Self-Experiment | “BarStarrz: Increase your Pull-Ups” | REVIEWED | Get MAD Results in 6 Weeks!

When I asked the BarStarzz if I could send them this set of results from my latest self-experiment, they replied with this:
“We would love to see it, thank you for doing a review. Bust the myth of not working out the same muscle two days in a row”
And that’s what I’ll do: Bust the myth.
This post reveals the MAD results I obtained in just 6 weeks of calisthenic training.
No flashy equipment. No money to spend. Nothing but results to strive for.
Read on to see how I increased my Pull-Ups by an average of 132% and built a chest from the side effects…

Why Self-Experimentation?

I was first inspired to take Self-Experimentation formally by Tim Ferriss, reading about his own experiment: “From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks“. I have an analytical, scientific mind, in the sense that I look at how to solve problems / challenges with a logical, rational, somewhat scientific approach. Don’t get me wrong though, in school I didn’t enjoy practical science classes or experiments at all. I only found out this was the way my brain solved problems in the last couple of years. I like to experiment most within the field of exercise, as I find it quite easy to monitor and feel I know quite a lot about the subject already.

To explain a little more about the philosophy behind Self-Experimentation, I recommend you read this great post by Mark Sisson, from the super-successful blog, Mark’s Daily Apple.

Whatever is realised, is the truth,” – Oscar Wilde
A good way to discover the joys of realisation is through Self-Experimentation.

And like one of my all time heroes said:

Hypotheses / Reasons for doing this experiment

I wanted to find out answers to the following questions:

  • Will this program actually increase my Pull-Ups?
    Before doing this program, I was stuck on a measly 4-rep Pull-Up plateau. I have reached 20+ reps in the past, but for some reason, something had gone stagnant in my recent efforts.
  • Will I increase my Latissimus Dorsi’s strength and size?
    Since training Classical Pilates to fix my Bulging Disc back injury, my Pilates teacher told me I needed to increase my lat strength. This is because the lats play a big part in holding up your torso for correct posture in day to day life. My lat weakness was contributing to my poor posture, weakness in certain Pilates exercises, and back pain.
    I took her advice and thought this experiment would be a great way to dedicate some time to doing just that.
  • Will I increase my Pectorals’ strength and size?
    I’ve never had a chest, and came across Scooby’s videos for using squeezer Push-Ups to build a chest about 4 months ago. I didn’t have time / motivation to test his claims, until now.
  • Will I actually be able to build muscle from a calisthenics program?
    With my training in the past, I have used calisthenics programs to increase my muscular endurance, but I have never found an increase in muscle mass. I wanted to see if I could actually build a wider back and chest from this program without using any free weights.

The Workout

This workout is an amalgam of the wisdom of Charles Armstrong and the effort and publicity of the BarStarzz.
Here is the BarStarzz video explaining the workout template:


Day 1
AM: Do 3 sets of maximum reps Push-Ups, 5 minutes rest between sets.

PM: (At least 3 hours after Push-Ups were completed)
Do 5 sets of Pull-Ups, with perfect form.
90 seconds rest between sets.

Day 2
AM: Do 3 sets of maximum reps Push-Ups, 5 minutes rest between sets.

PM: Set 1: Do 1 Pull-Up, rest 10 seconds.
Set 2: Do 2 Pull-Ups, rest 20 seconds.
Set 3: Do 3 Pull-Ups, rest 30 seconds.
Set 4: Do 4 Pull-Ups, rest 40 seconds.
Your rest for this pattern is in multiples of 10 seconds,
i.e. Set Number X 10 seconds = Rest Time
Continue this pattern until your reps number does not match your set number,
i.e. you FAIL. Now rest 60 seconds, and then try one final set of max. reps.

E.G.; At Set 8, you try for 8 reps, but you only get 6. That is a FAIL.
You rest for 60 seconds, then try your final set of max. reps.

Day 3
AM: Do 3 sets of maximum reps Push-Ups, 5 minutes rest between sets.

PM: Choose your training rep. number. This is the number of reps that you could manage to do 9 sets with, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. 9 sets is a lot, so choose wisely!

Do 9 sets of your Training Rep. Number as follows:
3 sets of Normal Grip Pull-Ups
3 sets of Close Grip Pull-Ups
3 sets of Wide Grip Pull-Ups

60 seconds rest between sets. You should fail on the 9th set. If you go over 9 sets, then your Training Rep. Number is too low.
If you can’t manage 9 sets at all, then your number is too high.
Get rid of your ego when choosing your number. Remember, this workout is about perfect form, not rep count. In the beginning, my number was only 2!

