Can’t do a Pull-Up or a Push-Up? No problem! Follow this workout plan and in three weeks, you’ll be crushing new personal records in each exercise.
Not being able to do a Pull-Up or a Push-Up is more common than you think. I often have freshmen Division I basketball players show up to training camp without being able to perform a single repetition of either exercise. Getting my players to handle bodyweight exercises proficiently is the first step in convincing them that they can achieve anything in the weight room. A new personal record is a training victory. It not only improves their confidence, it starts the process of getting them to view the weight room as a positive environment, where goals can be accomplished.
My three-week phase incorporates a variety of Pull-Ups and Push-Ups at the end of each workout. It’s called the “Extra Credit Finisher” for obvious reasons. To increase your ability to do Pull-Ups and Push-ups, it helps to train your body using different training methods such as isometric, eccentric and increasing volume. For example, an isometric Pull-Up means you hold the top position for a certain amount of time. On an eccentric Pull-Up or Push-Up, you lower yourself slowly, training your muscles during the descent. Increasing volume means increasing the total number of Pull-Ups and Push-Ups you do weekly. Even if this means adding a band for assistance, the goal is to get more repetitions.
From week to week, the work demands on your body increase. If at any point an exercise becomes too easy, make the necessary adjustments so you’re constantly challenging yourself. For example, if on Week 2 of the volume Pull-Ups, the 1.5-inch band is making the Pull-Up too easy (reps 8, 9 and 10 are a breeze), change to the 1-inch band. Or, if the eccentric Push-Ups are too easy, add a weight to your back or put on a weight vest to make the exercise more challenging.
When Week 4 comes around, it’s time to retest. Make sure you are well rested on testing day, turn up the Tupac on the stereo system and get after those Push-Ups and Pull-Ups!