Weighted Pull-Up Training

  • Creator
  • #29294

    Hello *,
    I have a question regarding weighted pull-up training. I do this mainly to increase my upper body strength for rock climbing and ice/mixed climbing.

    I started ~12.18. But then there was Christmas, etc. So I started seriously with this type of training in January. When I look back at my training logs I see that in the beginning I was “roughly” (now I know why I should keep precise training logs!) able to do 3 pull-ups with 15kg extra weight. In April/May I was able to do 2 pull-ups with 25kg. Up to the point somewhere in June/July where I was able to 2 pull-ups with 30kg extra weight. But from there on I didn’t manage to progress much. I only go to the Gym once a week and do max. strength exercises (e.g. dead lifts, pull-ups, bench-press, etc.). For the weighted pull-ups, I started with the progression described in the TftnA book, but then adapted it. Now, when I was able to do 3 pull-ups with my current max. weight, next time I would add 5kg to this. I do 2-3 warm-up sets with less weight, and then 2 sets of max weight and then one set with the new max weight (e.g. my sequence looked something like: 4x bodyweidth / 6x +5kg / 6x +10kg / (opt: 4x +15kg) / 3x +20kg / 3x 2x +20kg / 1x +25kg).
    But since some time (~1.5 month), I’m stuck with a max weight of ~25-30kg (depending on the day).

    And I was wondering why. I recently read, that in the beginning the gains are mainly from neurological adaption, and actual “strength” gains (in terms of additional muscle fibers) happens much slower (from the Andersons Book). But it didn’t detail what “fast” and “slow” actually means. Are we talking about weeks? month? years? Or should I change my training regime? Or am I just too inpatient?

    Thank you for the help!

  • Participant
    David Thompson on #29363

    Hi there,

    It is generally not a good idea to try to work so close to your 1 rep max consistently. Testing your max every 6-8 weeks is a good rule of thumb. Here are a some things you could try:

    You may want to add band assistance to your low rep ranges.

    Perform eccentric-only (i.e. the lowering phase of the pull-up) with greater than 1 RM loads.

    Do 3-7 sets of 2 with your 3 RM.

    Do a 3 rep pyramid.

    Find a weight where you could perform 3 sets of 6-7 reps and add that to your program on days when you’re not doing higher intensity.

    The nervous system thrives on variety.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.

    death.jester on #29631

    Hello David,
    Sorry I’m responding a little late, I was away. But, thanks for your reply! That helps. Then I will try to vary my workouts more and see how it goes. Thanks again for your reply.

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