Day 4
AM: Do 3 sets of maximum reps Push-Ups, 5 minutes rest between sets.

PM: Do 9 sets of your Training Rep. Number (Normal Pull-Ups)
60 seconds rest between sets

Day 5
AM: Do 3 sets of maximum reps Push-Ups, 5 minutes rest between sets.

PM: Repeat which ever day you found the hardest.

Day 6 and Day 7 are rest days.

My Situation

Money – I had no money to invest in this program. No gym membership. No equipment. I had just given up everything to move to London and was fortunate enough to have a bed in the room I was renting that had a metal frame – perfect for hanging, to do Pull-Ups.
No money? No excuses. All I had during the workouts was a bottle of water and some music pumpin’. With no Pull-Up bar options in local parks near me, my bed-frame was the next best thing!
The Push-Ups obviously needed no equipment. I had just enough space on my bedroom floor to do them.

Pull-Ups – I did half-assed L-sit Pull-Ups – where your legs are out in front of you – due to the layout of my bedroom and lack of space! I did not go to a deadhang position after each repetition for this program.
I padded the steel frame of my bed with socks to protect my hands, because I’m a dirtbag.

Push-Ups – I incorporated Scooby’s great Chest Squeezer Push-Ups, because I wanted to see if I could build a bit of a chest with this program, too. The isometric contraction needed to complete this style of Push-Up made it quite challenging.

5 minute rests – In the rest periods between the Push-Ups in the mornings, I began doing my Classical Pilates repertoire. However, I got lazier over time for some reason, devolving to stretching in the rest periods, then finally doing house errands like putting on the kettle or tidying my  tiny room!

Diet – I don’t follow a diet plan as such. I do not eat grain and I try not to eat any refined sugar. I do drink alcohol (average one beer a day, with food) and I do currently drink black coffee.

Cardio – I did no cardio during these 6 weeks other than cycling like a terrorist around the city of London. That is enough cardio for me!

Timing – For timing my rest periods, I used the fantastic online egg-timer. I have my laptop in my room, so it worked perfectly.

Here is a short demo video showing my illustrious palace of a gymnasium!

The Results and Revelations

This table below shows the results for each day of the program, at Week 1 and at Week 6.

Week Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
1 7, 6, 4, 4, 3
Total: 24
1, 2, 3, Fail, 3 9 sets X 2 9 sets X 3
Final set – 6 reps
Repeat Day 2:
1, 2, 3, 4, Fail, 4
6 15, 12, 9, 8, 7
Total: 51
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Fail, 5 6 sets X 8, 6, 4, 3, 6 sets X 8
7th set – Fail
Final set – 5 reps
Repeat Day 1:
12, 10, 9, 8, 6
All done with perfect form

You can see that on Day 1, I increased my total rep count from 24 to 51 in 6 weeks. Pretty awesome. Day 2 I started with 3 sets and increased to 9 sets. Days 3 and 4, Training Rep Number increased from 2 to 8.

The above photo shows decent Lat development at the Week 4 stage.
Note: this experiment was not a body-building experiment. This was an experiment to build functional strength and muscle mass. Body-building is great if you want to get good at body-building, i.e. competition, but I would not necessarily label it as functional muscle development. I needed to build Lat strength to aid with my postural control.

Lat Development after 6 Weeks with X-Ray overlay to show muscular anatomy

  • Will this program actually increase my Pull-Ups?
    Yes, on average I found this program to increase my Pull-Up reps by 132%
  • Will I increase my Latissimus Dorsi’s strength and size?
    Yes, I found my lats to be noticeably bigger after 6 weeks, and by Week 3, I really gained awareness of my lat muscles and how to use them as the primary muscle group for performing a Pull-Up.
  • Will I increase my Pectorals’ strength and size?
    Yes, for the first time in my life, I have built up my pectoral muscles, just by doing Push-Ups. Thanks to Scooby for putting out that great how-to video.
    I started Week 1 with a total Push-Up count of 45. By Week 6, I had a total of 72. That’s a 64% increase!
  • Will I actually be able to build muscle from a calisthenics program?
    Yes. For the first time, too, I have build muscle mass, as well as endurance and strength from this calisthenics program.

