How to Improve your Running and Pullups (or anything else for that matter)

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My Sensei (Karate Instructor) taught me one important thing: if you want to get better at front kicks, then do a lot of front kicks! In other words, practice makes perfect.

A really great approach to program design is to create workouts that revolve around your goals. Simple enough? But not enough people do this. They get caught up with all the other hoopla and nonsense that surrounds health and performance improvement.

For example, if you want to improve your running, then why not just go out for a run? Depending on your goals, you may want to perform a few timed trials per week, or distance runs. Throw in a few power cleans and snatches, some sprinting, and walla! You’ve got yourself a program.

Same things for pullups. People think they need to hit their back harder in the gym, or they start isolating their shoulders…etc. etc. etc. No, just get up on the bar and pull your body up to it. Rinse, and repeat! One of the best pullup programs out there is the Armstrong pull up program, because it actually revolves around doing pullups.

Ok, so what about people who are doing pullups and running, but still do not see much improvement? Well, then it’s time to start looking at other things – other weaknesses. Maybe your biceps are too week, or your hamstrings are too tight.

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Parth Shah is the creator of ShahTraining.com which teaches people how to use mental mind tricks to conquer the world and become healthier and awesome in the process. Check out his Book Bodyweight Toughness Thanks, and enjoy the site!

Chris Potter -

The Armstrong program is great, I highly recommend it. I used it for about 2 months and increased my chin ups from about 4 to 15 gaining a little more than 1 chin up per week. Then I switched to a weight routine for about 2 months and gained only a couple more in about the same amount of time. The weight routine was good for my overall strength, but not as good for increasing pull ups.
I’m going to start a routine with some kind of combination of Armstrong and your Bodyweight Workout Manual. I really appreciate your guidelines for creating high intensity workouts, and I’m looking forward to trying your push-up and pull-up variations. My goal is to get 20 good form wide-grip pull-ups within the next 8-10 weeks (I’m at about 12 right now). Thank you Parth, for all of your generous advice.

Parth -

Chris, keep me posted!

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips -

Great advice Parth. As you rightly say “practice does make perfect”. I read a similar post on the Fitness Black Book (http://www.fitnessblackbook.com/) which applied this logic to weight lifting. In the post Rusty said that a lot of people fail to make progress on resistance training programs because they don’t stick to the same exercises – they’re changing their workout every week. Whilst change is good, Rusty suggests that you should keep some lifts as a standard part of your resistance training routine e.g. mix your chest workout up but always include bench press. Why? Because “practice makes perfect” and allows you to build strength and muscle. If there’s no consistency it’s a lot harder to improve.

Parth -

Tom – Thats true. I’m all for mixing things up, but you should always stick to some core lifts. How else will you measure progress?

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