Have you seen those guys online who call themselves the “Bar Brothers?” If so, then you know what kind of amazing pull-ups and pull-up variations they can do. If you are someone like me, then you too become very inspired after watching their videos. The one thing that always blows me away when watching the “Bar Brothers” is the amount of stamina they have. It seems as though they can do pull-ups for days. After trying several different pull-up variations and doing a lot of training with my friend in the army reserves, I have come up with a few basic pull-up exercises to improve stamina in order to perform more like the “Bar Brothers”.
Before you continue reading, I want to point out that this article is intended for non-beginners when it comes to pull-ups. These few pull-up variations that I will be talking about are for people who have done pull-ups before and are looking to mix up their regular routine or for those who want to increase their pull-up stamina and be able to do multiple pull-ups in a row.
In college, my friend Ben and I have stumbled upon the art of pull-ups. Pull-ups are one of the few workouts that can be turned into an all-body workout since there are hundreds of variations to them. The toughest aspect of pull-ups, however, is being able to do multiple sets of them in a row without getting too fatigued so that you can get a full forty-five minute workout in before being burned out. I have three pull-up variations I would like to tell you about that I use in order to increase the amount of pull-ups you can do in a row as well as increase the number of sets you can do of them. I am living proof of these variations because I went from being able to do 22-23 pull-ups in a row to about 39-41 depending on how fresh my body is that day.
The first pull-up variation I use to increase number of reps is the simplest of my three. Grab the bar like you would do for a normal pull-up. (hands just wider than shoulder width apart with back of hands facing you) Now simply pull yourself up from a free-hanging position and hold yourself at the peak of the pull-up for a count of three seconds. Then lower yourself down as slowly as you can back to a free-hanging position. Do this as many times as you can per set, and do about 2 or 3 sets of this workout. This may sound like a joke of a way to increase pull-up count, but by training your body to hold itself up at the peak of a pull-up for three seconds, it will be much easier when doing normal reps of pull-ups where your body only holds itself up for maybe half a second at the most depending on how fast you are going.
My second pull-up variation is a bit more complicated than the first, but I would still categorize it as a simple variation. For this variation you will either need a belt with a chain attached to it to hold weights or be able to hold a weight between your legs or feet. All you do for this pull-up variation is strap an extra 10-25 pounds of weight to your body and do standard continuous pull-ups. Your goal is to be able to 10 less reps with the weight attached to you than you would be able to do without weight. For example, if you can do 25 pull-ups in a row regularly, you want to find a weight that you can get 15 pull-ups with. Once you can do that consistently for three sets, then you want to increase the amount of extra weight strapped to your body. The reason I only stated up to 25 pounds in this article is because if you can do three sets with that much weight attached to your body at 10 reps less than your body weight, you will most likely be able to do about 50 pull-ups in a row which means you are extremely advanced. Obviously the important thing to remember with this exercise is that the number of normal pull-ups that you can do with just your body weight should be increasing each week, meaning you will have to increase the reps you do with the extra weight attached to your body.
My third and final pull-up variation to increase stamina and/or number of reps of pull-ups in a row is called explosive pull-ups. You may have seen or done push-ups before where you push up, clap, then land. This is the same concept you will use for this pull-up variation. You grab the bar like you would to do a normal pull-up. Then you pull yourself up as fast as you can, almost pretending to send yourself through the ceiling. When you get to the peak of the pull-up, let your momentum take you above the bar, let go, clap, then on your way down catch the bar. This is a very fun exercise to do and is a good one to impress your buddies at the gym with. The goal is to do as many of these as you can in a row and the faster you go, the easier it is because you can keep your momentum going. Like the previous two variations I mentioned, you should do 2-3 sets of these as well. The more the merrier.
I promise you that if you include these three pull-up variations into your workout, you will notice a rise in the number of pull-ups you are able to do in a row as well as an increase in pull-up stamina. I have been doing these variations consistently now for about six months and I have noticed a huge improvement. Now I sometimes do a pull-up workout for an hour and a half straight before feeling fatigued. I can assure you the same results, so next time you hit the gym, give these pull-up variations a shot!