength-endurance is probably going to come from. It's very important to get some super slow movement in there, and super slow eccentrics with a submaximal weight just don't cause that much damage. I wouldn't do more than 3 sets like that, and I'd probably do that 2x per week with some OAC singles once a week, certainly 1-2 after warm up but before the endurance sets, but once a week it's probably a good idea to do 3-8 good singles per arm, depending on how you feel and how your body responds. I would definitely start with that lower number and increase by 1 rep every week or two until you find what seems to be the best number for you.

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TobiasValbjoern

I want to thank everyone for the great responses, it has certainly been a tremendous help.

"I would find whatever assistance level lets you hit 5-7 reps with great form and then keep working that until you hit 10 reps" - How many set would you aim for when working above the 5 rep range before increasing the intensity?

Great point with the super slow negatives, I will remember to add them when I can do it in a 10-30 s range.

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Joshua Naterman
I want to thank everyone for the great responses, it has certainly been a tremendous help.

"I would find whatever assistance level lets you hit 5-7 reps with great form and then keep working that until you hit 10 reps" - How many set would you aim for when working above the 5 rep range before increasing the intensity?

Great point with the super slow negatives, I will remember to add them when I can do it in a 10-30 s range.

Don't be afraid to assist yourself with a light grip on the supporting wrist with the off hand! This is a great, great way to limit the assistance to what is absolutely necessary and still have to do a lot of stabilization. I think this will be the most rapid path to your slow negatives.

I would do 3-4 sets, but 3 sets of 10 reps should be plenty especially since you'll be doing the strength work as well. Don't want to wear yourself out.

If you've hit OAC fairly quickly then you may very well reach your goal without compromising much of anything. Bigger lats will certainly help counterbalance your lower body during planche, FL, ML, etc. They may get in the way of a Manna, but maybe you will just use paralletes instead of the floor for Manna. That way you can make them wide enough to allow passage. Of course, Dillon Zrike has enormous lats and still pressed about 80% of the way up so maybe that won't matter either.

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TobiasValbjoern

Great idea, with the assist on the support hand on the negatives, now I can begin with working the negatives immediately. I think that I will aim for 3x10 then, I do not think that I can handle any more volume with that intensity anyway.

I use paralletes for all the static holds on the floor, so that would solve the problem with the manna. By the way, what is the recommendations about the static holds, should they be perfomed on the floor, paralletes or does it even matter?

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