I’m at 17 now, and I’m quite pleased with this progress. However, on Monday I re-read the instructions for the program I’m following and I realized that I’ve been doing two of the five days incorrectly.
I’m trying to follow the Armstrong program, which looks like this:
- 5 maximum sets, rest 90 seconds between each.
- Pyramid (start at 1 pull-up, rest 10 seconds for each pull-up from the previous set, increase total reps by 1 until you can’t complete a set, follow up with one max set).
- 3 normal training sets, 3 chin-up training sets, 3 wide grip training sets. Rest 60 seconds between each set.
- As many normal training sets as you can do, rest 60 seconds between each set.
- Repeat whichever of the previous days was hardest, or improvised.
My issue arose in days 3 & 4. The “training set” is a set of a certain number of reps. The goal is that you must always be able to complete each set day 3, so it has to be easy enough to do that. Day 4 tells you whether you’re ready to increment the reps in your training set or not. The rule of thumb is: if you think you’re ready, bump up the count on day 4; if you can do more than 9 sets, you’re ready to increase on day 3 also.
I misunderstood the rule of thumb by omitting the “bump up the count” portion. I would try to go to the next level of training set as soon as I could do 9 sets on day 4, which meant I made these days much harder than they needed to be.
Up until the 6/7 level, this worked for me—presumably because I had already reached these levels in the past, and was simply recovering strength. But my training set level has sort of plateaued at 6/7 (I can barely complete day 3 at 7 reps, and that’s on a good week). I think this misunderstanding impeded my progress somewhat, since these days are aimed at repetition and variation rather than overload.
Nevertheless, my maximum has continued to improve. I’m also planning to add the recommended push-up routine to help expedite the process.