Using Negatives to Increase Pull-up Strength

I've been so lethargic the past ten days from a chest cold I've had (I just was put on an antibiotic yesterday), and just haven't been in the shape to workout. I feel especially bad in the mornings and before bed, and cough sporadically through out the day. 

I'm super pissed, because I've been doing great and making awesome strength gains. Is there a right way to get back into lifting after a set back or being out of commission? I know this is a stupid question... but just thought I'd ask! Keep up the great work!


My Answer: When you get back into training after an illness, you should do a low set program to ease you back in.  Stick with 2-3 sets per exercise.  Don't train to failure and don't do any shock techniques like set extenders or forced reps or negatives.

Do this for the first week, then up the intensity and volume the second week.

What's up James? I was reading one of your articles, and I wanted to know if you could give me any advice on getting better at pull ups. When it comes to them, I can't do them to save my life. Usually I end with 1 rep. LOL! Does the one foot in a chair while the other hangs actually help you get better? Thanks ahead for any advice.

-Chris W.

My Answer: Yes, doing pull-ups with one foot on the chair can help you get better at pull-ups.  You can essentially "assist" yourself in completing pull-ups.

To help build your pull-up strength, you can also do negative pull-ups.  So if you can only do one pull-up, then you can prop yourself up back on to the bar and lower yourself under control.  Try to do 2-3 negative pull-ups.

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