Basement Sessions – 5/24/18 – One Arm Pull Up Training

As part of my overall training program, I have certain strength “skills” that I aim to train at least once per week. By focusing on these skills and “progressively overloading” the resistance/difficulty, I’m able to realize strength gains. AND, I’m able to do this without lifting weights. These skills are bodyweight skills, and I use the ability to manipulate my body in space to make the movement easier or harder. Bodyweight training is a great way to build functional fitness, and you can do it virtually anywhere without equipment.

Today is one arm pull up day!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve circled back to training this movement, as a result of running through some of my workout library a second time so I can write reviews on them. So, I’m expecting that I haven’t made progress since my last session. I’m going to recommit to training this specific move at least once every 7 days until I finally knock out a full one-arm pull up.

Pull ups are one of those exercises that I really wish I had focused on in my 20’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t really start caring about it until my 30’s. I feel like I’m playing a lot of catch up. This will be a move that I introduce my son to very early, and will try to encourage him to keep working at it throughout his life. Proper and frequent training of pulling motions will prevent muscle imbalances between your push/pull muscles. I’ve said it before in other posts – our human body is biomechanically built to climb stuff. We should be using those pulling muscles!!!

A true one-arm pull up is an amazing feat of strength. Not a lot of people can say they’ve mastered it.

Feel free to say it with me….

are you kidding me

Whether it’s overhand (that guy) or underhand (what I’m training), it’s kind of mesmerizing – especially if you’d tried it, and can barely SHRUG your shoulder when hanging from a bar one-armed.

This move requires a lot of bicep and back strength, but it also requires a TON of core strength and also strength in the tendons/ligaments in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, etc. When you first try to hang from the bar, your body will want to twist. Fighting that urge and remaining rigid requires a lot of stabilization from the areas I just mentioned. The truth is we don’t train that stuff, so the simple act of HANGING one-armed is a necessary progression. After that, once you start doing single limb movements (like the uneven pull up), you’ll be fighting that twist as you go up and down, and will be glad that you laid the foundation with one arm hangs.

I am currently training the “uneven” pull up, which is a progression towards the one-armed pull up you just saw. Here is a demo of that move…

I definitely don’t feel strong in this move, so I know I’ll be on this progression step for a while. But, when I finally bust through, I’ll know I have the links in the chain at the proper strength to propel me to the elusive one arm pull up.

Here is what today looked like:

5/24/18 – one arm pull up training

  • Warmup
    • 3 minutes jump rope
    • 2 minutes jumping jack
    • 1 minute handstand hold
  • Skill work – one arm pull up
    • Regular chin up – 8 reps (to activate muscles, grease the groove so to say)
    • Rest 2 min
    • Uneven pull up – right hand – 5 reps
    • Rest 1 minute
    • Uneven pull up – left hand – 4 reps
    • Rest 2 minutes
    • Uneven pull up – right hand – 5 reps
    • Rest 1 minute
    • Uneven pull up – left hand – 4 reps
    • Rest 2 minutes
    • 40lb weighted chin up – 5 reps
      • Since my rep range is so low during the skill/work sets, I always like to do additional pull ups under load afterwards, followed by a single “burnout” set. Its similar to pyramiding sets at the gym, or (for the last set) doing a strip set.
    • Rest 2 minutes
    • 40lb weighted chin up – 4 reps
    • Rest 2 minutes
    • Regular chin up – 12 reps
  • Core work
    • Ab wheel – 28 reps in 2 minutes
      • This is a great old school piece of exercise equipment to work the entire core, and basically upper body. You should try to work this into your core regiment.
  • Metabolic circuit – didn’t have a ton time, so had to minimize today…
    • Double battle rope slam – 1 minute – 117 reps (NICE)
  • Cooldown
    • Flappy arm swinging
    • Light beat your boots

The whole thing clocked in around 35 minutes.

Calorie burn clocked in around 196 C.

HR chart is nothing really special. Ab wheel moved me into the 120’s which I didn’t really count on.

basement one arm hr chart.JPG

Post workout, I made a nice recovery shake…

Whole thing clocks in under 10g carbs, so not really a big hit to my Keto diet plan right now. On strength days, I like to get some carbs and protein in right after the session – helps jump start the muscle rebuilding process.

Note to self – I need to get a mobility session in as soon as I have full range of motion in my glute again. It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done a full yoga session.

Do you have any favorite home workouts that you’ve put together? Do you also train the one arm pullup? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please click “like” and share!


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