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Dag Friedman 10-17-2012 10:28 PM

Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
So for my 43 birthday I have set a goal for myself to do 25 strict grip pull-ups and 100 push-ups. Currently I can do about 5 strict pull-ups and around 25 push-ups. My birthday is still a long way off, August so I think my goals are very doable. Obviously the best way to improve is by doing but I would like the doing part to be as effective as possible without messing up my 3 day a week crossfit sessions. Suggestions?

Russell Pearcy 10-18-2012 12:53 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
Hi Dag
Since you have plenty of time a volume and intensity protocol would work well. Dont keep maxing out all the time as you're going to preexhaust everything so you wont get much done.
Take push ups, set a round timer or gym boss to a 30 second loop. Do 15 push ups, you may need a longer time say 45 seconds. Then repeat that for 10 rounds. The following week, add 1 push up, now 16 for each round. Etc etc.
Do the same with pull ups but you may have to tweak your times.
As opposed to now maxing out at 25 push ups, and maybe able to repeat it once more, you would have done 150 push ups over a 5-7 minute period, with small amounts of recovery.
It's a good system that works well and won't take up too much time. Just make sure your WOD that day doesn't include push ups or pull ups!
Good luck and hope this has helped.

Adam Molnar 10-18-2012 05:10 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
Keep mixing your training up. Do them sometimes just bodyweight, other day do it weighted, next time try 3xMax rep or 3xMax weighted, another day try to do the 100 push up or the 25 pull up, see how long does it take (maybe reduce them to 50/15 at the begining, but later keep the 100/25)

Additional works will help aswell, like dips, inverted rows, even abwheel will add some to your back strenght. As your body getting stronger overall , your push up/pull up numbers will increase.

These goals are not impossible, so just keep it up.

Markus Lindholm 10-18-2012 06:18 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
I'm not a very experienced crossfitter, and I consider myself a biginner, but I would strongly suggest purchasing a pull-up bar that you can use in your home, and once you've done that, just do a LOT of pull-ups. At first I did 5 sets of 4 every day for a week, strict pull-ups (your max reps / 2). Then each week add 1 rep. Also do the 5 sets ant any time of the day. At first I did this for about a month, after which I pretty much lost count and just did sets of pull-ups pretty much on 5-10 occasions during the day (short sets, not until muscle failure). I went from 8 reps to 22 in a few months doing this, so I definately recommend it.

And do this regardless of wether or not you have pull-ups in metcons, weighted pull-ups as strength training

Hope that helps :)

Jose Soriano 10-18-2012 12:24 PM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
I went to a military highschool as a chubby butterball with a big mouth and after having to drop and do pushups every 15 minutes I got really good at them really quick.

I've never seen pushups as the kind of exercise where you needed like 3 days of rest, a protein shake, and a trainer to get through; just a very loud and scary drill sergeant + the will to continue living.

Maybe kids recover faster, but even today (29 years old and fat again) I find that if you wanna get better at pushups.... do more pushups.

Do some now, like 20 to start, then go back to whatever you were doing, then the next time you remember do 20 more. Or have a friend text you randomly throughout the day telling you to do pushups.

Doing 100 in one sitting is kinda tough and will probably burn like heck later, but adding 1 more to your set every couple hourse probably won't kill you.

Seriously, I was on the floor back to back on most days doing pushups for one thing or another to the point where I would get bored and ask to do handstand pushups to mix it up.

Pullups I have no idea, but it seems like the best way to do them is overhand grip. Width doesn't change anything very much, but overhand involves the lats and whatnot while still working the biceps the same amount.

So I think I'm with Markus on this. Just keep doing them without hurting yourself. Maybe there's a more super optimized routine, but form and repitition seem to do the trick. Something about practice making perfect comes to mind lol

Dag Friedman 10-18-2012 05:32 PM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
Thanks a lot guys, really good stuff. I think I'm going to do the every 45 second thing for ten minutes. That would be something easy to do on my off days.

Larry Bruce 10-18-2012 08:02 PM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
I generally find that goals like these last a few weeks and then drop by the wayside.

Just saying, so prove me wrong.

Joey Shishineh 10-19-2012 08:07 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
what is your approximate bf%? I think a great way to improve upon any gymnastic movement is to get rid of dead weight...

Russell Pearcy 10-19-2012 08:31 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
[QUOTE=Joey Shishineh;1102076]what is your approximate bf%? I think a great way to improve upon any gymnastic movement is to get rid of dead weight...[/QUOTE]

Good point. If you're carry a higher body fat %, its gonna be tough.

But good luck though, hope the routine works for you. Be consistent.

Clint Harris 10-19-2012 11:36 AM

Re: Best way to increase pull-ups/ push-ups
I have to agree a little bit with Larry here - at least that's been the case for me with some of these 100 rep bodyweight goals. They just get a bit boring.
Like Jose said, most of us who go through the military can usually knock out 20 push-ups at anytime in lightening pace - but I have no idea how that translates to 100 reps though. It's a good idea to have that internal drill instructor - it's kind of like "grease the groove". 100 reps could be a mental thing too. I'd imagine it like running, I can and could run 10 miles with no real physical problem ... but I tend to tap out mentally at about 5 and so don't enjoy it enough to do that longer run. So I keep it to the "get in get out" range of 3-6 miles only. Zero desire to do a half marathon etc too - they can keep the t-shirt. I digress.

I'm in a clean eating challenge and one of our goals was to increase strict pull-ups. So I've done some searching etc on this. I came across this which seemed pretty interesting.
[url][/url] (wfs)
I don't buy into the hype, but I liked the varying schemes -- because other things like "100 push-ups" or "50 pull-ups" just look like a dull slog to complete -- I started in month 2 just because of the timeline in the challenge and where I'm at, but if I had 3 months, I'd certainly start at the beginning and fight Larry's predictions just to prove him wrong :)
I also took a leaf out of Carl Paoli's "gymnastics wod" and are emphasizing good form pull-ups and not going to failure over and over. Any rep I do I lower my self down under control and make sure my arms, lats, shoulders and body are all good before coming off the bar - rather than up and drop half way down for one (or last). I think this is going to be key when I test my next max rep set in a few weeks.

In addition to that (I do my pull-ups fresh too), and dropping body weight (down 7# so far), I'm also doing some burn out type sets of strict press and bench press. There's a couple of reasons why here, because there's other goals of the challenge, but my thought here is that doing this I'll increase upper body endurance and strength which should help pull-ups and the other stuff too. I do 5x10@50% of both, press then bench, then increase by 2.5# every day I do this (just 2-3 times a week after wod). I also superset the bench with ring rows to get a pull in there and a different pull than "pull-ups".
This is all a short term goal so I will be able to keep this up ..... and there's some money on the line too which will help with motivation.

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