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Lack of Progress: Exercises Like Pullups- Need Advice

Commented on September 20, 2013
Created September 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Hey everyone

First off- 5'7" tall, 17 year old male, 114 lbs, currently doing Rings 1, a gymnastics ring training program (which is entirely upper-body) 3x a week, and plyometrics for lower body work 2x a week. (with yoga 1x a week, then one day of rest)

In my ring workouts, I've noticed that I'm not progressing, and I fear I'm getting weaker. I base this on the fact that I haven't been able to meet my previous workout's numbers in repetitions on exercises, despite having the same rest periods.

Currently my hypothesis about this is in 2 parts-

-First, the way I'm training-

I'm used to the idea that you should always go for the maximum amount of repetitions you can perform on exercises such as pull-ups, and that you should go to failure. In the past, when doing different workout regimes, I've done the max number of pullups of a certain variety, then perform as many assisted as I could following that. So for example, I'd do my max number of pullups, then my max number with a band assist, then 4-5 negatives, where I jump to the chin-above-bar position, and lower myself down, focusing on the muscles in my back for a 5 count.

I've been doing this with the ring pullups in the program I've been doing now, as well as for the inverted tuck rows, dips, and other exercises. The push/pull set-up looks like this-

Push:

Front Lever Progression- 60s or 5-6 sets total

Back Lever Progression - 60s or 5-6 sets total

Tuck Planche- 60s total

Handstands- 2 mins total

Dips with RTO(rings turned out) at top 3x 6-12 reps,

Tuck-to-tuck shoulder stands- 3x 6-12 reps

Ring pushups with RTO at top 3x 6-12 reps

Ring pike presses- 3x 6-12 reps

Jump-to-dip(sort of an assisted muscle up) 3x6-12 reps

Ring L-sits- 5x12 seconds

hanging leg raises- 3x failure

Pull:

The same FL, BL, Handstand and Tuck planche skill work as listed above

then-

Inverted tuck-rows- 4x6-8 reps

Inverted tuck-roll chin-ups 4x6-8 reps

ring chin-ups- 4x6-8 reps

L-sits- 60 seconds or 5 sets total

Ab-wheel rollouts- 3 x to failure

For the pullups, I've been doing what I described, for each set (so unassisted, then assisted with a band, then negatives). Is this too much volume to recover from, and is this why I'm not progressing?

The only other thing I can think of is that I am not eating enough- currently I'm not up to where I should be in terms of total calories, though I intend to change that (my daily average has been 2200 for the past week, after I checked yesterday by logging a day of food into Myfitnesspal)

I've been focusing on following the nutritional advice of several users who've all told me to eat more starch, fruit, and cals overall, so I have yet to see how that will work, given my goals for right now are to get stronger, and progress in the ring strength program, any muscle I gain along the way is an added bonus.

Any thoughts?

@Greymouser,

@sustainedfitness

@Matt 11

@Travis Culp ???

@Mash

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 20, 2013
at 04:39 PM

my comments are not posting either. I think for strength, heavy-weight and explosive movements are important. If you want to be a gymnast, you may want to check with a gymnastics coach -- not really my area of expertise.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 20, 2013
at 03:59 AM

for some reason it won't let me see the comments that have been posted.. this new site is pissing me off

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 20, 2013
at 02:35 AM

If you want to get stronger, you need to push more weight using explosive movements. If you want to be a gymnast, it'd be better to talk to a gymnastics coach.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 19, 2013
at 08:15 PM

it will get you stronger. If you you want to be a gymnast, check with a gymnastics coach.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 19, 2013
at 06:01 PM

I have a weight vest, it can hold up to 40 lbs, but I don't know how this would fit into the program I'm doing- Here's a link-

http://goldmedalbodies.com/products/rings-one/

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 19, 2013
at 04:53 PM

Personally, I would skip the negatives altogether, but if I were doing them, I definitely wouldn't do the workout more than once a week. High frequency training can be effective, but only if you don't go to concentric failure, and definitely not if you go beyond failure.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:21 PM

yeah. those are good, but they put more strain on the body than when the weight is attached to the chest. No science behind that, just my experience. On the positive side, walking through the gym with a harness belt and 50 lbs hanging between your legs gives me a lot of respect for people suffering with elephantitis

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:19 PM

A weight belt harness / "dip belt" would work, too.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:55 AM

Matt hit the nail on the head. But yes: sleep is as important as food for gains. Honestly, without both, targeted exercise for mass or strength gains can become worthless.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:50 AM

Six of one or half dozen of the other. It's the same problem - too much training for the recovery or too little recovery for the training.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:02 AM

So the lack of progress is most likely due to just an inability to recover from eating too little, and not from doing too much volume? Also I haven't been sleeping well at all for the past 2 months or so, which I suspect is a huge factor as well..

