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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-04-2007, 03:42 PM   #1
Brandon Oto
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Anyone noticed something like this?

My 1RM for weighted pullups is 100lb, maybe even a titch more. However, the weight I can pull for multiple reps -- say, sets of three or five -- is so tremendously less that it's bizarre. For instance, I've been doing 6 sets of 6 (this is from the PM mass building program, you may recognize), and while the recommended weight is 60 pounds, the most I've been able to do complete, unbroken sets with is... like 20 pounds.

Not a problem I've had with other exercises. Anyone encountered this?
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:56 PM   #2
Steven Low
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You probably have a combination of:

1. A high amount of fast twitch fibers. They're good for a few reps at high weight before fatiguing enough that you get winded fast even at 6 reps.

2. A large amount of asynchronus fiber firing. Working heavy weight makes fibers fire synchronusly helps a lot with lifting heavy weight.

3. Rate coding might be abnormally fast with your fibers... the faster they fire the more weight you can lift. Large muscles usually start to go to rate coding to lift more weight at approximately 85-90% of 1 RM (e.g. near your 3 RM).

I'm sure there's a couple more but that's all I can recall off the top of my head.

That big of a drop is indeed odd though... you say it's only on this exercise? How long have you been workign at this exercise? Any experience with GTG with it? Etc.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:02 PM   #3
Beau Bryant
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I can do 110# for a single pullup but drop to around 60# for a triple, 45-50# x 5. Not quite as dramatic as Brandon but still a significant drop. Not sure if this is closer to what it should be???
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:08 PM   #4
Brandon Oto
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I first noticed the phenomenon when we had that "Heavy Fran" a while ago; IIRC it was 50lb pullups and while I thought "hey, no problem," it turned out that I couldn't even finish a set. Three or four were the most I could gut out. (That workout proved to be so difficult I couldn't even pretend to do it... it was a rare case of, "forget it, this is unreasonable.")

I think most of the time, at most weights, I can pull off one or two reps, maybe three, but then it goes downhill. In multiple sets the problem compounds; in the aforementioned 6 sets of 6, the problem is not so much getting through the first 6 reps (though I don't think I can do that with more than, say, forty pounds), it's the subsequent sets, when I end up doing them in twos or such.

Actually, a brief rest (and perhaps a grip change) often allows another rep or two -- and I mean brief, as in just touching down and shaking out for a couple seconds. It's the uninterrupted chain of reps without unloading that seems to particularly break me down.

Haven't tried GTG or really anything to remedy this, since I noticed it fairly recently... and wasn't really sure how to diagnose it, or if it was a problem at all. (After all, if you have a high 1RM and a good unweighted max reps, what do you call a problem that's "between" those? A center-of-the-bell-curve deficiency?)

Haven't noticed it with anything else, but to be fair I haven't done a lot of experimenting with my maxes at different set sizes. Weighted pullups are a very obvious thing; you generally can either get there or you can't.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:29 PM   #5
Patrick Donnelly
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When you do a weighted pull-up, your not doing 100# 1RM. You're going a BW+100# 1RM. Your 5RM is BW+20#. The gap doesn't seem that large now, does it?
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:42 PM   #6
Brandon Oto
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That's... still eighty pounds no matter how you add it.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:31 PM   #7
Veronica Carpenter
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Found this interesting (WFS):

http://drsquat.com/articles/trainingsplit.html
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:10 PM   #8
Peter Dell'Orto
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It's still 80#, but it's not as big of a percentage. If I can one-rep 100# shoulder presses but I can only manage 6 reps for 20#, that's a huge discrepancy.

If I can do bw+100# (I can't yet) for 1 rep maximum and bw+20# for 6 reps maximum, that's about 280# 1RM and 200# 6 rep max. Low, but not as huge a gap as that 5x multiple 20 vs 100 looks like. Of course, that's assuming you can only do 6 reps...6x6 probably means you aren't nearly total failure after 6 reps.

There is a calculator for determining 1RM from your other reps, but it's a guideline, not a hard-and-fast rule. Some people seem to maintain larger gaps or smaller gaps between their 10RM and 1RM and so on.
http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:15 AM   #9
Skylar Cook
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Regardless of the percentage, that's a large differnce. I max at around 60-70 (maybe closer to 80, now), and can do sets of 6+ at 35, "no sweat" (comparatively). Have you been training weighted PU sets long? Have you ever done any sport requiring lots of arm-endurance (e.g. climbing)?

If it's just PUs, it's likely a combo of the muscle fibers Steven mentioned, and possibly your training. If you notice it with a couple other lifts, something may be messed up (or, you have some SERIOUS fast-twitch fiber).
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Old 07-05-2007, 02:16 PM   #10
Brandon Oto
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Pullups are a strong suit... they improved well since I started CF, and even before what, when I was doing "nothing special" for exercise for a long time, I still did pullups regularly. No weight though. Not a climber... only ongoing sport is fencing.

Before this program the only weighted pullups I did were when they came up in a WoD. I did well, but that was always a 1RM, or maybe sets of 3 at the most. In short, I haven't really trained this; whatever weird deficiency is here is presumably natural. Veronica's article was interesting; perhaps I have a propensity for fast gains at my 1RM, but because my actual training of the motion (at weight) is minimal I haven't had much improvement at sub-max.
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