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Author Topic: Pullups: from a full hang or constant tension?  (Read 1115 times)
TrapsMcLats
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« on: February 19, 2012, 11:38:06 AM »

Pullups are my worst lift.  I have a fairly strong back for rows and deads, but (medium width grips for discussion) pullups are just hard for me. Once I get warmed up, I can do about 8-10 from a full hang for the first set, 5-7 on the second set, 3-4 on the 3rd set, 2-3 on the 4th set.  Some guys have told me "hey man, you weigh over 200 lbs, don't beat yourself up over it..."  I, personally, think that is bullshit.  Sure, it might mean that I'm not going to be exceptional at it, but I want to do better.  I'm just curious what some of y'all think about doing the pullups from a full hang vs constant tension, ie, not going down all the way. From a full hang is definitely harder, that is for sure, but is it necessarily more effective? pullups don't have a lockout point like bench, squats, or deads, so it's harder to gauge "progress."  Any thoughts would be appreciated. Peace.
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Montague
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2012, 12:00:32 PM »

This is just my opinion:
Going to the full stretch position will ensure every rep is the same, which will enable you to accurately gauge progress in the exercise - provided you pull yourself UP to the same level each time.
And, even in that stretched position, there is still tension on the lats. Unlike many movements, the pull-up and its variations do not have a point of reduced effort on the target muscle, so there is a constant TUT no matter how far you lower yourself from the bar.

That being said, I donít see a problem incorporating partials to extend your last set or two. Or, you may wish to perform partials exclusively at times, in a manner similar to how PLíers use board presses and lock-outs to develop BP strength. 


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Yev33
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 12:36:15 PM »

You should keep some tension on the muscle and not let your elbows completely lock out. When your elbows lock out on pull ups your shoulders get out of position and you lose that "power groove".

I have to disagree with Montague on extending sets and doing partials.  Pulling and rowing movements are very different from presses, there is a more constant progressive tension curve. Where as on presses you can have sticking points where the chest/shoulders/triceps are doing different percentage of the work throughout the movement.

If you want to get better at pullups, here is something you can try. 
See how many you can do for one max set. Lets say its 8.

Fist workout do 8 + 50%. Which is 12. So do 12 reps total focused between 3 even sets. Like 4,4,4.  

Next workout do 8+100%. Which is 16. This time do four sets totaling 16 reps, 4,4,4,4.

Next workout go for an all out set and see how many you can get. And restart the process with your new max set number.


 
By the time you can do 15 in one set you can start adding weight to them.
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WOOO
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 01:14:02 PM »

This is just my opinion:
Going to the full stretch position will ensure every rep is the same, which will enable you to accurately gauge progress in the exercise - provided you pull yourself UP to the same level each time.
And, even in that stretched position, there is still tension on the lats. Unlike many movements, the pull-up and its variations do not have a point of reduced effort on the target muscle, so there is a constant TUT no matter how far you lower yourself from the bar.

That being said, I donít see a problem incorporating partials to extend your last set or two. Or, you may wish to perform partials exclusively at times, in a manner similar to how PLíers use board presses and lock-outs to develop BP strength. 

this is good advice...
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Montague
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 01:19:24 PM »

this is good advice...



Thanks!
I think Yev brings up some good points, too.
Traps has now got some different views, opinions, and advice to think over and decide on trying.

And if one method doesn't work so hot, he can give the other(s) a go.

I will add that I always go to full stretch on all pull-up/chin variations. Like most things in training, it may not be for everyone, but it's never caused me any problems, and I got more favorable results in terms of strength and growth once I began regularly employing this technique.
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WOOO
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 01:20:22 PM »


Thanks!
I think Yev brings up some good points, too.
Traps has now got some different views, opinions, and advice to think over and decide on trying.

And if one method doesn't work so hot, he can give the other(s) a go.

I will add that I always go to full stretch on all pull-up/chin variations. Like most things in training, it may not be for everyone, but it's never caused me any problems, and I got more favorable results in terms of strength and growth once I began regularly employing this technique.


Yev33 did post legit video doing pretty heavy pullups... his advice is coming from experience
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Straw Man
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 01:35:32 PM »

I prefer full hang and try to hold at the top for a second or two

on my last rep I come down about halfway and try to go up and hold again and then as slow a negative as possible
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Yev33
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2012, 07:11:02 PM »

I guess it also depends on what kind of ROM is considered constant tension. I was reffering to not locking out the elbows and maintaining a slight bent at the bottom to prevent the shoulders from getting out of position. You will never get a full stretch of the lats hanging vertically from the bar, thats what pullovers are for.
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wes
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 08:52:49 AM »

I always do full reps until I no longer can,then I`ll throw in some 1/2 reps to extend the set,then just hang for a while for the stretch.
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oni
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 07:28:50 PM »

I am only 70kg @ 5'10 so take what I say with a pinch of salt.. lol
I took my pull-ups from 10 reps to 6 reps with 30kg of weight added in about 6 months by adding weight
I started off by adding 5kg and doing some reps and I made about 7 reps (I was 65kg at the time) and this put my estimated 1RM at 84kg
I then made a spreadsheet for Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 where I entered my weight for the day and my 1RM of 84kg and it calculated a 5/3/1 cycle for me (starting at 90%)
All percentages below my bodyweight were done on the lat pulldown machine
My estimated 1RM is now 116kg / 255lb and 100kg / 225 for 6 reps at 70kg bodyweight
I go down to full depth on every rep to get a stretch but don't pause. My forearms, biceps and lats have all thickened up nicely gaining 5kg in weight while doing this

One thing I'm going to try now is rest/pausing the last working set of the 5 & 3 weeks just to get a bit more volume. Oh and I sped up the progression a bit by increasing my 1RM by 1.25kg for every rep over 1 that I got on the last week, so if I got 5 reps I would increase 1RM by 5kg, if I got 2 reps I'd increase by 1.25kg and so on

Hope this helps, with any lift trying to increase reps with one weight is hard as fuck but if you add weight and do less reps for a while you will get better at the previous weight very fast, same applies with pull-ups!
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