I also struggled with this exercise, but I have to say, my bar is more like hip height, a bit lower actually. I trained on this exercise really long (maybe 3 or 4 month) and as I was not really sure it really would help me with real pullups (because I knew I could do some pullups already, maybe 5 or so), I eventually set a goal of 2×20 of them and then moved on to Jacknife Pullups, which I am doing now. I simply got sick of the exercise. But after thinking about it and also reading C-Mass, the new book from Paul Wade I got into a different mindset and now added Australian Pullups as a seperate exercise. I’m trying to think now more along the lines of: Is the exercise giving me sthrength? Am I gaining something? And not so much I want to get to the real cool moves like Pullups etc.
Also what Coach Paul says is: the difficulty of the exercise should be between Step 1 and Step 3 (the Jacknife Pullups), so try the third Step and if you find it easy or easier than the Australians, then maybe you are doing them in a too difficult form. I am now happy with the Australians as a seperate progression but you have to decide for yourself.
As a general tip, don’t get too hung up on a specific exercise, if it really doesn’t work. The aim is to always get stronger and progress and if you find a better exercise in good form to progress you can try that or if you have to add in a step, you can do that. There are other instances where this will possibly happen, for example in the squats series from Close Squats to Uneven Squats, I couldn’t do a single Uneven Squat after hitting the progression standard for close ones. So I am now doing some steps in between, for example sitting uneven squats (sit down at some point during the squat and progress by using lower things to sit on) or just grabbing onto something for balance and using that less and less. Handstand pushups I also find difficult, so I added Pike Pushups. So feel free to add steps or modify steps, as long as you do it in good form and you see a progress in strength would be my tip.
I hope that helped a bit.
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