Pull Ups/Chin Ups: Unit of Measure, or Workout?
Pull Up Theory
Many people have a Love/Hate relationship with pull-ups; they can impress your friends, or leave you humbled under the bar. Most people will agree that pull ups/chin ups are an adequate way to measure your chest, arm, grip, and back strength. Opinions begin to differ when discussing the best methods for gaining strength, and increasing said pull ups. There are many methods available to help increase your maximum set of pull ups: Recon Ron, Armstrong's plan, Thibadeau's plan, weighted-chins, towel or ring pull ups, etc...; but those who have successfully increased their pull ups concur: GET STRONGER, and the pull ups will come.
Create Your Own Workout
Use the "Create Workout" option on FitLink to create a customized set of exercises to help you reach your goal. You can select a part of the body (ie, shoulders) and select exercises to target that area and maximize your workout. There are even pictures to guide you in the proper form.
Learn how to do a "Correct Pull Up"
Don't cheat yourself with poor form. A "Correct Pull Up" starts, and ends from a "dead hang", where your arms are fully extended. Experiment with your grip, palms turned toward your face, or away from your face are both considered to be correct form. Try experimenting the the width of your grip as well. Discipline yourself not to kip (kicking and squirming to get your chin over the bar).
Recon Ron Pull Ups/Chin Ups Pyramid Program
I have personally witnessed this program help Marines increase their maximum set of pull-ups. I used it myself to practice the "flexed arm hang" (the method used to measure female chest/arm strength) while I was Active Duty, and it was a tremendous help. This is a very simple program, and a great place to start when you want to increase your pull ups. If you are into body building, and can already do a significant amount of pull ups, consider creating your own program, or researching some of the above mentioned programs to increase your strength and maximum set of pull ups.
A. EACH STEP IS DONE FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE ADVANCING
B. A WORKOUT CONSISTS OF APPROACHING THE PULL UP BAR FIVE TIMES TO DO THE SPECIFIED NUMBER OF REPETITIONS IN EACH SET OF PULL UPS.
C. SET A COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE TIME LIMIT TO COMPLETE THE WORKOUT.
D. SELECT ONE DAY EACH WEEK TO OMIT THE WORKOUT AND DO 1/3 OF THE TOTAL REPETITIONS FOR THAT DAY
This matrix was taken from the Marine Corps Gazette, July 1996.