Fighter Pullup Program

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Thorne, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Thorne

    Thorne Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Hi all --

    I just completed the FPP and managed to increase my max reps from 6 to 13, so very pleased. Worked the 5RM version of the program even though I could do 6 at the start (I think keeping a rep in the tank helped) and employed a GTG approach, often taking 30+ minutes between sets. As background, I'm a 35 yo male.

    My question is really two-fold:

    (1) Any thoughts on the kind of volume going forward that will / might be required to maintain the strength that I have gained here? I have every intention of continuing to do pullups along with the rest of my training, but I'm wondering if maintenance will require certain minimums? At the tail end of the FPP the volume pushes +200 pullups a week...

    (2) Is it reasonable to expect continued gains if repeating the program after a period of time off? I was considering doing it again at the 5RM level but just adding load. Wondered if any others have done the program more than once and your experience in doing so.

    Oscar likes this.
  2. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Good work on the FPP.
    Both of your questions prompt me to ask a couple of my own.
    What are your training goals? Sport? Professional? Etc?
    You mention the rest of your training. What else to you specifically do?

    I am a fan of, and have had great success with weighted pull-ups. And yes I have done the program many times (weighted) in the past. I found that after several cycles in a row it became a case of diminishing returns. So I would switch to alternative pull-up modalities for some cycles, before I started FPP again.
    damogari and Steve Freides like this.
  3. Thorne

    Thorne Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Thanks offwidth. I have a desk job, so no professional or particularly sport-specific goals, nor am I training at the moment for anything like TSC. I am by no means the strongest guy in any room but have dedicated time over the last few years to building up a reasonable base of strength (1.8-1.9x bwt back squat, similar levels on deadlift, weighted pullup w/ +75#). I enjoy working toward specific strength benchmarks like these and others and certainly have further to go but my conditioning is lacking needs greater attention right now. I'm currently following crossfit programming that lifts heavy once or twice a week and is more biased toward this need. So I suppose I was wondering whether I needed, in the context of that type of programming, to make sure that I get a certain amount of pullup volume in order to maintain what I have won here on FPP. I'm familiar with the saying "To press a lot you must press a lot." I wondered if it applied similarly to bodyweight work like the pullup. Or have you maybe instead found that strength gained here has been fairly "sticky" and required only moderate maintenance work?
  4. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Interesting thought. I do most of my strength training to support other activities; so it's difficult to say. For instance one of the things I do is climb. So I am pulling a lot anyways. As you are probably aware there is the S.A.I.D. principal. I more or less subscribe to it. So yeah, if you want be be good at pull-ups, you need to do pull-ups for the most part.
    At the end of the day, a person can only do so much. At the end of the day a person can be 'okay' at a bunch of things, but only good at a select few, and great at even less.
  5. kmivanov

    kmivanov Second Post


    I don't want to start new topic, so let me ask some questions about program.
    I passed through 1 full cycle from 6RM to 11RM, but I'm stuck on 12RM even with 30+ minutes rest between sets.
    I have two goals:
    1. 25 RM
    2. To do 105 tactical pull ups less than 7 minutes including rest between sets (somehow like 25+23+21+19+17).
    The question is how to overcome the plateau at 12RM?
    Any thoughts?
  6. Maine-ah KB

    Maine-ah KB Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    So I have two a thought.
    thought 1 incorporate 1-2 day of heavy weighted pull ups at rm4-5 for 5-8sets of 2-3. maybe 1 day of volume so 25-50 pull ups in as few sets as posable or 1-2 days of gtg. the heavy weighted pull ups will make you much stronger and sheer volume will make sure your specifically good at doing a lot of reps.
    Thought 2. loose weight, you may not have any fat to lose in which case this doesn't apply but the leaner you are the the overall intensity lowers.
    Karen Smith, kmivanov and offwidth like this.
  7. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Welcome to SF...
    I will second the good advice from @Maine-ah KB

    I have found heavy weighted pull-ups being a good plateau buster.

    This chart represents a max strength programme, but doing something like this may help overcome your 12RM. The key to following this is you need to constantly adjust weight to ensure you are really at a RM each time.

    Your goal numbers are stout. Please ensure you are doing enough preventive care, especially for your elbows.

    A question for you, if you don't mind... Is there some underlying purpose for these pull-up numbers?
    Neagu George, kmivanov and damogari like this.
  8. Kyle Kowalczuk

    Kyle Kowalczuk Triple-Digit Post Count

    I have maintained my 30 strict pull ups while working on my snatches for the TSC. I have done this by undulating between a modified FPP and weighted pull up schemes. Even with my max number of pull ups I wasn't doing 200+ a week. More like 115-130. When doing weighted pull ups I would usually follow a 5x3 or 5x1.

