Advanced Pull-ups! More Evil Tips For Back Strength
In the last issue of MILFIT we examined techniques to go from zero to 20+ bodyweight pull-ups. If you are already there or you just want to pull some serious weight, keep reading!
Experts in strength from Tsatsouline to Staley, to Siff, to Verkhoshansky all point out that high rep bodyweight exercises are good for one thing: High reps with bodyweight. Functionally there is something left to be desired. In the line of duty, how many times will you be required to pull yourself into a window, aircraft, over a wall, or up a steep incline with no gear on? Iíll put a lot of money on almost never! You will always have kit on and it will never be light. Body armor weighs in at 15-35lbs, running kit can approach 60lbs, and rucks are always 50-120lbs! We havenít even addressed the weapons yet! High rep BW pulls
are not going to help you here. What you need is actual strength in your pull-ups. The ability to do high reps has nothing to do with your ability to do high weight pulls
. Think of it like this, if you can Bench Press 90lbs for 70 reps, does that mean that you can Bench 200lbs even once? Of course not!
In Russia and several European countries operators are required to do their Pull-up evaluations with weight or 25lb body armor on and their numbers are impressive. In fact, many are afraid to take leave for fear of losing a few reps that keep them in the unit! For example, in Russia, the Spetsnaz standard is 18 pulls
with a 25lb vest. The reps are from a dead hang and the operator must clear his Adams Apple! Are you up to the task?
Pavel Tsatsouline and others also note that there is a difference in strength types required in Military service. If he had his way he would test both weighted and unweighted pulls
. He encourages a standard of at least 10 reps with 54lbs (a 24kg kettlebell
) and 20+ reps unweighted. Pavel also encourages operators to do Mantle Shelves as an evaluated exercise. This is a climbing move and it has everything to do with functional military fitness. Wheather you are on a rock face or a pull-up bar, this is a bear! A Mantle Shelf requires great explosive force (or Power) to execute which is also very important. Read on!
So, Where do we start? You can do 20+ bodyweight pulls
, how do we crank it up a notch? Here are a couple methods.
1. Lets say you have no desire to pull weight, but you want to turn it up some more. Check out this evil idea from Brazilian Jujitsu World Champion Steve Maxwell. He mounted a bar suspended on chains. Obviously the only way to get a clean rep on this sucker is to stay tight, slow, and controlled! To make this horrible contraption even worse, do not fix the bar, this way it will spin if you move the wrong way. Needless to say this is hell for your entire body! You can do weighted or unweighted pulls
on this rig. Don't be alarmed when your numbers plummet. John Alstadt who competed in the Tactical Strength Challenge can do 14 pulls
with 72lbs. Steve's bar stopped him cold at 7. You have been warned!
2. OK, You want some weight attached. Good! Rig a chain, belt, whatever works around your waist and attach a KB
or plates to it. My favorite method is to use a Riggers belt food
Lion! The same rules apply for training. Stay away from failure. Density or volume rules (lots of sets, low reps).
3. To make the above even harder, hook a KB
with your feet. This will ensure strict movement because any jerking and your foot will give out. It's self-critiquing! For the ultimate hell on earth, do these on Steve Maxwell's chain and bar rig.
Other methods of training with weight include putting on your kit and hitting the bar. You can add or remove weight as desired.
Now for explosiveness you will need for Mantle Shelves. First we need to cover the proper execution. From the dead hang, explode upward. Your goal is to get high enough to put the bar at or lower on the torso than the nipples. When you hit this point you will have to dynamically rotate one arm and shoulder up and over so the palm faces down and your weight is on that arm and shoulder. Lock your body and rotate the other arm to mirror the first and press down. At the top you will be supported by your locked out arms with the bar at your waist. Bending forward will help keep your balance. To return to the start position, lower yourself under control. The optimum grip is shoulder width. Wider or closer will not help. I tend to lean back as I near the bar which should be avoided as you may or may not have that ability in real life. I slam my self into the bar 2 inches below nipple level and it isn't too hard to rotate the arm and shoulder in that position. There are some definite differences with a wall so alternate your training. Find a good wall and Mantle it! Now, How do we build explosiveness?
