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If you’re able to perform at least 5 solid pullups, then this program will work for you. However, if you can’t do a single pullup, then I recommend John Sifferman’s The Pullup Solution. Click here to learn more.
The following is a rundown of the Armstrong Pullup Program with the help of Barstarzz athlete Eric. In the video above, Eric demonstrates the following regimen:
Start off each morning with 3 max sets of pushups. The reason behind this is to make sure you don’t cause any muscle imbalances when overtraining pullups.
Rest at least 3 hours before going through your pullup regimen:
5 max sets, resting 90 seconds in between each set
The Pyramid method. Start off with 1 repetition, rest 10 seconds, 2 repetitions, rest 10 seconds and continue in this manner until you fail at a set.
Finish off with a max set of pullups
Perform 9 training sets. Choose a repetition that does not allow you to perform more than 9 sets. The repetitions you perform per set will be different for each person.
Do 3 rounds of:
- Regular grip pullups, rest 1 minute
- Close grip chinups, rest 1 minute
- Wide grip pullups, rest 1 minute
Perform as many training sets as possible until you fail. Due to fatigue, you may end up performing just 2-4 sets, or you may end up performing over 10-12 sets.
If you are able to do more than 9 sets, however, then you may want to increase the number of repetitions per set for the following week.
Repeat your hardest workout. Suppose the workout on Tuesday was your most difficult workout. Repeat that again on Friday.
Eric recommends advanced trainees use this program to boost their muscle up numbers. You can also use the Armstrong program to increase other movements you have difficulty with including dips.
Here is the caveat, however, the Armstrong program won’t really help you are unable to perform a single pullup. You would need to be able to perform at least 5 pullups in order for this to work.
Do not simply exist, conquer!
P.S. Make sure to check out the workout video at the top of the blog post.
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The following is Guest Post by Craig Ballantyne of TurbulenceTraining.com: I am off on a bit of a European adventure for 10 days, and should be cruising over the Atlantic Ocean on my way to Lithuania (via Copenhagen) by the time you read this. I’m meeting some friends at an entrepreneurship seminar for college students
The pushup is one of the most basic movements of all time. You were most likely first exposed to it in gym class.
Never would you have thought that this basic movement that you learned in your childhood would come in handy in adulthood.
In the video above, Elliot Hulse was asked a question by a reader regarding improving his pushup numbers.
The reader was in the military, and wanted to become better at pushups so that he would be able to better handle basic training.
We all know just how much the military LOVES pushups! If it’s good enough for the military, then it’s good enough for you…
The idea that the reader wanted verified was whether or not 300 pushups per day was a good strategy to improve pushup numbers.
Elliots response was: no! 300 pushups per day would lead to all sorts of muscular imbalances which would do more harm then good.
You can increase your pushup max without training at such a high volume. The following is the pushup program Elliot Hulse recommended:
Perform 1 maximum set of pushups. Go all out until you are unable to do a single pushup.
Rest from pushups. You can, of course, perform other types of training.
Manual/external resistance slow tempo pushups. The main idea is to take 5-10 seconds to lower your pushups, and 5-10 seconds to push back to starting position.
Complete rest from pushup training.
Cluster sets. Perform 3 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds. Continue in this fashion until you are unable to perform 3 full repetitions.
Also check out:
- How to do 50 Chinups and a 100 Pushups
- Build Huge Mass with Bodyweight Training using Time Volume Training
Isometrics sets. Stop just an inch off the floor. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Push yourself midway, hold that position for 10 seconds. Push all the way to the top position, hold for 10 seconds. This is one set.
Dealing with Soreness
To mitigate soreness, Elliot Hulse recommends stretching, and LOTS of stretching. The following are some stretches to help you recover from pushups:
Standing Biceps Stretch
- Stand with your hands clasped behind your back, palms facing each other. Straighten your arms behind you and rotate so that your palms are facing downward.
- Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds, then relax and return to starting position.
Doorway Modified Chest Stretch
- Stand at the end of a wall or doorway. Place the front of your shoulder and inside of bent arm on surface of wall.
- From here, lean slightly towards wall/doorway, allowing your shoulder to be pushed back.
- Turn your body away from your shoulder as you do this. Pause, return to starting position and repeat.
- Raise your arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Open up your hand so that the palm is facing away from you and all fingers are pointed to the ceiling.
- With the other hand, grab the fingers and gently pull them back towards you.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds. You should feel in the forearms. Release. Flip your hand position so that your fingers are now point downwards.
- With the other hand grab your fingers and jointly pull backwards. Hold, then release.
- Repeat with the other hand.
Additional Recovery Ideas
The tiger tail is a portable foam roller. Use it to roll the sore muscle. You can also use a normal size foam roller.
Work your Back Muscles
Training just one muscle group will lead to overuse injuries and potential muscular imbalances. Make sure you are balancing out with pullups training or some other movements that target your back.
Take a Rest Day
If your pushup numbers do not increase each week, based on your max rep workout on Monday, then you may need to just take an extra day off.
This is a solid program to increase your pushups. But, you will still need a full-body program if you wish to really use bodyweight training to build muscle and get stronger. If you click on the next page, you will discover exactly the step-by-step program you need: