what do you guys think about pull ups and dips with a weigthed backpack. i’m 15 and i can do 7 pull ups and 15 dips. is using a weigthed backpack effective when it comes to increasing strength and endurance?
Steve has some great points here, heed the advice that his experience provides.
One other thing I think is relevant to adding weight is negative reps. I love doing slow negatives for advanced moves that you don’t quite have the strength for. One arm chins, full range handstand push ups, etc. In this case, specifically weighted chin up negatives. Grab a weight that will allow you to do only like 2 or 3 reps, jump to the top, and slooooowwwwly lower yourself down to the bottom; I’m talking 5 seconds minimum, but ideally 10 or more. Really feel the tension as your muscles expand; imagine slowly drawing back a bow or a huge rubber band. Try to get like 8 or so reps in per set, for about 3 sets. Then, the next workout, go back to full chin ups only without weight and see if you’ve improved.
I wouldn’t suggest doing heavy negatives for more than one exercise in one workout, as it is extremely taxing on the central nervous system. Also, be extremely cautious when using this approach for dips, since the shoulder mobility requirements are higher to begin with.
And, as I usually recommend, I encourage you to round out this training with back bridge variations and one leg squats (pistols and/or shrimps). Once you can do 20 really clean dips and I’d say a solid 15 pull ups, you can start working on handstand push ups. In the meantime, simply try to get comfortable holding a handstand at a wall, and you may want to practice hand balancing with the elbow lever and frog stand.
i started this week with monday 7 sets of pull ups (50 sec rest). i did 6 then 4, 3, 3, 3, 2. i did 6 sets tuesday and today i also did 6 sets 50 sec rest. i did 10, 5, 3, 2, 2, 2. is this good? i notice my first sets going up in numbers but my last ones going down?
Well you did 3 more reps in the same number of sets in the same amount of time. That’s a 14% improvement in rep count, which is great. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect gains like this continuously, some days you will not feel as strong as on other days, but notice that you see fairly consistent improvement over time.
Here are a couple of slightly different approaches:
Try ascending ladders. Start at 1 rep, add a rep every set with fairly short rest periods between each set (personally I did maybe 10-30 seconds). Once you get to a high enough set that you can cleanly finish and maybe have one set left, restart at 1 and go back up. I would descend my max rep set by 1 every round. For example 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.2.1. Then after the last set maybe do a set to failure.
Pick a number near your max, in your case I’d say 8. Start busting out sets of 8. Once you can no longer finish, do negatives for the remainder of the set. So say your first 3 sets are 8 each, but the next set you only get 5, so immediately do 3 negatives.
my pull up form is pretty sloppy. i think my legs are straight and abs are tight. its a bit hard to get trough the first part of a pull up: my upper back rounds, chest hollow and neck stretched. how can i fix this or will this fix itself after a couple of weeks?
ps: what do you think of crossfit?
Focus on keeping your chest pitched up/forward and your shoulder blades retracted; think of rolling your shoulders back and locking them back. It’s sort of like shrugging only in reverse, kinda.
I’m not a big fan of cross fit. I mean, it does take and provide a ton of conditioning, but it really is a sport rather than a training program, and this can be seen in the emphasis on speed and reps rather than strictness of form and building strength. Some people get hurt doing it because they use poor form (rounding lower back during deadlift is the most obvious culprit I think) and/or they simply aren’t conditioned enough for the workload and they approach it as a super intense training program…most of the people who excel at cross fit are already well conditioned athletes going in. Also, from what I’ve read you can get a basic cert as a cf trainer in a weekend course, plus the cost of actually working out at a crossfit gym is ridiculous, when you consider you could go to the park and learn how to do stricter muscle ups and pistol squats by yourself for free. I also find it a bit irritating that some people see cross fitters doing muscle ups with humongous kips and assume that is how muscle ups are done and that they are all technique and not a worthwhile strength building exercise…but of course a strong parallel can be drawn when observing the same cross fitters doing pull ups with equally huge kips.
Then again, it can be good in the right context for the right type of person. Also, I’ve spoken to a few crossfitters, and they seem to be nice people who are genuinely interested in fitness. Sure you hear stories and see videos of so and so who’s acting like a pretentious snob because he thinks he’s the greatest thing since Hercules, but there are people like that everywhere, it’s not limited to crossfit and it’s not limited to fitness for that matter.
Ultimately, view it as a sport. To that end, it is a very young sport, and I’m sure it will be refined in time, if it is to stick around.
Great advice, Steve and Robby.
Personally, when I think of Crossfit, I think of injury. As a teenager, I did heavy training for martial arts and I got hurt. My teachers would train weightlifters from the gym next door for a few weeks and then have me spare with them. The last guy I fought had 85 lbs. on me at the time and he was actively trying to injure me (he succeeded). I should have been hurt more often than I was, but I was lucky. Crossfit reminds of that same sort of mentality where they encourage people to push forward without regard to their body.
Here is an interesting article from the NYTimes about Crossfit that is worth reading: “Getting Fit, Even if it Kills You”
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