Revelations

  • Ego, Rep Count and Form
    I noticed often I had an urge to get more reps instead of perfect form .
    I realise now perhaps this was due to the fact I was publishing my results? My ego couldn’t possibly let me have a low number of reps being published now, could it? How ridiculous!
    It is interesting to find this out, however.
    Perfect form must be the emphasis and priority of this workout.
  • Muscle Soreness
    I didn’t think you could get that sore from a calisthenics program. I was wrong! Expect muscle soreness from this program! Days 2 and 3 were the hardest for me to endure in the beginning.
  • Pump
    Wow! The blood pump from this program was pretty intense. Just check my bionic forearm!

    • Tiredness
      Having a part-time bar job made this workout harder, especially some nights where I would have to work out after an 8 hour shift, at 1am. I don’t recommend keeping a job you hate. I have long since quit said job.
    • Core Destruction
      L-Sit Pull-Ups have the added benefit of working your Rectus Ab muscles, especially the lower set of abs.

      Week 4 and Week 6 respectively: Core Development

      The above photo shows Core Development at the Week 4 stage, and Week 6 stage – Obliques, T.V.A. (can’t see) and Rectus Abdominis.

    • 5 days on, 2 days off
      I have never used this model before. But I can tell you, if you wish to build muscle from Calisthenics, this ratio works!
      The myth of ‘Don’t work out the same muscle 2 days in a row‘ has been officially DEBUNKED! Ok, so it’s sore for the first couple of days, but what isn’t difficult in Life that’s really worth it?
    • Finding the Lats
      Day 2, Week 3 was when I really found my Lat connection and how to activate them to do a Pull-Up with perfect form. Until that point, I had not been using the Lat muscles as the primary power output to perform Pull-Ups. A scary thought!
      I can now feel how to activate the lats to hold up my torso, creating proper posture. Success!

    Improvements

    If I had to improve this workout plan or make any suggestions / tweaks:

    • Rest on Day 2
      I didn’t feel the video made it very clear about the rest pattern for Day 2. Initially I thought it was 10 seconds rest between every set. I didn’t realise it was actually supposed to be 10 seconds, then 20, 30, 40 etc.
    • Focus on Perfect Form
      To help focus on Perfect Form I would abolish counting reps every workout. Instead, I would count the reps perhaps on each day for Week 1, then again at Week 4, Week 8 etc. This way, the focus could be on Perfect Form and working the muscles to exhaustion without tempting the ego with counting reps.
      You can see from the Results Table that I mentioned on Day 5, Week 6, that the whole 5 sets were done with perfect form – I really tried hard to make a maximum effort towards perfection. This should be the effort every time you workout.
    • Keep the Template, Change the Goal
      I would like to use this template again in the future, but for a different goal. Perhaps one would be to increase my HandStand Push-Up reps, supplemented with AM Pull-Ups. You can insert any exercise with this program which is so awesome.
      Here is the PDF file of the original workout template, designed by Charles Armstrong.

Overall, I think this simple workout plan is amazing. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see results fast. It feels very rewarding to have put my effort into a program like this and seeing these awesome results. A big thank you goes to the BarStarzz for putting their instructional video together. And if you don’t know who the BarStarzz are, then I can only give you three words: HANNIBAL FOR KING.

——
Harry Cloudfoot is a slackliner, slackline instructor, and all-round balance freak, based in London, UK.

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299 thoughts on “Self-Experiment | “BarStarrz: Increase your Pull-Ups” | REVIEWED | Get MAD Results in 6 Weeks!

        • Hi Bryan,
          Thanks for your comment.
          This program doesn’t have biceps/triceps focus, as such. From the push-ups in the morning, you will be using your triceps, but not really building them. Your chest gets more of a blast than the triceps when you do push ups, although the triceps are in a close second. If you wanted to tweak this program to hit the triceps and biceps more, put your hands closer together and cross your thumbs when you do the push ups in the morning. Likewise, a pull up with your palms facing away from you won’t work the biceps that much. To emphasise the biceps, turn your palms to face you and narrow your grip.
          Hope that helps,

          • Thanks. I had to stop for a while but am starting up again ATM. Unfortunately I don’t have a pull up bar, so I just use my door.