<p> The best method I know of involves a partner. Here's how it works. From the dead hang, have the partner hold your feet and apply downward resistance. Just enough to retard your progress, not stop it. Then without warning he lets go. You will fly up to the bar! Do only 3-5 reps for 3-5 sets. The partner should never announce when he will let go. Some times 2 seconds, some times more, sometimes less. Generally 2-4 seconds of this resistance is optimal.
Another method uses a KB
and a bar that is just high enough to hook a KB
while in the dead hang. Do a rep unweighted as explosively as you can. Then hook the KB
and try it again. For rep 3 release the KB
so it is unweighted. Continue to alternate like this. It may also help to alternate that weight each set. I have had a lot of success with this method.
Some have reported success by doing an explosive rep on the concentric end of execution and concentrating heavily on the Eccentric end (negatives). Be careful with these as you will reach failure quickly and that is not our goal. ENJOY!
[b" title="Pavels Pushups The Advanced quotHourlyquot Methods to Higher RepsbComrades I get a lot of email from folks who are hesitant to try many of the Russian training principles explored in this newsletter One of the things that weighs on comrades minds is the issue of training to failure Training to failure is so ingrained in the American subconscious that it is very difficult to see another way Consider this as I explained to one young gentleman any candidate that graduates meets the standard But by how much Personally I was just over it by a couple reps I barely met the MINIMUM standard There is the crowd that says quotif a doctor barely passes the medical boards hes called a doctor so whats the big dealquot The big deal my friends is that the minimums are not good enough and if you can proudly accomplish the minimum when you enter INDOC you may be rather disillusioned when your body breaks down and you are unable to meet that low standard come EVAL time Exceed the standard while keeping your body as fresh as possible and you will not only increase your odds of surviving but even exceeding the standards by more than a few repsThere are still some folks out there that dont buy all that They site INDOC graduates who swear by training to failure Well its a hell of a thing when you are faced with the prospect of being kicked out when youre going to miss the standard by a few reps When that mental burden comes crashing down on you then call me up and tell me what you think of failure as a whole I know I was there I got set back to another class for failing pushupsby 2 reps There is nothing more demoralizing than the physical inability to do one more rep To give some of more of my personal history I started right back in the next team immediately Instructor Brannon took us out a couple of times and instead of training to failure we did 25 reps for about ten sets We did this all week I remember loving it because I hated always fighting failure at the end of a set Well the next Monday was EVAL day and the Commandant was counting my reps I easily knocked out 85 picture perfect reps He had set me back not seven days before for this exercise and he got so mad that he chewed me out right there and nearly threw the counter at me His biggest question was quotwhere the hell was this one week agoquot Ill never forget that We all did well on Pushups that week Another example can be seen from my days at INDOC when a comrade of mine knew he was going to fail the next weeks EVAL He asked MSgt Pope for help and saved his career Pope told him to do 20 pushups every hour for the next week Sure enough he destroyed the standard on the EVAL For other comrades not interested in INDOC take note that you can preserve your bench press numbers when a gym is not available When I was starting to seriously lift weights in my teens there was a time when I was working so much that I didnt have time for the gym My brother who is wise beyond his years told me to do several sets of pushups throughout the day and my bench press would only suffer small losses Sure enough after an entire summer and several sets of 25reps through out each day my bench press only dropped 20lbs I got that back in a week flatSo on to the Party Program Here are Pavels two programs as published in Muscle Media Magazine July 2001 Read and heed Failure is not an optionampltpampgtamplttable widthquot75quot borderquot1quot cellspacingquot1quotampgtamplttrampgtamplttd colspan3ampgtampltstrongampgtampltdiv alignquotcenterquotampgtThe Evil Russiansampltbrampgt quotHit The Deckquot ProgramampltdivampgtampltstrongampgtampltbrampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtWEEK 1ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtof RMampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtFrequencyampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMonday100 evalamplttdampgtamplttdampgt 30amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtTuesdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt50amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtWednesdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt60amplttdampgtamplttdampgt45minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtThursdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt25amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtFridayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt45amplttdampgtamplttdampgt30minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtSaturdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt40amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtSundayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt20amplttdampgtamplttdampgt90minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtWEEK 2ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMonday 