Need to Increase Lat Power/Do More Pull Ups!
- 07-22-2009, 03:39 AM
Need to Increase Lat Power/Do More Pull Ups!
here is my current situation:
on lat days, i do about 6-8 sets of pull ups and chin ups total, 7 reps per set, and about 5 reps on last two sets.
then i follow up w/ 3-4 sets of lat pull downs on the cable machine, i go heavy, 5-7 reps per set.
then some more lat work on non cable machines, maybe another 3 sets...heavy again, 5-7 reps per set.
i've been at this for 3-4 months now with no gains...meaning i can't do more than 10 reps max.
goal is to do ~15 rep max set.
should i stick only to pull ups and either;
a) add weights on a belt and do less reps and sets?
b) increase reps and reduce the number of sets?
maybe i've hit my max...but lat development has been slow for me...
TIA for any suggestions.
- 07-22-2009, 09:48 AM
Try doing some sets with weighted belt. If you are trying to get to 15 reps, you need endurance. Sets of 5-7 don't give you that. I would suggest one day, do some heavy sets of weighted pullups, followed by 1-2 sets bodyweight. Then if you have a pullup assist machine, get on it. Figure out the least amount of weight needed to help you get to 15 reps, and do 2 sets. You can always get someone to spot you doing bodyweight pullups if you don't have the assist machine.
Then the next workout, start with just bodyweight and do 2-3 sets of as many as possible, shooting for 15 reps. Then hit either the assist machine and lower the amount of assist weight to do 10 reps. Use that weight and work up to 15 reps in a couple sets. If you can't get 15 with the 10 rep weight that day after a couple sets, use that as your goal for next time.
Here is what I think is the number 1 factor in back and lat development, as well as any other muscle group. QUALITY reps vs QUANTITY. Are you leaning back slightly, arching your chest up to the bar, squeezing shoulder blades together to "pull" yourself up? Or are you using underhand close grip and just fighting and pumping out reps? Now close grip underhand has its place, but it won't give you best development if you are using mainly arms, vs your back muscles. You have to use your arms as hooks, and extensions of your back, so to speak. I use thumbs over grip, thumb on same side as fingers. It lessens the amount of grip and forearm and bicep involvement in the pullup, pulldown, seated rows, whatever. If you don't have the mind-muscle connection with your back, you have to get that in order to maximize growth.
To learn it, go to the lat puuldown. wide bar. Take your normal, wide grip pullup grip. Thumbs over. Use a weight that you can get 15 reps easy. Chest up, slight arch in lower back, but sitting upright, head high. Use your hands as hooks, and rotate your shoulder blades down and back to pull the bar down. Squeeze for a 2 count, and release slowly back up. Feel the negative in the muscles you just squeezed. Arm and bicep involvement should basically be non-existant. Weight should be light enough to basically have just your fingertips holding on to the bar. I like to put my finger in between the shoulder blades of someone learning this, and tell them to squeeze my fingers with their shoulder blades. It helps them focus on the right area. Do a couple sets like that of 15 or so, then build up in weight and lower reps. But, use the same technique to squeeze your back. You will have to put more of your hand over the bar with heavier weight, but if you feel like you are gripping the hell out of it and pulling with arms, refocus and possibly lower the weight. In-grain that movement, squeeze into your brain. Apply that squeeze mind-muscle connection to every back exercise, then you will see some development. Just plowing through reps anyway possible, not matter what bodypart it is, will develop less than expected results. As your strength increases, lower reps, increase weight, and get 5-6 quality reps, then if you have to use some body english to get a few more, fine. You don't want to do all of them swinging and jerking. Goes for any exercise and bodypart really.
Hope this helps.
07-22-2009, 06:55 PM
If you are looking for bigger lats, this is great advice. The added hypertrophy will eventually lead to more pull-ups in the gym.
If you just want to do more pull-ups then, you could give the "grease the groove" method a try. It would be three sets of pull-ups daily at about 60-80% of your maximum effort. On days you train back, I'd take a day off from the pull-up thing and do rowing-style exercises. I wouldn't go overboard on the volume to avoid burning yourself out.
There are two articles on the subject in this link You can just skim over first one focusing on the important parts. The second article is a specific application to pull-ups.
07-23-2009, 12:44 AM
thank you both for the tips - i'll try them
i thought maybe i didn't have enough bicep power, as i have trouble closing out my reps near the top of the rep...but i guess i need to focus more on developing my back with better form
07-23-2009, 02:48 AM
I would suggest using density training, which would be like doing 3 reps with a 1 minute break in between each set until you fail to hit 3 reps, then every time you do your pullups try to get more total reps than you did last time. I would also suggest doing some negatives to work your stability.
07-26-2009, 04:57 AM
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1JqtbRPNps&feature=pl ayer_embedded"]YouTube - 20 clapping pullups[/ame]
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