    • Hi Lars,
      Yeah go for it!
      I never actually weighed myself – don’t have scales at home, but if I had to guess I would say gained very slightly. Appetite increased hard after the first two weeks and my cardio decreased when my bike got stolen!
      Hope that helps and let me know how you go if you try it!

      • I started the program yesterday. I weighed myself and used a caliper to measure my body fat before I started. I also measured the circumference of my muscles with a tape measure. I´ll post my result after six weeks.

  1. Starting tomorrow morning, have been looking for something just like this.
    My brother is going to do it as well, however, his pullups right now are very weak, he can do like 3 at the max, should/can the program be altered at all for very weak starts such as his?

    • Hi Upper90,
      Sounds great – you’ll enjoy the results man!
      Of course, the number you start at doesn’t matter. Keep the template the same, even if he can only do three.
      His training rep number might be only 1 or perhaps negatives or assisted pull-ups etc but that’s fine! The focus is on the form, the rep increase will come as a side effect.
      Hope that helps,

  2. I also started this program but just a week but ago after seeing the barstarzz video. I’m going to improve my pull-ups as although i do a lot of bodyweight (press-ups, dips, burpees, hand stand press-ups and monkey bars) i realised that these were mostly PUSH exercises and that my PULL work was sadly lacking. Thanks for the deeper insight into the training and sharing your experience.

  3. Hey Harry, good work on the lats!!

    Ok so here is my pilates head talking – the picture of your back outlining your lats looks like you are stronger on your right hand side. As does the picture of you from the front – your body is slightly shortened on right side. I think this is where you were weaker in the right side if i remember right? Be careful when you are working right lat that you are not pulling your shoulder down too much. Have a look at the pics – do you get what I mean ?

    Amy

  4. This is great. As a scientist and work out fanatic I found this presentation to be awesome. What is next for you?

  5. Nice work Harry. Speaking as a fitness profesional (PT, climber, martial artist), Your results are fantastic and well deserved by the sounds of the effort that you put in (working out at 1am etc)! Although I’ve been doing various forms of bodyweight exercise for many years, you’ve inspired me to give this a go myself, to see just what’s possible…

    Just one thing that I’d like to point out about your section on abs: Rectus Abdominus is actually two muscles (right and left), not eight. The ‘origin’ is the pubic crest and symphysis and the ‘insertion’ is the xiphoid process (base of the sternum). The horisontal lines which devide the muscles into a ‘6 pack’ are actually tendenous bands within the muscle and you can have 2 or 3, giving you a 6 OR 8 pack. The important thing to remember is that these bands are only a part of the overall muscle and as with any other muscle, it is imposible to contract only a part of it, meaning that you cannot contract the top without the bottom. It is actually a misconseption that you can train the ‘lower abs’ or ‘upper abs’ seperately. Although you can shift focus from top to bottom, or visa versa, you can only really seperate the muscles, left and right. The other thing to note is that depending on genetics, no matter how hard you work some people will only ever have a VISIBLE ‘4 pack’ where as others will have 6 or 8 depending how many tendenous membranes they have.
    I hope that was helpful.

    Keep up the good work!

    M.

  6. Pingback: “BarStarrz: Increase your Pull-Ups” | BarStarzz

    • Hi Tommy,
      To train my abs and core I use the Classical Pilates Method – It works all your core muscles completely and I find it very effective. Beware of Contemporary Pilates exercises though. Classical, in my opinion is better!
      Hope that helps,

  7. Is it possible to add this program on top of a current strength program or would I have to cut out all of my weight lifting completely? (For example could I do morning pushups, afternoon weight session, evening pull-ups? Or would that be too much?)

    • Hi Brad,
      That’s a great question – Ideally you want to leave about 5 hours between the Push Ups and the Pull Ups. I think that adding a weights program in between them both would be too much. Although you do want to exhaust the muscle, you also need those hours for the muscle growth/repair to take place.
      How about having a day in your week of just the Push Ups and Pull Ups? For example, if you lift 3 days a week with weights, replace one of the days with a day that you like from this program.
      I can’t say that this will get you the same results, however, but it will spice up your training a little.

  8. hey please when i do AM part about 9AMoclock can i do PM part about 6-7PMoclock? it is not long break? and u do some other exercises on ABS or only this? thanks in advance for answer

    • Hi Pefo –
      Starting at 9am for the Push Ups, and then 6PM for the Pull Ups is fine.
      You want about 5 hours between them.
      This program is just for Pull Up results rather than core/Abs.
      I did train Classical Pilates a few times a week during this experiment, usually on Days 6 and 7 for my core/abs.
      Hope that helps!

