Using Pulldowns to work up to Pull-Ups/Chins
Just recently restarted linear progression. I decided to do Practical Programming because I want to eventually build up to doing Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups (kind of lofty goal considering I weigh over 300 pounds). I've seem the tutorials and read about banded chin-ups in the book, but even with the band with the highest resistance my gym has, I could only get 3/4 way up to a full chin-up.
I've used Cable Pulldowns before, but not to consistently improve my strength in the move and to work up to a clear goal of a dead hang pull-up and chin-up. In SS and PP I know it says that if you're doing 15 bodyweight pull-ups to add weight. I'm not sure if this also means that's when you add weight though (as would be my case). Anyone have some ideas of what rep schemes to use for these? Also, should it be sets across or should I increase the weight each set?
Note: I don't have an assisted pull-up/gravitron machine at my gym, so that's not an option.
With a large bodyweight like yours you are going to need to use a lot of resistance on the pulldown machine. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining excellent form and full range of motion. Draw your elbows back, and lift your chest to meet the bar. Do something like 10 sets of 1-5, then drop a little weight and go for 3x10.
Dumb bell rows, chest supported row machine and curls will all help too.
Respectfully, I disagree with Dastardly. With lat pulls (and maybe with many exercises) if you use strict form, you do not engage enough musculature. In other words, you only engage the fewest number of muscles required to move the weight. Consider a bicep curl. If you use a weight that you can manage only with strict form, your chest, shoulders, forearms, lower back etc will not contract in a massive effort to move the weight. This is why, as Rip has said, cheat curls are a legitimate exercise. I feel like pull downs are the same thing.
I have had success using lat pulls to gain pull up strength (years ago when I was lighter) by really overloading and using what most would call awful form. I tried to turn a strict lat pull into more of a "vertical/reverse row," meaning that I used a little body english or sway to get the weight moving and tried to pull the bar to my clavicle using my arms, rear delts, lats, rhomboids, spinal extenders and and every other muscle I could. I believe this is the correct way to build the muscles that need to come into play with pull ups. These muscle dont work in isolation during a pull up and I see no reason why they should not be trained/exercised during pulldowns.
I have no experience using bands and the like, so your MMV.
By excellent form I didn't mean you cannot lean back and use a little body english. The important part is really drawing the shoulders and elbows back like a row and completing each rep with the bar touching chest. The top part of a chin/pull up is the hardest, so you really shouldn't leave it out when doing pull downs. Emphasis should be put on completing each rep very purposefully with the right posture and ROM. For example you can allow your scapulae to get pulled upwards in between each rep, which would simulate a dead hang pull up. Pulling from the stretched position is very effective in terms of hypertrophy and will help develop the important start of a real chip/pullup.
10 sets of 1-5 and 3 of 10? I know I'm the one asking for advice, but isn't that a lot of volume for novice progression?
I peeped your log, and I cannot believe you are running at your weight. Jogging feels rough on my joints when I'm at 225. Can't imagine it at 300. Is it primarily for weight loss? Conditioning? Either way, there are probably better approaches to use while you get to a weight where running makes sense.
Last edited by Bronan the Barbarian; 04-28-2012 at 08:59 PM.
Unrelated subject is unrelated.
Originally Posted by Bronan the Barbarian
But really I jog because I like it, and it's the only form of cardio I enjoy right now (besides some Prowler pushes when I'm able to). I've done it before at a lower weight. If it feels rough at 225, I'm not sure what's up with your joints because I was up to 8 mile run/jogs when I was 240-250 pounds.
Last edited by Schwiggity; 04-28-2012 at 09:07 PM.
I'm also heavy and built with long arms n legs with a relatively short torso. Can you get on a bench and jump up to the top position? I used straps and did bodyweight negatives slowly, fighting my weight down. Once I hit full stretch id try and drive up for a rep usually getting 2/3s up, then rest and repeat for 10 singles. I did this as a first exercise when fresh and then pulldowns last for the rep work and hypertrophy in sets of 6. This worked for me and eventually I could get 1 then 3,4,5 etc full reps and then worked to a 20 rep max workout often with 5+ sets ending in singles to reach that target. Hope this is of some use to you.
Doesnt Rip say that for heavier trainees they can lay off the assistance exercises (pullups) especially sinc ethey should be making larger gains on the barbell exercises? I understand if this is a goal of yours the same as a 315 or 405 squat may be for other, but as you get stronger and your weight drops pull ups will become easier
In the Practical Programming routine it is not an accessory exercise, but rather is a main lift; taking the place of the Power Clean that would be used in the Starting Strength routine.
Originally Posted by Brian Zahn