Weighted Pull Up Progression


Adding a weight vest to your training is a good way to increase your pull-up reps and your endurance to step up your fitness and to prepare for the MURPH WOD. Weighted pull up progression training is a proven method to make gains in rep counts even if you think it is impossible to improve. It just takes dedication and patience to build your strength over time.

man wearing weight vest

Here are the keys to weighted pull up progression training:

Manage your volume.

If you do pull-ups three times a week starting with three sets and building to five it is plenty. You should see significant gains with your weighted pull up progression training in a few months.

Start with body weight only.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to execute ten perfect dead hang pull-ups with good form before you start weighted pull up progression training. If you need to you can even start with assisted pull ups using a super band to support some body weight.

Vary your grip.

Using a variety of grips will increase your overall pulling strength. A short warm-up with a normal pull-up grip is always recommended for weighted pull up progression training (without the added weight for your warm-up). But each week be sure to mix in some wide grip, chin-ups using the reverse hand grip, and mountain climber grip where palms are facing each other as if you were hanging from a rope.

Rest periods.

Give yourself a recovery period between sets, but time it and keep it to a minute and a half or less. Be disciplined and stick to your weighted pull up progression plan.

Use an adjustable weight vest.

Gains are made over time. That is why it is a progression. Be sure to use a weight vest that can start with as little as 5 lbs. It needs to be adjustable so you can gradually increase weight. One that is easy to zip on and off for sets is also ideal.

weighted pull up progression

Adjustable and Easy Zip Hyper Vest Weight Vest

Here is a Sample Weighted Pull Up Progression Training Plan:

Week 1:

Monday: Warm up, then 1 set max pullups with good form. Rest 5 minutes afterwards

Set 1: Max of minus 2 pullups. So, if you can do 12 pullups with perfect form, do 10.

Ex: 1 set 10 pullups, body weight.

Set 2: set #1 – 2 reps, + 5 lbs. Ex: 8 pullups with 5 lb weighted vest.

Ex: 1 set 8 pullups with 5 extra pounds.

Set 3: 5 lbs more than set 2. As many reps as you can do but with good form. This will likely be less than set 2, but it might not be. Sets 1 and 2 are warming up the muscles.

Ex: 1 set 9 pullups with 10 extra lbs.

set 4: If you got more than 6 pullups on set 3, increase weight by 5 lbs. If you did NOT, keep the same weight.

Ex: 6 pullups with 15 lbs.

Set 5: If you got more than 6 pullups on set 4, increase weight by 5 lbs. If you did NOT, keep the same weight.

Ex: 5 pullups with 15 lbs.

Wednesday: Same structure as Monday, but skip the max set. Use the number you got Monday as your max, and base your workout off of that. You may do better, you may not. Follow the rules as outlined.

Friday: Same structure as Wednesday. Again, do not perform a max set of pullups. Just warm up and start with set 1.

Week 2 and beyond: Same structure, do your max as your first set on Monday. You will notice a fairly steady increase in your maximum number of pullups for a while, at least up into the high teens to mid twenties.

Keep it up and you will see results in your fitness and be ready for MURPH.

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