21 Day Pull-up Challenge

During the first meeting with my personal trainer I was asked, “What’s one of your fitness goals?” I hesitantly responded, “I want to do 10 pull-ups.” The thought of committing to that kinda scared me.  I could do less than 3 real overhand pull-ups at the time. Those three usually consisted a lot of grunting, groaning, and a bead or two of sweat on my brow. Seeing how little I could do then and how far I’d have to go to get there was intimidating. Only a few months later, it seems miniscule now.

21-day-pull-up-challenge
Hanging with the boys by Tyler Bolken

I worked on my technique, cut weight and did a ton of pull-ups.  To improve my technique I used a resistance band affixed to the pull up bar to hoist myself up so I could do more reps. I also did pull ups using the TRX bands at the gym. Today I’m up to 12 pull-ups. So, I designed a little challenge with the knowledge I have. I want to up my max even more. My next milestone is 20, let’s see how far I can get towards that by the end of 21 days. I will let you know how it goes and make some tweaks as needed. Feel free to join and let me know how it goes.

So, why pull-ups?
Pull-ups are one of the most functional exercises. They work your arms, shoulders, back, and core. Plus you look like a bad-ass Spartan if you can do a ton of them correctly. I started the program doing half of my max and then working up from there. By Day 19 I’ll be doing 92% of my max. I am resting every other day to let the muscles build and recuperate. If you are new to pull-ups this might not be the challenge for you. Try resistance bands and TRX pull-ups to build your strength and technique.

Current Single Set Pull-up Max: 12 Equipment:

You can do these at the gym or in your home. I use the Iron Gym door frame pull-up bar.

Rest on even days

Here are Youtube Links to proper techniques:   Pull-up    Chin-up    Neutral Pull-up

Day 1: 6 Pull-up, 5 Chin-up, 6 Neutral Pull-up, 5 Chin-up, 4 Pull-up
Day 3: 7 Pull-up, 6 Chin-up, 7 Neutral Pull-up, 6 Chin-up, 6 Pull-up
Day 5: 6 Pull-up, 5 Chin-up, 6 Neutral Pull-up, 5 Chin-up, 4 Pull-up
Day 7: 7 Pull-up, 6 Chin-up, 7 Neutral Pull-up, 6 Chin-up, 5 Pull-up
Day 9: 9 Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 8 Neutral Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 7 Pull-up
Day 11: 7 Pull-up, 6 Chin-up,  6 Neutral Pull-up, 6 Chin-up, 5 Pull-up
Day 13: 9 Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 8 Neutral Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 7 Pull-up
Day 15: 9 Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 8 Neutral Pull-up, 8 Chin-up, 7 Pull-up
Day 17: 10 Pull-up, 9 Chin-up, 9 Neutral Pull-up, 9 Chin-up, 8 Pull-up
Day 19: 11 Pull-up, 10 Chin-up, 10 Neutral Pull-up, 10 Chin-up, 9 Pull-up
Day 21: Max Day- Test single set max

My hopes are that at the end of the program I’ll be able to crush my max.  Let me know how you’re doing. Track your progress using the LiftApp and see the program here. Will you be taking the 21 Day Pull-up Challenge?

Author: Jeff

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