  9. very very nice work man ! 🙂 i love ferris aproach and you have made great step bringing more content to life hacking 🙂

    Good luck in your another efforts

  10. hey,ON day 2,it is mentioned that rest time = set no. x 10 seconds ,but in the video only 10 seconds rest between each sets is mentioned

  11. Hey i started this on monday, and got 2 friends doing it with me, i will write down our results, but one of my buddies cant do one without help, or do 3tops but going for 90º not full armextend, and with leg help, should he still do the program? any tips for him?

    Btw this is day 3 ( wednesday) and im sore as hell lol. gotta stick to it. will wait for your reply.

    • Hi Vicente –

      So for your friend, stick to the program, but for him his exercise choice will be an “Assisted Pull-Up” instead of a normal one. That is fine. He should aim to increase his number of Assisted Pull-Ups reps with perfect form, and then perhaps move on to training normal pull-ups once he can manage them. But the template is the same.

      Gotta push through the soreness! It gets a little better, though.

      Hope that helps

      • Ok thanks for the tips ill let him know. What about pre and post workout meals?? A protein shake with an apple is ok for post wprkout?. How about applying this for legs, squats, handstands dips etc? Like doing pyshup routine followed by a leg one, then a dip one and finally a handstand? Or is that too much? What do yoy think?

        • Vicente –
          I don’t really do the whole pre/post workout meals thing. I just make sure I’ve got enough energy before the workout, and usually I eat a high protein + salad meal afterwards, simply because I’m hungry.

          I think your suggestion is too much if you want results like mine in 6 weeks. The reason this program works so well is because of the muscle exhaustion factor. If you change muscle group every set, you’re reducing the exhaustion factor. Not to say it couldn’t work, but I would expect the results to take longer.

      • I mean like, if on monday you will do 5 sets pullups, so do them and after you are done with pullups, you do 5 sets dips maybe? and so on.

        My idea is to have an overall training routine if that is possible, because this will work but only pullups, so then if i want to add same principle to say dips, then i wont be doing pullups for 6 weeks and lose my strenght?

        • Vicente – Try it man! Why not? If you have the energy to do 5 more sets of dips etc, then go for it! As long as you go for perfect form.

          I believe in adding your own element to the mix –
          Bruce Lee said “The truth is outside of fixed patterns” – so try it for 6 or more weeks and post me the results!

      • I will try it out after these 6 weeks with normal only focused on pushups one.
        Because of time issues, busy with University, which has me really stressed atm, feel like im about to explode. But being this sore keeps me back from exploding lol.
        Anyway its day 4 today and i woke up just finished my pushups, im really wasted now, feel like my number of pushups is decreasing aswell as my pullups strenght because im so sore, that supposed to happen?

        • Yeah, it happens. It might be like that for the first couple of weeks. The secret is to eat well, stretch and on days 6 and 7, just rest and stretch. By week 4 you should notice the madness beginning to take shape!

      • Oh stretching, i havnt been doing that, mind making a video of post workouts stretchings you do? If you dont mind and have the time of course, i guess that should explain it easier than words. And days off stretchings too.
        Thanks for all your help and fast replies

  12. Hey, Haribo 🙂
    I was really pleased to read about the results of your pull ups expreriment, wich are really impressive indeed. Yes, they are massive and mad! And yes, it is amazing you have the mind and body to achieve them!
    But when I think deeply about it I start to wonder how can I still do 20 pull ups in 20 years instead of overtrain in six weeks and double them now, till/if I am young enough, till/if my shoulders are strong enough. Maybe there is a reason why some people don’t train the same muscles 5 days in a row.
    Yes, the results are impressive, but don’t push too hard “even numbers got limits”.
    I’m just sayin you could give it due consideration.
    I love how hard you train/search/discover and I love your work! Keep going!
    x
    Trouble

    • Hello Trouble,

      So with the numbers thing – yes, they have limits. I feel that numbers tempt my ego and I risk losing perfect form when I’m too focused on increasing my reps.

      I don’t think it’s possible to over-train using this program though. I think many people don’t train 5 days a week on two opposing major muscle groups because they’ve never thought/realised/been told it was possible. With weights, training this frequently is not advised, but with calisthenics it definitely works.

