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Pull-ups: Getting over the Big 20
Picture of a Marine doing pull-ups ood day from Semper Fitness. I recently received some very interesting feedback from another motivator. His question concerned the recent switch from pull-ups with a kip, to deadhang pull-ups. He wanted to know how to get his pull-ups back up to the twenty (20) he was doing before the switch. I'm sure there are quite a few Marines out there who can relate to this dilemma. This question was so important that I had to stop writing my next article to address it. So let's get busy with the scoop.

First of all, the major muscles that help us do pull-ups are the back and biceps. Your back is used more when you do palms outboard and your biceps are used more when your palms face inboard. Either way, here's a surefire way to up those point-crucial pull-ups.

An important piece of equipment that you might want to buy , if your gym doesn't have one, is a dip belt. It looks like a weight lifting belt with a long chain attached to it. What you need to do is attach some extra weight to the dip belt, depending on how many pull-ups you can do without weight. If you're doing between 10 and 20 deadhangs, use 15-30lbs. If you are doing less than 10, use 5-15lbs. When you get to the gym, first do a little stretching, then do one slow warm up set of five (5) pull-ups with no weight. Take a short rest. Add some weight to your belt and do a maximum set of pull-ups until total failure. Try to do between 7 and 13 repetitions (reps). Take a few minutes to rest. For your third set, add some more weight to your dip belt (10-20lbs more). Do a max set with this weight, until failure. Try to do between 3 and 7 reps, then take a nice long rest (3-5 minutes).

Finally, do one maximum set of Marine Corps pull-ups with no weight hanging from you to total failure. This should get plenty of blood going through your back (lats). After you've finished with the pull-ups, move over to the lat pull-down machine. Use the grip you prefer using when you do your pull-ups. Do three sets of lat pull-downs, using the one warm-up (10 reps), two heavy sets (5-10 reps, total failure) method. Ensure that your back stays arched in the fashion of sticking your chest out to meet the bar on the way down. This should have your pull-ups back up to twenty in no time.

I started using this method before the change went into effect. I now do a warm-up of ten, 17 pull-ups with a 45lb plate hanging from me, 7 pull-ups with two 45lb plates hanging from me, and then a max set of 25-32 deadhangs after that.

This workout has helped me and several of my Marine buddies. Hopefully, it can help you also. I hope this info helps you out, Roger. Once again, stay motivated. Stay pumped. Semper Fidelis and OO-RAH!

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