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Hiro Protagonist
6/21/2009 4:55pm,
Hi all,

So, I am regularly exercising this routine:

5x7 squats

5x7 pull-ups

5x7 weighted dips

Now, even after roughly six months of training this one and off,

I feel that I am not advancing at all with the pull-ups,
while I am observing nice progression with the other exercises.
(Means, they are still very demanding, I have trouble keeping them formally correct, and so on.)

Should I maybe try another exercise, to build the muscles I need,
so can return to pull-ups later on? - Or should I stick to the pull-ups
until I either break my shoulders or progress somehow?

Appreciating your input,

Rafe

Meson
6/21/2009 5:09pm,
Some questions:
-If you were just repping out, how many pullups can you get?
-What is you 1RM/3RM etc. (this requires adding weight)
-Where do you fatigue first doing pullups (grip, arms, lats etc.)

Also, why are you doing pullups? (Do you want to get more reps/stronger, etc.) Either way, don't stop doing pullups.

BaronVonDingDong
6/21/2009 5:40pm,
CrossFit is crazy for pull ups, and as a result has plenty of advice on how to progress towards a full range of motion. There are a variety of ways to practice progressions, from using a Gravitron machine (that gym machine with the counterweights that you either kneel or stand on), to using resistance bands, doing kneeling pull ups, or "jumping" pull ups (where you jump up to the bar and lower yourself down slowly).

Give yourself a break and try some of those for a while and see how it goes. I'm still at a very early stage myself, but in 8 weeks have gone from no pull ups at all to 5 unbroken reps by using jumping pull ups.

Good luck.

TheRuss
6/21/2009 5:45pm,
(Means, they are still very demanding, I have trouble keeping them formally correct, and so on.)

You're talking about pull-ups here?

Hiro Protagonist
6/21/2009 6:07pm,
You're talking about pull-ups here?
http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/4674083/browncatpullups_Full.jpg

Pull-ups, yeah.:-)

Hiro Protagonist
6/21/2009 6:29pm,
BTW, thanks a lot for the other answers.

Tired as hell right now, will answer tomorrow morning.

TheRuss
6/21/2009 7:21pm,
5x7 pull-ups

Okay, so you can successfully do... five sets of seven unweighted pull-ups?

How many can you do in a row?
Have you tried adding weight, changing sets/rest periods, etc.?

Hiro Protagonist
6/22/2009 2:18am,
Okay, so you can successfully do... five sets of seven unweighted pull-ups?

How many can you do in a row?
Have you tried adding weight, changing sets/rest periods, etc.?

Yeah, but the point that I am not progressing at all with this.
I started with 7 pull-ups about six months ago, and I am still at seven pull-ups.
Additionally, my problem is that I feel my joints after the exercise,
but not my muscles.

To answer your question, I have not tried to add weight,
but have tried different sets and resting periods, of course.


Some questions:
-If you were just repping out, how many pullups can you get?

Never more than ten.



-What is you 1RM/3RM etc. (this requires adding weight)

No idea what that is, sorry.



-Where do you fatigue first doing pullups (grip, arms, lats etc.)

Shoulder joints.



Also, why are you doing pullups?

Yeah, I am training for strength.


Gravitron machine (that gym machine with the counterweights that you either kneel or stand on)

Tried that, but actually resulted almost harder, because balancing on the machine is actually quite difficult.



Give yourself a break and try some of those for a while and see how it goes. I'm still at a very early stage myself, but in 8 weeks have gone from no pull ups at all to 5 unbroken reps by using jumping pull ups.


Yeah, looks like I will do that, but since I don't want to break the training concept, I'd rather have one of our pros here recommend me one than choosing it myself.

kwoww
6/22/2009 11:35am,
If you feel your joints and not your muscles, maybe it's because you're doing the pull-ups in such a way that you're not really exercising your muscles fully.

That is, take a look at your form. Adjust the width of your grip (although if you're doing them in your doorframe or something this might be difficult) and test out both underhand and overhand grips. And check this great technique guide that I jacked from Stronglifts (http://stronglifts.com/how-to-do-pull-ups-and-chin-ups-with-proper-technique/):

Pull-up & Chin-up Technique. Start each rep from a dead hang with straight elbows. Clear the bar with your chin on every rep.


