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Tip: 4 weeks to a one-arm pull-up

One-arm pull-ups are fantastic … and difficult. They are even tough for people who can pull out normal pull-ups with good shape. And that includes me. I was not even close to the first attempt.

So I decided to challenge myself: try to hit a reasonably decent one-arm chin-up in just four weeks. I have learned the following.

Choose the right tool

It is best to use rings instead of a straight bar. Rings allow you to naturally move your shoulder through its normal motion without being put in a "fixed" position. It is more likely that you will achieve full extension of the arm, achieve better lat activation, and will not destroy your shoulder.

You also get more successful because you get more torque while pulling. By "torque" I mean the twisting motion when you begin your palms in a pronation (palms outward) position and in a supine position (palms facing you).

This maximizes the lat activation and rotational amount of help you get from your big elbow flexors like biceps, brachialis and brachioradialis. The disadvantage of the rings? You do not have that much control over twisting your body.

Remember that learning the one-arm pull-up is not always a nice process. My first reps look like this:

No, my form was not great, but after four weeks I was able to switch from a half repetition to two "okay" reps. Give me another month and I'll be able to turn off some nice reruns that look effortless.

Want to help me with this challenge? You should know the following.

Strength Requirements Guidelines

  1. You should be able to repeat at least 1
    5 solid full-length pull-ups on the rings before attempting the one-arm chin-up. If you can not do that yet, do 50 pull-ups each time you're in the gym. These 50 pull-ups may not and may not be performed consecutively. Take your time, and take time until you have to do 50 repetitions. But do not leave the gym until you're done. You should do this at least three times a week.
  2. You should be able to perform a supported one arm pull-up: One arm on the ring, one arm on the strap to provide support. In this movement you will learn how to harness your core and pull your body to the rings. That way you can get a feel for the one-arm technique.
  3. You can control a single-arm eccentric or a negative pull-up mode. Perform the one-armed, one-armed pull-up shown previously, but sit down with only one arm.

The program

Days 1 and 3

Exercise Set Reps
A Weighted pull-up from the bar 5 5
B [19659020] One-armed eccentric pull-up 3 3 / arm
19659021] One-armed pull-up device supported 4 3 / arm
D1 Breast-assisted series 4 [19659021] 10
D2 Hammer Curl 4 10
E1 Lat Pulldown 4 10
E2 Reverse Curl 4 10
Landmine twist (core) movement) 3 10
F2 Breast-supported plates I, Y, T 3 12

Picture Make sure you have enough soft tissue on your forearms Elbows do not yell at you the next day.

Chest supported plates I, Y, and T are prefilled for the shoulder. You should have a strong rotator cuff to stabilize the shoulder.

Days 2 and 4

Exercise Sets Repetitions
A Heavy Lat pulldown ] 5 5
B Supported one arm pull-up [19659021] 4 5 / arm
C1 single arm thorax supported row 4 5 / arm
C2 Bicep Curl 4 5 [19659019] D1 single arm lat pulldown 4 5 / arm
D2 one arm hammer curl 4 5 / arm
E1 Dragon Flag (controlled) 3 3
E2 Breastplate, Plate I, Ys, T 3 12

Note: Dragonflags require extended core stability. Keeping the core as tight as possible is the key to the first single-arm pull-up.

This program offers you alternate training every other day. Here's a way to structure it:

Week 1

  • Monday: Day 1
  • Wednesday: Day 2
  • Friday: Day 1
  • Sunday: Day 2

Week 2

  • Tuesday: Day 1
  • Thursday: Day 2
  • Saturday: Day 1

Week 3

  • Monday: Day 1
  • Wednesday: Day 2
  • Friday: Day 1
  • Sunday: Day 2

Week 4

  • Tuesday: Day 1 [19659012] Thursday: Day 2
  • Saturday: Day 1

Your chin-up is weak and ugly

Master the ridiculously strict pull-up

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