"Ask the Coach" is a new column in which Wolfgang Unsöld answers your questions.
Question: "Do you have any other tips for me on how to overcome a pull-up plateau? I've been stuck with 6 reps for 6 sets for a long time. Maltodextrin is gone because I'm not under 10% body fat yet.” Thomas Wolfzettel
WU: The pull-up is a neurological abnormality. If you have to grind a rep, ie do the concentric rep slower than planned due to fatigue, then the next set will be more fatigued than normal and most of the time the exercise will stop. That's why it's difficult to increase with high repetitions, especially with pull-ups. You can improve your pull-up performance much more efficiently with fewer repetitions and more additional weight. Regular rotation of the different pull-up variants is also important.
Here is a sample plan for 12 weeks that you can use to increase your pull-up performance.
Each phase is performed for 3 weeks, always 2 pull-up workouts per week.
Phase 1: Pull-up, close neutral grip, 6×2-4 reps, 4010 pace
Phase 2: Pull-up, supinated, shoulder-width grip, 6×1-3 reps, 5010 pace
Phase 3: Pull-up, paused, close neutral grip, 6×2 reps, 5015 pace (5 sec pause at top)
Phase 4: Pull-up, supinated, shoulder-width grip, 7×3,3,2,2,1,1,1 reps, 40×0 tempo (x = explosive)
Increase to a heavy set in all units. For this heavy set, increase your reps within your rep range or use more weight from workout to workout. Use the additional weight in the form of weight plates on a belt .
This periodization provides new growth stimuli and allows you to use more extra weight, making it easier for you to do more bodyweight reps.
In addition to the increase in relative strength, ie if you increase the number of discs on your belt, you will also find it easier to do pull-ups on repetitions if you reduce your body fat percentage and thus also become stronger - in relation to your body weight.
I wish you success!
If you have a question for the "Ask the Coach" column, email it to training(at)keinfitnessstudio.de with the subject "Ask the Coach" and with a bit of luck your question will be selected for one of the upcoming posts.
Image: YPSI athlete and 12-time Austrian shot put champion Martin Gratzer does pull-ups with extra weight during the YPSI Training Camp in August 2015