Cannot do a pull up

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  • #7946

    Hello Scott: I have been doing the Core and strength routines. I am still not able to do a single pull up. I am following the special pull-up program (p. 228) for that but since I cannot do one I am wondering how to improve. I have seen a slight improvement but it has been 2 months of twice a week for the strength and core routine. I thought that in the book it told you how to go from not being able to do one to being able to do one and on the site in the forums there was a comment to that effect but I cannot find it in the book. So far I have simply being doing as much as I can and then assisting with a milk crate for my feet once I start to fail. I am careful to minimize the involvement of the legs on the crate and I do lower slowly for 5 seconds.

    Can you give me any tips on these two points?

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    Anonymous on #7954

    Yours it a common problem because the pull up can really only be trained for by doing……pull ups. Using a lat machine can help a bit but it isolates the shoulders and I have not seen great luck in using them. The best method I have found for going from zero to one is the isometric hold method.

    Get your chin above the bar anyway you can. Then fully weighted hold that top position for a count of at least 2 seconds then drop to the floor. Rest 1 minute and repeat til you can’t hold at all. Once you can hold for a count of 5 then use a lower iso-hold position: eyes even with bar and repeat the progressively longer count till you can hold for 5. Once there the use a lower position with elbows at 90 degrees and repeat same protocol.

    No telkling how long this will take. Sorry. But I have seen it work well for those who can’t do one. Factors that play a role in the pull ups:
    1) Body weight. This is the biggest factor.
    2) Humerus bone length. Affects leverage. Short arms are better
    3) Age. Adaptations are slower for older.

    mtnscape1 on #7958

    Thank you for the speedy reply Scott. I have longer than average arms, am 52 and weigh 215 lbs. I guess I will be in for the long haul. On the other hand I can hold any of those iso-hold positions for 5 seconds so maybe I am closer than I think. When dropping to the floor is that via a controlled lower of 5 seconds or just get down?

    Anonymous on #7983

    Another thing that may help is doing full-range pull-ups while using resistance bands.

    A lot of gyms have a selection of resistance bands in different strengths. If you girth hitch the band to the pull-up bar, you can then put one foot inside the loop of the band, cross your second leg over the first, and sort of stand in the band. It’ll take some weight off of your arms.

    Over time, you can use weaker and weaker bands which will transfer more of the weight onto your arms and torso.

    mtnscape1 on #8060

    Thanks for the suggestion Scott. I have tried that and it does help.
    On a bit of different note I can do a pull-up with my hands rotated 90 degrees from the pull-up position. It seems strange the in the pull-up position I an so weak in comparison.

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