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  1. #1
    Registered User zkm1223's Avatar
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    Weighted Pull ups - when to start?

    Hi,

    I have just started working out recently a few months ago. Initially I couldn't do any pull ups. Now I can do 8 clean pull ups in my first set, 6 pulls ups in the second set and around 5 in the 3rd set.

    I'm not sure when I'm supposed to add weight to the pull ups? Do I add weight once I can do 8 reps in the first set(i.e. now) or once I can do 8 clean pull ups in all 3 sets?

    TIA
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  2. #2
    Above average Junsuiakai's Avatar
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    I would start adding weight when you can at least do a few sets of 8-10 with GOOD form. There is the big caveat.
    FS/ S/ OHP/ B/ DL
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    I don't go to the gym anymore so above stats are useless.

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  3. #3
    Registered User zkm1223's Avatar
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    Thanks for your reply. I've read this online but I've also read that once you can do 8-10 reps on the first set with any exercise with good form, you should increase the weight for progressive overload. Sets 2,3,4 etc the muscles are not fresh so you can either lower the weight or decrease the reps. My goal is to increase muscle size and strength.

    That's why I'm really confused, should I do do 3 sets of 8 bodyweight pull ups or start increasing the weight now that I can do my first set with 8 reps?
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zkm1223 View Post
    That's why I'm really confused
    Either will work. Don't overthink.
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  5. #5
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    There is no exact science to this. The main thing is to overload. For now you can do that by adding reps to each set every time you train them.
    e.g.
    day1: 8,6,5
    day2: 8,7,6
    day3: 9,7,7 etc.

    Sometimes you deliberately leave a rep or two in reserve in the earlier sets - to backfill the later sets.

    Add a weight increment when you get to say 998 or more - only add 2.5kg

    Make sure you are starting from almost a deadhang and get your chin over the bar in every rep. Form improvements can also be a kind of progressive overload.
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    Registered User zkm1223's Avatar
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    ok, thanks for your advice.

    When I do get to the stage of adding weighting, how often should I increase the weight? Is it when I can do 9,9,8 with 2.5kg, then increase the weight to 5kg and wait again until I can do 9,8,8?
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Yes you can do that.

    What's I'm getting my son to do which has been very successful so far is this: Use a weight 3x, if you manage to increase total number of reps every time then increase the weight. The first time you use a new weight, deliberately keep 1-2 reps in reserve in every set.

    Your reps will probably decrease over time as the weight gets heavier. When you find you are doing sets of 5 or less then reset the weigh back down to something you can achieve 10-12 with.
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    Originally Posted by Junsuiakai View Post
    I would start adding weight when you can at least do a few sets of 8-10 with GOOD form. There is the big caveat.
    roughly this ^

    I caved and got a cheap dip belt because I was at sets of 12 underhand.
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    Originally Posted by zkm1223 View Post
    ok, thanks for your advice.

    When I do get to the stage of adding weighting, how often should I increase the weight? Is it when I can do 9,9,8 with 2.5kg, then increase the weight to 5kg and wait again until I can do 9,8,8?
    This is the same essential question that you began with. The same answers apply.
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  10. #10
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Though my form has improved substantially on pronated and supinated pulls across each other, my neutral grip when I look back has always involved the same strength cues I generally use for pulling now. So I'm glad I chose to do weighted with that variation instead of with pronated.

    If you have a grip variation that you feel comes more naturally to yourself, then that might be a good idea.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Casca's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    Though my form has improved substantially on pronated and supinated pulls across each other, my neutral grip when I look back has always involved the same strength cues I generally use for pulling now. So I'm glad I chose to do weighted with that variation instead of with pronated.

    If you have a grip variation that you feel comes more naturally to yourself, then that might be a good idea.

    I get golfers elbow pain when I do pronated or supinated. I always do neutral or freely rotating. If you only have a straight bar, can also get an attachment that allows your arms to turn however it needs.

    This is what I have
    https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Handles...%2C225&sr=8-21

    But I see they also have more options now. When I got mine, there was only one other choice.
    https://www.amazon.com/Spiido-Upgrad...25&sr=8-3&th=1

    edit: ended up buying Angles 90 (made in Italy). The one I linked above is a copycat of it (of course China). It looks the same, but read two reviews that had both and said Angles 90 is a little heavier and more comfortable to use. They both claim 400lbs per side, but I trust the one made in Italy to actually be true over the one made in China.

    https://www.amazon.com/Angles90-Fitn...0238133&sr=8-1
    Last edited by Casca; 09-15-2020 at 11:43 PM.
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  12. #12
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Casca View Post
    I get golfers elbow pain when I do pronated or supinated. I always do neutral or freely rotating. If you only have a straight bar, can also get an attachment that allows your arms to turn however it needs.

    This is what I have
    https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Handles...%2C225&sr=8-21

    But I see they also have more options now. When I got mine, there was only one other choice.
    https://www.amazon.com/Spiido-Upgrad...25&sr=8-3&th=1

    edit: ended up buying Angles 90 (made in Italy). The one I linked above is a copycat of it (of course China). It looks the same, but read two reviews that had both and said Angles 90 is a little heavier and more comfortable to use. They both claim 400lbs per side, but I trust the one made in Italy to actually be true over the one made in China.

    https://www.amazon.com/Angles90-Fitn...0238133&sr=8-1
    Yeah those are great. If you do learn to do straight pullups with them then your back coordination will be pretty articulate.
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  13. #13
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    I'll add weight whenever I feel like my set is taking too long, as far as repetitions go. I go to failure on every set, so the weight doesn't mean anything to me.. However, if I reach a point where i'm doing too many reps cause i'm not being challenged enough, I need more resistance added on so I don't get bored. Not too much, i'll test the waters with small increments until I find what allows me to finish a set with good form. With pullups or chinups, I find it really doesn't take much added on because it's already a tough exercise as it is. Like even if I don't use additional weight, I still get a lot out of it. Interestingly enough, with the chin-up I noticed on an emg report(and yes, i'm aware this isn't the end all be all reference for things) that it has insane differences in what it activates, which was at quite high levels each. Using less weight seemed to bring in more abdominals, and using more seemed to prioritize bicep use.
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  14. #14
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    I went from not being able to do a single pullup, to eventually being able to do 14. At that point I started doing them weighted.

    However during my bulk my weight went up and the number of pull-ups I could do went down. There was also lockdown, so periods of using different thickness bars in different places and other changes to my routine. Also, I think my form has improved with the bar coming to my shoulders or upper chest with each rep, whereas before I'd only get the bar to eye level.

    So personally I don't plan on doing them weighted again for a while - I'd prefer to continue working on my form and attempt to get higher reps. In fact I now do 4 or 5 sets and then do a couple of sets of assisted pullups. I feel the assisted ones in my lats more than the unassisted ones.
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