      This program is aimed at increasing reps which I found incredibly useful for blasting through my training plateau.
      I agree with you, longevity is an important aspect and doing 20 pullups in 20 years from now would take a different kind of training approach, for sure.

      Thanks for the support!

      • Hey there,
        I am a german Physiotherapist and of course we have been teached to not train the same muscles every day, too. However, thinking of our evolutional background I must admit, that our ancestors (and I am really talking about the main part of biologically building this body) have used the same muscles over and over again every day in their live (i.e. climbing in trees, running for miles, etc.). Having one or even more days rest in between has just never been possible in that times, because if you would have been resting, you would have been starving, too. And considering that, our bodies are definitely not designed for eating a certain type of meal exactly 5.5 minutes after a training. our ancestors have been walking, running, climbing for hours and might not have found anything to eat most of the time. For diet purposes I agree with Dr. Fuhrman: The overall quality of your diet counts, in terms of having enough micronutrients to best help your body to manage all the tasks like repairing muscle tissue after workouts. It is not that important if you eat them in advance, right after or whenever…
        And one effect our biological ancestors have achieved: I have read an article, where scientists calculated the running speed of Neanderthals due to footsteps (and the distance in between) they found that they have been running incredibly fast. Maybe because they have been running all the time….
        Just my two cents.
        Thanks for the great experiment/post, I will definitely give it a shot.
        Klaus

  13. hey i just wanted to know when do you was eating ?

    like after your push up in the morning you will eat something ?

    or just after the pull up ? or what ? ??

    • Hi Michel – after Push-ups I ate breakfast (dried fruit, fresh fruit and nuts).
      After Pull-ups, on average I ate a protein-rich dinner (usually meat and salad). Hope that helps,

      • thank you 😉 i had another question

        you do the push up when you wake up i mean you do the push ups and then you eat your breakfast ! right ?

        okay another question : i saw a video on youtube on how to build bigger chest
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhkpbzU3sRY

        how much days a week should i do this chest routine and how to combine it with other muscles ! ? like when i should and what exercises should i do for my back and other muscles ?

        thank you 😉

      • harrycloudfoot , i want to know what should i do when i just finish this program?

        i want to continue with barstarzz workouts all my life please just help me to get in there . like give me a routine to follow !

    • I had the same question about the chest-workout. The reply to my e-mail was “every other day.” If you’re looking for other routines to follow I recommend you order the DVD from the Barstarzz website.

  14. Pingback: Day 1 of Week of 5/21, Gymnastics Training: holy shit holding myself upside down is hard | My Blog

  15. I was loking for program like this, but my problem is that I can’t do pull ups or chin ups (not even the half way up). So how can I incorporate this program with diferent exersises so at the end of it (week 6) to be able to perfom at least one pul up abd chin up?

    Also i have to tell you that I am doing 5 times in a week intense martial arts training, this may be a factor on the recovery proces.

    • Hi Onia –
      If you can’t do a pullup, it doesn’t matter. Start the program with negatives – if you can do those for 6 weeks, I expect you will be able to do a full Pull-up rep as a result.
      Hope that helps,

      • People i.have one thimg to say……THIS WORKS.

        I didnt have any pulling strength thouh i workout consistently
        About 40 days back i left the gym as i was going on a month long
        holiday….just for fun i didi a workout routine which included doing pullup
        on door frame. I did a similar routine rather hapazardly and pullups were also done with a okayish form……….results after 40days….i got good back strength and my biceps also look fuller and bigger…..i am definately goin to try this program

  16. Pingback: Day 2, Training Journal Entry | My Blog

  17. Good job with the experiment!

    I’m a bit confused if I should do regular or wide push-ups since Scooby does wide push-ups in his squeeze video.

    Thanks.

  18. Hello, I started this program this week and I’m on Day 3, enjoying so far but just a quick question. I’m a little confused by the Day3 program, if you choose 2 pullups for your training sets, how many pullups do you actually end up doing assuming you complete the 9 sets? 18?

  19. i wanted to do it aswell , but i can do one pull up, leave alone a perfect form.

    and i dont have any assistance in helping me do assisted pull ups. what can i do ?

    please help !

  20. hey by perfect form you mean that you have to come all the way down until you’re arms are entirely stretched right??

