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The 1000 Pull-Up Workout | Bodyweight Armageddon WOD

hot girl pull-up workoutOver the years I’ve tried and experimented with just about every exercise and training tool out there…

…Dyno, Prowler, Tires, Sleds, Barbells, Dumbbells, Bodyweight, TRX, Kamagon Balls, Ropes, Rings, Sandbags, Stairs, Hills…

…Sledgehammers, Kegs, Atlas Stones, Bodyweight, Bootleg Home Depot Creations…etc.

The list goes on and on.

I’m always trying to come up with new ways to push myself.

New ways to get stronger.

New ways to improve my conditioning.

New ways to crush old PR’s.

New ways to take it to the next level.

New ways to kick more ass.

With that said, it seems like the longer I train and the more I learn, the more I believe in the “less is more” theory.

Sure, it’s always great to try new tools and experiment with new methods, but it seems like I always find myself going back to the basics when it’s time to make any significant improvements.

So for the past 3 weeks I’ve been in the lab experimenting with pull-up overloads and various other methods of self-torture and gym badassness.

My mission was to improve my upper body strength as well as my conditioning (and develop a vice grip where if I locked someone up in a choke hold or grappling move it would feel like he is being strong-armed by an angry grizzly bear).

In order to do that, I knew I couldn’t mess around with any fancy new age crap. I needed to get back to fundamentals – and I knew that the best exercise to take me there was the pull-up.

The pull-up is king when it comes to upper body strength development, which is exactly why many in strength training circles have labeled it “The Upper Body Squat”. In my opinion, the pull-up is arguably the greatest muscle building exercise of all time.

Pull-ups engage several muscle groups in the back and arms (delts, traps, and biceps), a few muscle groups in the shoulders, and even activate the ab muscles.

With so many muscles recruited, it’s hard to argue that this legendary compound exercise shouldn’t be a cornerstone of every strength training program. The level of neuromuscular activation you get from pull-ups is greater than any other comparable exercise out there.

Bottom line, pull-ups are for badasses.

If you’re a healthy individual and can’t do a single pull-up…well…that’s gotta be a little embarrassing (especially if you’re a guy). You never want to be “that dude” in the gym who is struggling to do ONE PULL-UP. It’s such a sad sight to see.

With that said…we all have to start somewhere so if you suck at pull-ups it’s time to get your mind right and add pull-ups into your training regiment ASAP. Yes that means you too, ladies!

But I digress…

Long story short, this whole thing started about 3 weeks ago when I was lying awake in my bed one night at 2am and thought to myself “the gym has been a bit boring lately, I need a new training goal to help spice things up”

…and then I had the brilliant idea of forcing myself to do 1,000 pull-ups every week (with various holds) to push myself to reach the next level and challenge myself in ways I had never experienced before.

1,000 pull-ups a week! Am I nuts? I didn’t even know if I would be able to do 500 a week.

I know doing 1,000 pull-ups a week sounds crazy…but just like every other great decision I’ve ever made, I simply ignored all logic and just said “fuck it”. Let’s just go with it.

Of course halfway into the first workout the next day I thought to myself “dude, this was a horrible idea”…but I forced myself to push through it and I’m still here alive and kicking.

Over the past 21 days, I’ve done roughly 3,000 pull-ups.

Did it suck? Kinda.

Was it intense. You bet your ass it was.

But did I die?

Before I started out on this pull-up suicide mission from hell I figured I’d probably feel super tired and sore due to the increased volume. Yes I did get a little sore (especially by the 2nd week) but surprisingly I feel stronger & healthier than ever.

In fact, I look forward to “pull-up day” now at the gym. It’s hard to explain, and I’m not being cocky when I say this but I kinda feel like I’m unconquerable and somewhat invincible now.

Long story short, this entire experience has shifted my perspective on what the human body is capable of.

I’ll post weeks 2 and 3 of this workout plan in a few days but here’s a small taste of what a typical week looked like for me using this plan:

The 1000 Pull-Up Workout

MONDAY

Set 1: Deadlifts 8X5

Set 2: Pull-ups (with various holds) 400 total reps

Wide-grip Pull-ups 10X10
Weighted Pull-ups 8X5
Archer Pullups 8X8 superset with Around the worlds 8X8
Clap Pullups 3X5
Muscle Ups 3X5
Cliffhangers 3X5
Towel Pullups 3X5
Regular Grip Pullups (slow negative) 3X8
Chinups 5X8

TUESDAY

Set 1: Dumbbell Bench Press (slow negative) 3X8 superset with Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3X8

