One-Arm Pull-Ups

Post questions and tips on developing maximal strength.

One-Arm Pull-Ups

Postby Guest » Dec 13, 2003 05:51

If there is anybody around who can do one-arm pullups:
Please let me know how you trained for it.

Postby Guest » Dec 16, 2003 14:45

I cannot do a one-arm pull up, but attached is a very good article about pull ups by John Allstadt.

I do not claim to be an expert so treat this with a grain of salt. If a one-arm pull up is important to you, you might position yourself at bar height, such as standing on a stool or chair, and get into the contraction position of a one-arm pull up. Try to maintain this contraction for a few seconds. Give yourself sufficient rest and do it again.

If my understanding of human physiolology is correct, to get strong enough to do a one-arm pull up, you want to build strength, not strength endurance. I believe this is the reason for sets of 5 (max) when doing regular two arm pull up or chin ups. If you do sets until fatigue you are stressing the CNS, not building strength.

I hope this article is helpful. ... rticleid=7

Postby Guest » Dec 16, 2003 17:33

There's two ways of achieving the one arm pullup. Either by pullup endurance or by maximal strength. You're usually able to do a one arm pullup if you can do 27 consecutive pullups. Or lifting 2/3 of your body weight in weighted pullups. you should do the few reps and sets, but use heavier weights, since u want maximal strength. I am not an expert on this and I can't do a one arm pullup myself, but I hope this helps.

Postby tsdsensei » Dec 16, 2003 23:44

I admire you if you can do a one arm pullup. I can't do more than one or two pulllups with both arms.
I am a 49 year old martial artist with 32 years & 5 black belts. I teach Tang Soo Do with a little Wado-ryu. Being 49 I can always use suggestions on training methods that work for my age without overdoing it.
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Postby Guest » May 23, 2004 10:08

If you mean the one where you grab your forearm with one hand and the bar with the other, I can do about 6 of those.

One way I found to train for that is to do a form of pullup where you stand under the bar but sideways. Grip the bar with your hands right in back of each other and do pullups to each side of your head.

That movement seems to help do the one arm PU for me.

Good luck

Postby Mirin Dajo » Jul 28, 2004 17:43

Anyone who can knock off a dozen or so two-arm pullups can do a pullup with the other hand on the wrist of the pulling hand. That's NOT a one-arm pullup. It qualifies only when your other arm is hanging free. One-arm pullups are at least as much a question of technique as of pure strength. There are people who can do up to thirty regular ones but not a single one-armer, and there are one-armer specialists who are nothing spectacular in any other strength feat.

I haven't personally succeeded in a one-armer, yet, but I'm practicing by grasping a towel thrown over the bar with my left hand and lowering the grip as I get stronger. You really need to tension your whole body to succeed, not just pull with your arm / back. Good luck!
Mirin Dajo

Postby Guest » Sep 07, 2004 16:28

I am a rock climber and have recently (past few months) been able to do one arm pull-ups. The way that I trained for it was to hang from a bar ( I used a tree limb), and swing side to side. Feel your sides working for you and your lateral pull muscles. This is where it starts. Then eventually while SLOWLY swinging lift your knee up to your elbow and then pull with your arm. At first keep both hands on and then when you have built the strength you can attempt the infamous one arm pull-up. For me it is still a dynamic movement......Lift knee, pull with your laterals, and then your arm. Also I would do a regular pull up then let go with one arm and SLOWLY come down...One arm pull up in reverse motion. This will help you understand body positioning. Good luck.

Postby Guest » Sep 27, 2004 07:59

I trained for my 1 arm pull ups by hanging weight off me while doing regular 2 arm pull ups, hang enough weight on you so that you can only do 5 pull ups, build up your maximum strength this way, keep adding weight, and keep attempting the 1 armer and within 1 - 2 months you will surprise yourself with your first 1 arm pull up - you can then go down the pub that night know ing you are "double 'ard"

one arm chins

Postby Malcolm » Nov 14, 2004 15:54

Me and my brothers have been doing those since our mid teen.

Here is how we got there.:

1- Chins using a deadlift grip (one hand in supination, the other in pronation), work to 4 X 10, alterning your grip with each set. your nervous system will trow more weight on the arm with the best mechanical advantage.

2- Move to the assisted one arm chin, gripping your chinning arm wrist with your free hand, work to 3 X 5 for each arm.

From there, just lower your assisting hand as you get stronger, till one day you can do 5 X3 or 5X4 with your assisting hand on the shoulder of your chinning arm. When you reach that point, you are ready for the one arm chin.

You can also tie a rope to the chinning bar and grip it with your assisting hand. Just put less and less tension on the rope as you get stronger.

Hope this will help.


Postby ikegk » Nov 29, 2006 00:41

hey, i'm a fellow martial artist and rock climber, and i can do around 5 1-arms on a really good day. Here's what's worked for me...

Frenchies: Do as many reps of the following as you can, and as fast as you can, and do three sets, with 5 minutes rest in between each set. Do this every other day...
1 rep = Pullup as high as possible (hands at shoulder/chest level) and hold for 5 seconds; lower, then pullup, then lower to 90-degrees and hold for 5 seconds; lower, then pullup, then lower to 120-degrees, then lower, then finally pullup again and lower.

Yes, that's one rep, and when you can do between 3 and four entire reps per set for 3 sets, add some weight. But, at this point, it's possible you can already do 1-arms.

Also, just campus as many really, really easy boulder problems as you can find at an indoor climbing gym (campusing means to JUST use your arms). If you do this for a little while, you should notice huge power gains.

Remember, speed is important for these exercises to gain power, which is more important that just static strenght for a 1-arm. Good luck!
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Postby DanBor » Nov 29, 2006 04:24

Thanks for the tip.

I have a goal to perform 1 armers but not at the moment. My current routine are weighted pullups with various grips (I like towel pullups the most). I use weight from 15-30 kg depends on a workout (strenght endurance or max.strenght).

You say it is important to perform with speed? That would bring some explosive power. So far I was performing pullups slow and controled to really feel the tension.

Your method seems brutal - I'm gonna try it.

I think what has helped you (beside your method) is also climbing.

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