    • P – if you are doing ‘deadhang’ pull-ups (all the way to the bottom) then yes. Hannibal advocates these. I did not do mine all the way down though. It’s up to you, just do the same ones for the whole program.

  21. How would you incorporate a strength based routine like 5/3/1 with this? Could I just do it every other day in the mornings instead of pushups? or would I burn myself out?

    • Hi Mike – Can’t say I’m familiar with the 5-3-1 routine… I think this program works in and of itself.. I think over complicating it / supplementing with other programs simultaneously will lead to worse results. I can’t say for sure though – best thing is to try out what you’d really like to do, and see what happens!

  22. Awesome post, very inspiring 🙂 I’m totally gonna try this once i can do more just a few pullups 😉 At any given point, I can only do 2-3 good form pullups:(

      • Yup, I”m on it already 😉 Started doing it with 2-3 pullups and then KI switch to a combination of negatives and Australian pullups so I can burnout a bit without sacrificing technique;) What’s interesting about this, is that it goes against every rule about letting muscles recover for 1-2 days before working out again.

    • Hi James,
      95% of the time yes, no breakfast, just get up and get on with it! I found the longer I thought about it, the less motivation I had, but after the first set, you’ll always do all 3 sets!
      Hope that helps

  23. Hey i am today at day 4, week 3 of the experiment. on the beginning i was able to do about 3 pull ups in good form. but today im am not able to do more than 5 ones in good form, especially the training on day 3 is very hard for me. i dont know how exactly to do the really “good ones” maybe i do them wrong? iam strong enough thats for sure i do cardio training for about years but the pullups….. what can you tell me in your opinion i should do or improve? or is it normal at week 3 not to see very signivicant results? my biceps workes however more than the lats….
    Thank you! 😉

    • If your biceps are working more than the lats, something is not right with your form. Are you doing pullups or chinups? Your lats should be doing most of the work. If you’re using the wrong muscles in this program then the results will be minimal!!

      • Yes i usually do the pullups. hm. i´ll work on it how to use my lats but thank you! i´ll post my results after finishing!

    • Or it could be that his lats are proportionally stronger than his biceps? If so his biceps would still have to work harder.

  24. Hey there, I invited some folks to the “Major Armstrong Pullup Challenge”.
    Both my two brothers, my brother in law, my cousin, two good friends and even my boss accepted immediately. We’re on day 3 week 1 today. I let you know, how it goes. 😉 Thanks for sharing originally.

  25. You’re so interesting! I do not believe I’ve truly read through a single thing like this before. So great to discover somebody with original thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  26. Hy,i have some question…can i use another weight along with the one i have??I have some weights that i can put around my feet.Is that a good thing to do?I will like to try it more intense:D…note that i’ve bing doing pull-ups with that weghit every time..and i can olso do muscle ups.Sorry for mistake on my speeling,i’m from Romania:)…Nice woork with BarStarrz Project…been watching you froom begining.

    • Hi Alex,
      Think of this workout program as a template – whatever exercise you choose can fit this program. So if you want to increase your weighted pull up reps, then you could use this program to do so. Weighted calisthenics training 5 days on 2 days off is not something I’m familiar with, however. But if you want to find out the answer, why not try it yourself? I’m sure the results would be interesting with your experience,

  27. Hi, Harry and everyone who visits that blog!
    i’m on 3rd week and at first week on monday i did something like 9,8,7,5,5 and today ( Monday week third) it was 9,4,4,4,3.
    I don’t know why there is no progress. My main thought is that it is caused by me sleeeping like 5 hours a day ( couse i’ve been having exams for few weeks). So maybe that’s a clue for you.
    Greetings!

    • Your sleep and your diet will play a big part in your gains. Sleep at least 8 hours a night, and eat well / smart.
      I did decrease in gains at week 3 I think, and I remember being surprised. Carry on to week 6 and you’ll see an increase though, for sure!

  28. Right halfway through the fourth week and just noticed a massive gain in strength!! However, I haven’t noticed much gain in size (aside from straight after when the muscles are flooded with blood). Is this normal? Did you gain more size towards the end of your 6 weeks? I am thinking of adding an extra couple of weeks to the programme as now my volume per day is up from around 20-30 reps a day, to 40-50 reps a day, and I think an extra couple of weeks with the higher volume may help me increase my size? Your thoughts?

