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Captain O’s Pull-up Program

How to increase your pull-ups and upper-body strength in 30 days!

**Disclaimers: 1. I am not a trainer. I am just sharing what worked for me. 2. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.**

We Marines love our pull-ups! Every year we do a Physical Fitness Test (PFT), and one of the three events is the dead hang pull-up. The number of required pull-ups for the maximum score is based upon your age. At my age, you have to do 23 correct repetitions (reps) to get a perfect score on this portion of the PFT. I usually can comfortably do anywhere between 30-40 reps.

This is the program I used to go from 7 pull-ups to 30-40 pull-ups! (Not in 30 days, but over time). You should expect to increase somewhere between 3-8 pull-ups in the next 30 days. Everyone’s body is different.

This guy could only do 7 pull-ups! πŸ‘‡πŸΎ

(I took this picture and made this “magazine cover” as a freshman in college… I do not know why. Don’t judge me! πŸ˜«πŸ˜‚)

I designed this 4-week pull-up program for a Marine that was getting between 12-16 reps with the goal of getting him to 23! Although I absolutely love the gym, he had very few weights and mostly resistance bands. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! So, I designed this moderate-advanced workout with those factors in mind.

You do not have to be a Marine to do pull-ups (or complete my program). In fact, pull-ups are an excellent upper body exercise if done right! Remember, physical toughness is one of our Pillars of Fortitude. Enough talking…

Welcome to my gym! Get Ready to BRING IT! πŸ’ͺ🏾

I will introduce to you the first four weeks of this workout plan. Here are some general rules to remember throughout:

*Do not use negative words in my gym… ESPECIALLY the word “can’t!” You can, and you will! You are mentally, spiritually, and physically strong.

*Work your core every other day. Strong core muscles are critical to doing a proper pull-up! I personally like doing 3 rounds of 3 sets of 15-20 reps of my favorite core exercises.

*As required, do 10 second weighted negative pull-ups to reach rep count. I get it! Your muscles are super tired. You just need to go shower, lie on the couch, and binge watch your favorite show. Not today! Finish every set! If you feel like you have maxed out on the amount of reps you can do, start doing “negatives.” Meaning, start off at the top of the pull-up, and slowly lower yourself down. Click here for more tips on negative pull-ups.

*Pause reps are done at the “top” of the motion unless otherwise indicated. Squeeze the targeted muscle group.

*Always engage core during pullups.

*Slow and smooth reps. Think “jazz” not “heavy metal.”

*I use the term “pull-up” very loosely. I want you to do CHEST ups! None of that “chin barely going above the bar” stuff.

*Warm up, cool down, remain hydrated, fuel your body with the proper nutrition, and have fun!

*Record your max reps before starting the program and after finishing the program.

*I recommend adding at least 3 cardio sessions for at least 30 mins a day. Also, I recommend adding a recovery day between each of the below workout days.

Let’s Get to Work!

Shoulder Day (Day 1):

1. Endurance set:

–2 sets of Max reps–2 min ammo can/military press (90 sec break in between sets). For reference, a military ammo can is normally 30-50 lbs. You can use a sandbag, gallon of water, whatever you’d like.

2. Front raises (3 second pause reps with resistance bands or dumbbells).

— 4 sets of 10-12 reps (60-80 sec breaks between sets)

3. Upright row (3 second pause reps with resistance bands or dumbbells).

— 4 sets of 10-12 reps (60-80 sec breaks between sets)

4. Close grip (6 inches or less between hands) underhand pullups (bar to upper chest). (2 second pause rep at the top)

— 4 sets of 8-10 reps (90-120 sec breaks between sets)

5. Lat Raises (2 sec pause with resistance bands)

–4 sets of 10-12 reps (60-80 sec breaks between sets)

Arm Day (Day 2):

1. Endurance set:

–2 sets of Max reps 2 min close grip pushups (90 sec break between sets)

2. Bicep curl:

–5 sets of 8-10 reps (3 sec pause rep with resistance bands or dumbbells).

3. Underhand pullups (12 inches between hands–bar to upper chest). (2 sec pause rep at the bottom)

–5 sets of 8-10 reps (90-120 sec breaks between sets)

4. Superset!

4a. Deep Weighted chair dips (1 sec pause rep at top)

–5 sets of 10-12 reps

4b. Tennis ball grip squeezes (5 sec rep pauses–closed fist). I use “Captains of Crush Grippers).

–5 sets of 10-12 reps

(60-80 sec breaks between sets)

5. Tricep kick back (3 sec pause rep with resistance band or dumbbells).

–4 sets of 8-10 reps

*Bonus burnout!! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ 60 sec (or max time) underhand flexed arm hang.

Back Day (Day 3):

1. Endurance set:

–Round 1: 6 reps of 15 sec overhand Pull-up negatives

(60 second break)

–Round 2: 5 reps of 10 sec overhand Pull-up negatives

(80 sec break)

–Round 3: 4 reps of 5 sec overhand Pull-up negatives

(90 sec break)

2. Superset!

2a. Overhand bent over row (3 sec pause with resistance bands or dumbbells).

–5 sets of 10-12 reps

2b. Underhand bent over row (3 sec pause with resistance bands or dumbbells).

–5 sets of 10-12 reps

(60-80 sec breaks between sets)

3. Weighted wide grip overhand pullups (I use the plate carrier… With plates of course) *HEAVY, evenly distributed weight can be added.

*Try squeezing sandbag or other heavy weight between feet

— 6 sets of 6-8 reps (90-120 sec breaks between sets)

4. W Superman holds (3 sec pause reps)

–5 sets of 10-12 reps

(60-80 sec breaks between sets)

*Bonus Burnout!!: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ Still got more in your tank??!

–3 sets of Max reps overhand pullups.

(90-120 sec breaks between sets)

That’s it! Like, comment, share, let me know what you think. Stay motivated! πŸ’ͺ🏾

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