    For myself with that much volume I would have to do preventative care (prehab) in order to prevent tennis elbow or golfers elbow.
    Karen Smith likes this.
  9. damogari

    damogari Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @offwidth thank you for this program, what % of RM should be used there?
  10. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    As close to 100 as you can make it...
    In other words the weight should allow you to only do the number of reps required. No more, no less...
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
    damogari likes this.
  11. damogari

    damogari Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    So it should be 1RM to 3RM depending on the day, am I right? It looks like this program requires much experience, which I am lacking, but will try it after I finish my current FPP cycle anyway :)
  12. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts


    I have run this programme a number of times with great results.
    Note: I have only done this using rings
  13. kmivanov

    kmivanov Second Post

    Hi! Thank you for your attention!

    There is a kind of combat readiness test in some Russian SOF called "Sotochka" ("One hundred"). In that test operator does 100 strictly tactical pull-ups ASAP. 1st set with any numbers of reps, but 2nd no less than 20. For every set you plus 1 minute to result time (for example, you do 100 pullups for 10 minutes in 5 sets, so your overall time is 10 minutes+5sets*1 minutes=15 minutes). Average time is 11 minutes 7 seconds for 4 sets of pull-ups.

    So my first goal is to do at least 25 reps in one set.
    When I meet my first goal, may be I evaluate my second goal.
    offwidth likes this.
  14. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    That's tough...

    Have fun!
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  15. ToddCO

    ToddCO Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Hi @offwidth, I'm on Day 3 of the program, but adjusted for higher reps. I read your comment about preventative care / prehab for elbows. Do you have any tips for this?

    A bit of background, I'm 38, training for TSC, non-athlete, train for fun/skiing/climbing. The last TSC I achieved 21 RM with 2 no-reps. Aiming for 25+ for the TSC in October.

    The last week of my program is 462 total reps, so it sounds like I really need to figure out prehab now.

  16. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    I'll give you the tip you probably don't want to hear first...
    • Don't do so many pull-ups! I too train for climbing (amongst other things). Pull-ups are undoubtedly the least important physical training for climbing by far. Any kind of climbing! I would be more inclined to do way fewer pull-ups. But do them weighted. I would be inclined to do a 1RM, 3RM, or 5RM programme. I know that doesn't help you with TSC prep...but you asked...
    Now for the tips you might want to hear... (and may help even if you don't follow the first one...:)
    • Do the majority of your pull-ups on rings. Gymnastics rings, or better yet Metolius Rock Rings.
    • Do Finger Extensors religiously.
    • Do wrist pronators. 3 sets of 12 with an appropriate load for you.
    • Do reverse wrist curls from the neutral position.
    • If you start to get elbow pain... stop. Reassess what you are doing.

    (What type of climbing are you doing?)
    The Nail and Karen Smith like this.
  17. ToddCO

    ToddCO Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    @offwidth Many thanks for the tips, much appreciated.

    I mostly climb indoors for exercise and for fun. Living in Boulder, it's almost mandatory. I climb 5.12 on rope and up to v5 bouldering. I have friends who climb at the same level and can't do a single pull-up, so I've learned it's very much about technique (and fingers/forearms).

    My StrongFirst training is really just for the sake of training, which I enjoy.

    I like your tip about doing weighted pull-ups at lower reps, especially after just finishing my 4th day of the high volume program. ;)

    My StrongFirst coach has been getting into Kinstretch for prehab/rehab, so in addition to your suggestions for wrists and fingers, I think I'll give that a shot for elbows, shoulders, hips, etc.

    I'm not yet sure if I'll switch to weighted, I'd like to finish off this one month (assuming no pain) just to see how it goes, but long-term I'd definitely prefer low-volume weighted pull-ups to reduce injury, get stronger and enjoy it a lot more.

    I'm somewhat curious how much a weighted program would help with TSC. Even if it'd just help a little, that'd be fine by me. I need to work more on my deadlift and snatch anyway.
  18. Karen Smith

    Karen Smith Chief SFB Bodyweight Instructor Master Instructor

    Prehab-Rehab is SO important for high volume pullups. Make sure you stretch fingers (also counter the stretching with band resistance for fingers), work your wrist in all angles, work elbows and shoulders also.

    As for hitting a plateau, take a few days or maybe even a week off then you can either begin the FPP program again or set a program to wave the load from day to day (L,M, H) for a 3xweek program. You can also do a short program of weighted with lower reps and then return to the FPP.
  19. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    So do you climb at The Spot? Or Movement?
  20. ToddCO

    ToddCO Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Have climbed at both, but mostly Movement these days.

    Are you in Colorado too? Or have you just climbed here before?

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