How to Increase Your Pull-Up Reps with Calisthenics

Pull-up for musle gain

Do you want to improve your pull-up game with calisthenics? Have you already been training for weeks or months without much progression in pull-ups? In this blog article we provide you with a one week workout plan that really works.

About the Pull-Up Workout Schedule

This workout was developed by Major Charles Lewis Armstrong. His goal was to break the world record of most pull-ups in 1 set. The workout consists of a 5-day consecutive routine followed by 2 days of rest. For example, you work out from Monday to Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. Whichever schedule you choose, the key is to exercise for 5 straight days and then rest for 2 days. Also, the program should be followed for 6 to 8 weeks to see the best results.

Remember Your Regular Push-ups

True, this article is about pull-ups. But of course, you should not neglect the chest muscles that you do not use much for pull-ups. So, during the 5-day pull-up schedule you should also perform 3 sets of your maximum number of normal push-ups every day. Rest in between sets for about 5 minutes and wait at least 3 hours before you do the pull-ups. 

Perfect Pull-Up Form 

A perfect form is key to increase your pull-up game and maximize the muscles that you target. Those muscles are m. latissimus dorsi, mm. Trapezii, mm. rhomboïdei and m. biceps. A perfect form means starting from a dead hang and pull-up until your chin is over the bar with maximum range of motion. But do not lift your head and put your chin on the bar when you get tired. Many people do this to compensate and get a false sense of performing a good pull-up. Besides, you could even get a neck injury by doing this since your neck muscles have to compensate. Record yourself on your phone to check if you might be doing this. 

Use the Perbon Method or Pull-Ups 

The perbon method is also known as the pyramid method. It consists of you performing 1 repetition and add one with in every subsequent set. 

Pull-up Workout Schedule

Day 1 

  • 3 sets of maximum push-ups with 5 minute rest between sets.
  • 5 sets of maximum regular grip (palms facing forward) pull-ups with 90 seconds rest between sets.
  • A set ends when you are unable to do a perfect form pull-up. 

Day 2 

  • 3 sets of maximum push-ups with 5 minute rest between sets.
  • Perbon/Pyramid method: start with 1 pull-up and add 1 every set with 10 seconds rest between sets. If you fail a set wait for 60 seconds and perform a last set of maximum pull-ups. 

Variation: a variation to this day is to rest for 60 seconds after failing 1 set and do the opposite site of the pyramid. For example, you failed 10 reps. Then rest and do 9, 8, 7 until you hit 1. Try to do this with the least amount of rest possible in between sets. 

Day 3 

  • 3 sets of maximum push-ups with 5 minute rest in between sets
  • Do 9 sets: 3 sets of normal, 3 sets of close chin-ups and 3 sets of wide pull-ups. All of these sets should have the same number of repetitions, not too many and not too few. Try to do one set of normal pull-ups, close chin-ups and wide pull-ups after another without rest. Then rest 1 minute before you go to the next. If your number is not optimal then change this for next week. 

Day 4 

  • 3 sets of maximum push-ups with 5 minute rest in between sets
  • 3 sets of maximum regular pull-ups 1 minute rest in between sets
  • 3 sets of maximum close chin-ups 1 minute rest in between sets 
  • 3 sets of maximum wide pull-ups 1 minute rest in between sets 

As you can see, this looks a bit like 3 day but with maximum pull-ups. And the number should be similar to that on day 3. 

Day 5 

  • 3 sets of maximum push-ups with 5 minute rest in between sets
  • Perform the training that was hardest for you in the previous 4 days
  • Every week, day 5 should be different 

Day 6 and 7 

  • Rest 
  • It is really important to rest and let your body recover from that week’s training.  

The Pull-Up Results

We can assure you, if you follow this routine for 6 weeks, you will notice a big difference in maximal pull-up repetitions and pull-ups in general. But it can not be overemphasized that his program depends upon regularity. Your daily performance of the exercises listed above holds the true key to reaching and maintaining the repetition level. Once you become more advanced, you can follow the same program for muscle-ups. Click here to find out how to master the muscle-up. And be sure to check out our Blog page regularly to find articles on all your favorite calisthenics exercises.

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