Set 2: Barbell Shoulder Press 3X8 superset with Reverse Grip Barbell Shoulder Press 3X8

Set 3: Dips (slow negative) 5X10 superset with Push-Ups 5X25

Set 4: Behind The Back Clap Muay Thai/Hindu Push-Ups 3X10 superset with Pushups With Chains 3X10

Set 5: Cable Crossovers 4X10 superset with SpiderMan Push-Ups 4X10

Set 6: Handstand Push-Ups 10X10 superset with Hindu Pushups 10X10

WEDNESDAY

Round 1

Set 1: Barbell Front Squats 15 reps with 45lbs followed by 10 pull-ups and 20 knee jumps

Set 2: Barbell Front Squats 10 reps with 135lbs followed by 10 pull-ups and 20 Bodyweight Prisoner Squats

Set 3: Barbell Front Squats 8 reps with 185lbs followed by 10 pull-ups and Single Leg Box Jump Snatch (8 each leg)

Set 4: Barbell Front Squats 5 reps with 225lbs followed by 10 pull-ups and Plate Pushes

jamin thompson pull-up workout

Round 2

Set 1: Jumping Barbell Back Squats 15 reps with 95lbs superset with 400m treadmill sprint

Set 2: Jumping Barbell Back Squats 15 reps with 95lbs superset with 400m treadmill sprint

Set 3: Jumping Barbell Back Squats 10 reps with 135lbs superset with 400m treadmill sprint

Set 4: Jumping Barbell Back Squats 10 reps with 135lbs superset with 400m treadmill sprint

Round 3

Set 1: Reverse Dumbbell Lunges 10 reps each leg followed by 10 pull-ups and :60 jumprope (double rotations)

Set 2: Reverse Dumbbell Lunges 10 reps each leg followed by 10 pull-ups and :60 jumprope (double rotations)

Set 3: Reverse Dumbbell Lunges 10 reps each leg followed by 10 pull-ups and :60 jumprope (double rotations)

Round 4

Set 1: 10 pull-ups followed by Heavy Bag Strikes (Kicks, Punches, Knees) for :60 and 10 KettleBell Slams

Set 2: 10 pull-ups followed by Heavy Bag Strikes (Kicks, Punches, Knees) for :60 and 10 KettleBell Slams

Set 3: 10 pull-ups followed by Heavy Bag Strikes (Kicks, Punches, Knees) for :60 and 10 KettleBell Slams

THURSDAY

Set 1: Barbell Bench Press (slow negative) 5X5

Set 2: Barbell Shoulder Press 4X8 superset with Dumbbell Lat Raises 4X8

Set 3: Powercleans 3X8 superset with Barbell Front Raise 3X8

Set 3: Behind The Back Smith Machine Shrugs 4X10 superset with Standing Rope Face Pulls 4X10

Set 4: Push-Up Variations

Hindu Pushups 3X8
Behind The Back Clap Muay Thai Push-Ups 3X8
Front Clap Push-Ups 3X8
Chest Tap Push-Ups 3X8
SpiderMan Pushups 3X8
Aztec Push-Ups 3X5
Regular Push-Ups 3X15
Dragon Walks 3X :20 seconds

Set 5: Handstand Holds 3 sets of :30 seconds

Muay Thai + Hindu Pushup mod. Working on my strength & explosiveness.

FRIDAY

Set 1: 10 RDL’s followed by 10 machine rows & 10 knee jumps (3 rounds)

Set 2: 10 Hypers with a 45lb plate followed by 20 Medicine Ball Leg Curls (3 rounds)

Set 3: Pull-ups (with various holds) 400 total reps

Wide-grip Pull-ups 10X10
L-Pullups 5X10
Archer Pullups 8X8 superset with Around the worlds 8X8
Clap Pullups 3X5
Muscle Ups 3X5
Cliffhangers 3X5
Towel Pullups 3X5
Regular Grip Pullups (slow negative) 3X8
Chinups 5X8

SATURDAY

Set 1: Ab wheel 20 reps superset with rope crunches 10 reps (4 rounds)

Set 2: Hanging leg raises 10 reps superset with scorpions 10 reps (4 rounds)

Set3: (Cardio Tri-set) :60 Heavy Bag + :60 Deadmill Sprints + :30 Treadmill Mountain Climbers (repeat 5 times)

SUNDAY

Off

FINAL THOUGHTS

As you can probably tell by now, this workout plan isn’t for beginners – it’s highly advanced. Hell, it may even be a little bit insane depending who you ask.