Squeeze The Bar. And put the bar close to your fingers, not in the palm of your hand. It minimize callus formation.
Breathe at The Bottom. It’s easier to breathe at the bottom. Take a big breath before pulling yourself up.
Chest Up. Don’t let your shoulders go forward: it’s unhealthy for your shoulders. Lead with your chest up & keep your shoulders back.
Look Up. Never look down during Pull-ups & Chin-ups. Look at the bar. Look where you’re pulling yourself up to.
Elbows to The Floor. Drive with your elbows to the floor. This involves your stronger back muscles more.
Bend Your Legs. And cross your feet. Letting your legs hang means less strength in my experience. Squeeze your glutes on the way up.


Common Errors. Most common error on Pull-ups & Chin-ups is cheating the range of motion by not going low or high enough on each rep.


Not Straightening the Arms. Start from a dead hang with straight elbows, like on the picture above. No partial Pull-ups/Chin-ups.
Shoulders Going Forward. It’s bad posture & bad technique. Lead with your chest up while driving your elbows to the floor.
Using The Hips. Keep your legs inline with your torso, unless you’re doing Kipping Pull-ups.
Chin Over Bar. Nose or forehead against the bar is a partial Pull-up/Chin-up. Chin over bar unless you’re not strong enough yet.


If it's still not working out for you, maybe you should look into using the two parallel bars that point out at you... I can't really describe them, but they usually stick out of pull-up bars in gyms and stuff.

edit: if it's your shoulders, you're DEFINITELY doing them wrong.

CoffeeFan
6/22/2009 11:39am,
When you say shoulder joints, do you mean you get pain in the actual joint or the muscles in your shoulders fatigue first?

If it's the muscles it's possible you may have a muscular weakness or imbalances with your posterior deltoid, rotor cuff, or teres major that are causing you to fatigue early. If it's a pain in the joint (and you've had it for several months) then you might want to get that assessed by someone, just to make sure you don't have any damage to the joint or the associated structures.

Have you ever had a flexibility assessment done on your shoulders? Sometimes inflexibility or muscle tightness can cause problems with chin ups

edit: Also have someone check your form

Dempsy Roll
6/22/2009 3:21pm,
Have you talked to your doctor about the shoulder pain? Or specifically, have you talked to a sports-medicine doctor? You might've injured it at some point, and that's what's causing the pain. Or your form might just suck. Make sure you keep your shoulders set throughout the whole motion.

If it's neither of those things, just try changing things up and upping the intensity. Bent rows, isometric holds, weighted pullups, plyo pullups, chinups, side-to-side, slow pullups, ect. All the usual things you do to break through a plateau.

Kintanon
6/22/2009 3:27pm,
you could also try "greasing the groove" with pullups. If you have a pullup bar at your house then make it a point to do 1-2 pullups every time you walk near it throughout the evening/day whatever. You'll end up doing 50-60+ pullups every day, but only a few at a time. Try that for a couple of weeks and see how it works.

TheRuss
6/22/2009 5:24pm,
First, correct your form. I can't give you any help with that - I'm not exactly a chin-up pro myself.
Second, if it hurts your shoulders to do chin-ups with proper form, see a physiotherapist or other sports medicine professional and get that resolved.
Third, once you're satisfied that there's nothing health-wise that should prevent you from doing chin-ups, start applying the principle of progressive resistance. I don't know what kind of program you're doing, but doing the same sets, reps and load over and over doesn't make any sense to me.

Greasing the groove should work too, but do the above first.

winnersguard
6/22/2009 10:45pm,
Chest Up. Donít let your shoulders go forward: itís unhealthy for your shoulders. Lead with your chest up & keep your shoulders back.
Look Up. Never look down during Pull-ups & Chin-ups. Look at the bar. Look where youíre pulling yourself up to.



My right shoulder has a bad rotator cuff, and after starting Stronglifts these two points made all the difference for me.

jspeedy
6/22/2009 11:22pm,
NOt an expert here but I do a lot of pull ups. I switch up the pull up variation every 2 weeks. Ex. weeks 1 and 2 wide grip pull ups weeks 3 and 4 close grip chin ups. Negatives usually help with progress. The whole jump up(chin above bar) and slowly lower yourself all the way thing someone already mentioned earlier. Negatives really suck because they wear you out but they help with progress. I also balance pullups out with pushups of different variations.

Check with someone else (maybe a doctor or fitness expert) first, but maybe you need to do some shoulder weight lifting exercises to isolate and develope your shoulders more. Muscle imbalances will F you up when it comes to bodyweight exercises.

Meson
6/23/2009 7:41am,
1RM/3RM = 1 rep max/3 rep max.

To echo everyone else, if it is a joint issue, then your form might be off. One common culprit is not shrugging the scapular down. How is your posture normally? (If you have winged scapula, the pullup problem could be symptomatic of other issues that need to be fixed first).