100 eval 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 3ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMondayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt100 evalamplttDampgtamplttrampgtamplttableampgtamplthr size1 width75 noshade alignleftampgtamplttable widthquot75quot borderquot1quot cellspacingquot1quot cellpaddingquot1quotampgtamplttrampgtamplttd colspan3ampgtampltdiv alignquotcenterquotampgtampltstrongampgtThe Evil RussiansampltbrampgtquotDrop and Give Me 100 Pushupsquot ProgramampltstrongampgtampltdivampgtampltbrampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttramplttdampgtampltstrongampgtWEEK 1ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtof RMampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtFrequencyampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMonday 100 eval 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 2ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMonday100 eval amplttdampgtamplttdampgt90amplttdampgtamplttdampgt120minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtTuesdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt45amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtWednesdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt20amplttdampgtamplttdampgt10minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtThursdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt65amplttdampgtamplttdampgt90minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtFridayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt75amplttdampgtamplttdampgt60minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtSaturdayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt30amplttdampgtamplttdampgt90minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtSundayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt15amplttdampgtamplttdampgt120minamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtampltstrongampgtWEEK 3ampltstrongampgtamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttrampgtamplttdampgtMondayamplttdampgtamplttdampgt100 evalamplttdampgtamplttrampgtamplttableampgtbGeneral Pushup PointersbKeep the weight on the heels of your handsGrip width is up to you You may vary it from set to setKeep your chest wide open to prestretch the muscles and increase power and safety to the jointsLook straight ahead rather than downBe sure your breathing and movement is synchronized Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up It also helps to mentally visualize this Do not discount the power of visualizationGet a rhythm and keep it Rhythmic activity requires less energybAdd High Tension Techniques for higher performancebGrip the ground with your fingers as if you are trying to leave claw marks in the groundSqueeze your glutes and absSqueeze your thighs togetherTry to quotscrewquot your hands into the ground as if you are turning your hands outward but your hands wont moveUse power breathing if you dont know what that is read Pavels books or bring it up on the forumUse these techniques only when you need those last few reps on test day or when doing onehand pushups They will also be useful to the novice who has trouble with only a few repsbPushup Rulesb1Never come close to failure except when you are testing yourself no more than once a week2Vary the reps and rest interval each day3Adjust the load to your recovery ability Listen to your body4Build up to cumulative fatigue5Always reduce the load before testing or EVALs The day or two before start reducing the loadbHow Long and WhybYou should cycle this workout just like you do any other For most folks two weeks is plenty You can follow this program with other exercises as well which makes the perfect cycle Do two weeks of pushups two weeks of pullups and two weeks of situps and then start all over again This avoids over training and over use injuriesampltpampgt This is no sissy workout You will definitely feel this in a hurry Your body will be going through an adaptation phase but dont drag it out too long Cycle it as mentioned above and when your body adapts to the first program after a couple cycles take on the second program as shown abovebGeneral Program PointersbWhen doing this program stay away from most upper body and similar exercises For example if you are doing this program dont do any benching This will just confuse the muscles and no adaptation will occur Pullups and chins are fine The combination works all the muscles in the upper body adequately without over training There are other variations I have published on amplta hrefquothttpwwwspecialtacticscomwwwspecialtacticscom" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pavel's Pushups! The Advanced "Hour...ialtactics.com. Save them for a day when your body has fully adapted.DID YOU KNOW??????
[*]Every single unit in the Russian military is outfitted with kettlebells
[*]Do you have "shoulder problems" that interfere with your Bench Press? Get a set of kettlebells
. The load is distributed differently and takes the stress off of those injured areas in most operators who have chronic rotator cuff injuries. During my last deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, the load change offered by kettlebells
allowed no less than ten operators to continue benching and in fact gain a few pounds when they went back to the barbells!
[*]Another problem with rotator cuff injuries is any specific shoulder exercise such as lat raises and military presses. Again, the loading offered by the KB
minimizes aggravation to the rotator cuff. In addition, lifts such as the side press can be done with a KB
or DB and will strengthen the shoulders while helping to heal the rotator cuff. One comrade foolishly injured his RC and I had him doing side presses five days later with no pain.
Living By The Motto!