It’s been 3 weeks now and my ass has been completely kicked. I’m tired, and I’m sore.

I do feel a helluva lot stronger though and I’m glad I challenged myself and pushed myself in ways I had never done before.

Sure, there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) but as I pushed my body beyond its normal limits workout after workout and broke myself down…I emerged a bit stronger and gained a ton of confidence.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re not scared of a little pain in the gym. Nor do you shy away from a bit of suffering for the greater good.

There’s a difference, however, between having courage and being an idiot. So if you’re going to attempt this workout here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Always use good pull-up form. No swinging or kipping. Partial pull-ups don’t help you get stronger, they only make you look like an ass clown. Be sure to initiate with the lats (not the biceps), drive your elbows down, and pull-up to your chin.

2. Use a full range of motion. I always use a full range of motion when doing pull-ups but maintain a slight elbow bend throughout the movement as this reduces the amount of stress on my tendons and ligaments. Never start with your elbows completely locked and lower yourself until your arms are just shy of lockout (or 99% locked out).

3. Don’t do pull-ups to failure. Once your reps start to get sloppy or you can’t pull your chin up to the bar the set is over. There’s no shame in doing it right, even if it’s only for 1 or 2 reps.

4. Experiment with different grips. Some great grip variations to start with are Fat Gripz, ropes, rings, bars, towels, tennis balls hanging from a chain, beams, suspension straps, etc. Then you can mix things up with your hands using Multiple Grip Widths, Unbalanced Grips, Palms In, Palms Out. The list goes on and on. The possibilities and variations here are endless.

Pro Tip: Use a neutral grip. Since you’re going to be doing a ton of pull-ups (plus sticking to a normal workout schedule), your shoulders and elbows are gonna take a pounding. Using a neutral grip will help lower the load on your joints.

5. Use a variety of rep ranges. When building strength I recommend staying in the 3-6 rep range and using a weighted vest, dip belt, or chains. When building endurance I recommend staying in the 12-30 rep range and using just your body weight and/or bands.

6. Focus on increasing grip strength. It’s no secret, increasing your grip strength will make pull-ups feel a whole lot easier. So if you’re game, try mixing in some grip work like hexagon dumbbell holds, fat bar holds, plate pinches, crushing exercises, towels, ropes, etc.

7. Eat right. You need to provide your body with enough fuel to power through 6 grueling workout sessions (and 1,000 pull-ups) each week. You may want to think about increasing your caloric intake and using a few helpful supplements to help you recover.

8. Get enough sleep. I can’t stress enough how important recovery is if you’re going to attempt this workout plan. Sleep needs to be a priority. At least 7 hours is recommended, but shoot for 8-10 on the weekends if you can. Your body is going to take a pounding and be awfully sore, but sleep will help you achieve Wolverine like regeneration abilities so you’ll be able to hit the gym each day and crush it just like a superhero would.

9. Increase loads gradually and progressively. There’s no need to kill or injure yourself trying to be a hero – there’s no glory in that. If you’re not used to training like this, gradually work your way up to this level of volume and intensity over a period of time.

10. Have fun. At the end of the day this gym stuff isn’t life or death so don’t beat yourself up too bad mentally or emotionally if you’re struggling. Just stay positive. Breathe. Smile. Enjoy the battle. Love the process. Even the King of the Jungle was once just a tiny cub who couldn’t hunt, protect, or feed himself. Remember that.

 “What kind of results can I expect?”  That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked that question. Honestly, I don’t have a clue. There are a ton of factors to consider (training age, training level, training schedule, sleep schedule, genetics, nutrition, commitment, focus, dedication, effort, perseverance, etc). I can only assume that if you put in the work you’ll see results, but I can’t guarantee anything. The only thing I can really guarantee you is pain. Of course, if you stick with it (and have all of the other factors in check) you should see results, but the amount of success will vary from person to person.

“What if I can’t do pull-ups or regular push-ups?”  The easy answer is: this probably isn’t the workout plan for you at this point in your training. I suggest you start out focusing on mastering the basic bodyweight movements (and using good form) and slowly working your way up to doing 1 pull-up or 1 push-up on your own. Then build from there.

Thanks for reading. If you decide to try this workout please drop me a line and let me know how it went.

In the meantime if you could hit the Like button I’d really appreciate it.

PS – If you would like to learn how to quickly increase the amount of pull-ups and chin-ups you can do I highly recommend you checkout “The Pull-Up Solution“by John Sifferman. 

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