Very happy to have found this forum; Dragon Door forums are excellent but it’s a bit quiet there these days and I also desperately needed a calisthenics-specific forum!
I am finding the horizontal pullups (step 2) of CC challenging. I previously managed to achieve 3×30 reps from sternum height; that took a long time as I added a rep per week. Then I moved down to solar plexus height. I have built up to 20 reps for the 1st set and 16 reps for the 2nd set. I aim to get 2×20 before adding a third set. I am adding a rep per week to the 2nd set. I would like to get 3×30 but at this rate, it will take at least half a year or more minimum by the look of things. Even adding one rep per week is sometimes a struggle. Is 3×30 realistic? Or should I attain a goal of less reps and sets then lower the height or even go onto step 3 (jacknife pullups)?
Note that I can do multiple pullups/chinups. I test my self on occasion; last time, I did 7 chinups! Strange, that I can pullup my whole bodyweight yet find rows tough!
Forgot to say, I do my rows using home-made “TRX”suspension straps attached to my bar, if that makes any difference.
Thanks again all,
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.
Australian pull ups are a great exercise but frankly it seems rather inefficient (time-wise) to simply add 1 rep per week when you’re already doing 20+ reps per set. Now if you’re only doing like 10 or so and adding a rep per week that would be more reasonable. Frankly, once you get to the 20+ rep range you’re fine with Aussies. I would suggest focusing your strength training on pull ups or chin ups and use Aussies for volume. They’re still a great exercise and totally worth doing for the benefits they provide to the rotator cuffs, but you will see much greater strength gains if you utilize regular pull ups for your strength training. The whole point is it should be hard, ideally 12 or fewer per set should be challenging. 20+ is endurance territory.
Hey guys, thank you for the replies.
From what you’ve advised, I think I’ll try to attain 2×20, maybe 3×20 max, then try jacknife pullups. I’ll definitely keep the horizontal pulls as a separate progression, since my research indicates that it works the rear delts and different parts of the back muscles more. I guess it’ll be better for size also as I assume low rep pullups won’t add too much mass?
I guess another reason I have had difficulties is that I follow a strict 2-1-2-1 second cadence by the tick of my clock. What I’ve realised looking at videos (like Al Kavadlo’s) is that nobody seems to do Aussies that slow, so I assume such a slow cadence is unsuitable for an exercise of this difficulty?
Finally, do you guys think the rep and set ranges for the CC pullup series may be a bit too high for some people? I mean 2×15 half pullups seems reasonable, as does 2×10 full ones, but 3×20 jacknife pullups seems quite a lot, especially at 2-1-2-1 cadence. Sisko, how are you progressing with Jacknifes? Are you finding it a struggle to get to 3×20 at a 2-1-2-1 cadence?
Progress is Slow, I’m Not the best at Pullups, I’m relatively Big and Not too light, so that may be a Reason. I try to progress 1 rep per week and I am now at 13, so still some Way to go, but I also get better at full pushups (when I try them), so thats ok for me.
PistolPhil, thanks for your input! It’ll definitely come in useful.
Sisko, I’m sure you’ll get there. Good luck.
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