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How can I improve my pullups?

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: I have a problem with pullups. I can do only three at a time with my own bodyweight. How should I proceed?

A: Never mind the chinups and pullups until you can do at least six reps of pulldowns in perfect form with a little more than your bodyweight, bringing the bar level with your clavicles on each rep.

Alternatively, if your training facility has a chinup/pullup machine that’s counterbalanced for assistance, you can use that. By adjusting the machine according to your current strength level, you can still do chinups or pullups, albeit assisted, even though you can’t do the exercise in the conventional manner for enough reps. As your strength increases, adjust the machine accordingly until, eventually, you can do the exercise without assistance.

—Stuart McRobert


Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new BRAWN Series, Book 1: How to Build Up to 50 Pounds of Muscle the Natural Way, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or

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