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 18, 2013
at 09:27 PM

I wouldn't say I'm qualified to tell you how to exercise. I hardly do it myself. I run, walk and play, the gym is a very foreign place.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 18, 2013
at 04:09 AM

What about what I'm doing in terms of doing negatives and more assisted pullups after my max number of unassisted for every set- is this possibly holding me back? Should I simply do my max unassisted and stop? Because when I do, I guess it feels like I'm not working hard enough or something like that

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 18, 2013
at 01:31 AM

The program I'm following has them set up as an ABA-BAB schedule, so every week I end up alternating which one I do 2x in that week. What can you say in regards to how I'm approaching the rep schemes? (IE doing assisted reps, then negative ones for each set of most exercises)

Is this actually preventing me from progressing? My numbers keep getting worse, and I'm getting really frustrated. Also, with 45 seconds of rest, is this too little? Should I start with more rest and as I progress decrease the periods?

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5 Answers

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:16 PM

Volume trains muscular endurance. Weight trains strength. If your goal is to do as many pull ups as possible, you need to increase the weight, not the volume.

While your body may do equivalent amounts of work in a 5x5 or a 1x25 schema, the muscular adaptations are widely different.

First you need to identify your goal. Is your goal to do 3 sets of 10 reps? If so, work up to your goal, and then add weights.

Purchase a weight vest (I have a 15 lbs weight vest with 20 carabiners where I can add a 2.5-5lb plate for a maximum weight of 115 lbs)

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 20, 2013
at 03:59 AM

for some reason it won't let me see the comments that have been posted.. this new site is pissing me off

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:19 PM

A weight belt harness / "dip belt" would work, too.

0
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on September 18, 2013
at 08:46 PM

I'm going to chime in, too: you're likely overtraining. Most everyone else so far has sensible answers, and I'll add a few points.

Your daily routine seems pretty good, but if I were to take it up, I'd likely only train each routine one day a week in my program, and go somewhat lighter on any other compound movements that involve related muscle groups the rest of the week. I like the idea of pullup work that degrades down from full, to assisted, to eccentric failure. Also, I might go whole hog and do all my back work on one day - adding in shrugs, dumbbell pull overs, and bent-over rows, too but then I'd lay off the back for the rest of the week.

As a 17 year old male at 114lbs / 5'7'', I have to guess your BMR is probably around 1750 Calories, and your resting / maintenance amount is probably ~2200, but you have to consider recovery as well - with your activity levels, that's probably ~2600-~3000 calories a day.

Then, if you are trying to gain a modicum of mass and strength as well, I'd do it slowly and add ~200 extra calories a day, bringing the estimate up to ~2800-~3200. If you aren't trying to gain mass or want to stick at current strength levels, stick to the lower end around ~2600.

Obviously, stick to good old paleo-happy food for supplying that nutrition. :-)

It took me *a long time* to be able to do chinups until I get bored, and >10 pullups (which are always harder for me than chin). I have to give you props for attempting this routine. :-)

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 19, 2013
at 01:02 AM

So the lack of progress is most likely due to just an inability to recover from eating too little, and not from doing too much volume? Also I haven't been sleeping well at all for the past 2 months or so, which I suspect is a huge factor as well..

0
13f174d097c9293ed7d079dba783217c

on September 18, 2013
at 12:05 PM

seriously overtraining. and also you most definitely need to increase your food intake, more protein, healthy fats, and carbs (post workout with yam/sweet potatoes are best). And take that down to once a week for now because of the volume you do in one workout, and do 30-60min walks on most days just to keep yourself active and let your upper body rest.

You may even want to just stop completely and do some strength/mass gain weight training for a couple weeks to increase your weight, because you're really underweight. I'm 5'11, and i weigh about 185-190 with ~10% body fat and I haven't worked out in a couple months... so if i wanted muscle mass i'd be probably about 200lb. you should be around 135-140 at least i'd say, even if you're ectomorphic (super thin body type). Let us know what you do. Good luck!

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 18, 2013
at 02:25 AM

Agree with Travis, you're probably over-training. Hand-in-hand with that is under-eating. 114 lbs, 5'7 is underweight, you need to eat more (30-50% more) to put on mass and gain strength.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 18, 2013
at 04:09 AM

What about what I'm doing in terms of doing negatives and more assisted pullups after my max number of unassisted for every set- is this possibly holding me back? Should I simply do my max unassisted and stop? Because when I do, I guess it feels like I'm not working hard enough or something like that

0
Medium avatar

on September 17, 2013
at 04:23 PM

I think your frequency is much too high. Personally, I would do your upper and lower workout 1x per week. Also, ensure that you're getting as much sleep as possible, as it probably has more to do with the overall area under the curve of testosterone than anything else.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 19, 2013
at 04:53 PM

Personally, I would skip the negatives altogether, but if I were doing them, I definitely wouldn't do the workout more than once a week. High frequency training can be effective, but only if you don't go to concentric failure, and definitely not if you go beyond failure.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on September 18, 2013
at 01:31 AM

The program I'm following has them set up as an ABA-BAB schedule, so every week I end up alternating which one I do 2x in that week. What can you say in regards to how I'm approaching the rep schemes? (IE doing assisted reps, then negative ones for each set of most exercises)

Is this actually preventing me from progressing? My numbers keep getting worse, and I'm getting really frustrated. Also, with 45 seconds of rest, is this too little? Should I start with more rest and as I progress decrease the periods?

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