    • Hi Mike,
      Gains at week four! Awesome, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
      Judging by the amount of reps you’re doing, you won’t see and increase in size. Drop your rep number by either adding a weighted vest, or increasing the difficulty of the exercise, and you should see a size increase.
      And yes, mad blood pump in the muscles after each session is normal, and quite trippy!
      I was biggest at the end of my 6 weeks.
      I would thoroughly recommend you keep going up to the 8 week, perhaps even 12 week mark. But increasing your volume won’t increase your size. Decrease the volume (say 7 reps per set) but increase the difficulty/weight and you’ll get bigger brother!

      Hope that helps mate,

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  30. I am trying to build more strength not mass will this program help me so i can do front levers and other advanced movements that requires a lot of strength

    • Hi Jose,
      Yes this program template will help you build strength – that’s what it’s for! Just replace the pull-up exercise with a front-lever progression exercise and train hard!

  31. so i can train the front lever and muscle up progression every day? also can i do one arm pushups instead in the mornings, the reason is because i can only do them in low reps which from what i hear is good for pure strength or will it be too much to do for 5 consecutive days a week. Also thanks for doing posting this experiment it has been very helpful 🙂 And yes i will train very hard!

  32. i dont think anyone has asked this yet, i searched.. did your pushup count ever increase or get slightly better? also did you use the L-sit form of pullups every single time you did a pullup? from week 1 and on? GREAT job by the way, im starting this today

    • Hi Trey,
      Thanks, glad you liked it.
      I increased my pushups from 45 total reps to 72 total reps in 6 weeks.
      I did use the L-sit (with bent legs though) for every repitition throughout the whole program.

  33. is it normal for my pullup rep to decrease im at week 2 day 1 and my pullup max decreased. did you see gains every week, i am getting enough rest and eating well so i don’t know what the problem is.

  34. AMAZING! great work bro…..

    quick question, what do u think about doing these program while doing other kind of exercises such as Brazilian Jiujitsu or crossfit??

    thank you

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  37. Excellent report Harry, your work is much appreciated. I saw the barstarrz video and thought , nah i wont bother, then i found the link to your blog and it changed my mind. I espcially like the squeeze push ups you added in. I started day 1 yesterday and i can already relatively comfortably knock out 2 sets of 20 strict form push ups. I did 6.5.4 of the squeeze push ups yesterday and havent had next day morning soreness like this in 6 months, and damn it feels goooood. Inspired choice, sir. I’ll be combining this with the convict conditioning program on days 1, 3, and 5 (bridges, handstands, 1 leg squats, leg raises) but omitting the Convict Conditioing push /pull up excercises. And i get to train 5 days over 2 periods and apparently it’s not bad for me! Lord have mercy!

    • Nice one Greg, glad you like it. The soreness surprised me too! Another workout experiment is coming soon so stay tune for more inspiration! Let me know how you get on with this program for sure,

  38. Hey Great post!

    I am struggling to figure out what to do on day 3 and 4, I think i am misunderstanding it. On day 3 say if I can 3 reps, then I do 3 sets of 3 of normal pull-ups followed by 3 sets of 3 of close grip pull-ups followed by 3 sets of 3 of wide grip pull-ups. Then on day 4 do I do the same thing? or 9 sets of 3 normal pull-ups? and then fail on one?

    Any help would be great

    • Hi Marc,
      You got it for day 3. Day 4 is 9 sets (of normal pullups) X your training number, which looks like you said is 3. If you fail before 9 sets, your number is too high. If you smash 9 sets with ease, your number is too low. Whatever set you fail on, you must rest 60secs then try for one last max. rep set to finish yourself off!
      Hope that helps,

  39. Did you get those biceps from this program? Or have you been working out earlier, and it was the muscle memory?

    Thank you 🙂 Will probably start on this program next week.

  40. Hey there!

    First of all, very awesome workout program! I’ve been looking for a weight/equipment free program because I am not comfortable with weights…
    I just have one question. What are your main diet? Only meat and veggies?

    Thanks!

    • Hi David, thanks man.
      So for food – I used a combination of Trophology (I recommend you google the principles of it, and a guy called Steve Maxwell), and about 70% Paleo diet. Post workout meal (last one of the day) was nearly always meat and salad. Breakfast was always mixed dried fruit and nuts and a banana.
      Hope that helps,

  41. Hey Harry,
    Thanks for the story about your trial run. You inspired me to do it as well.
    I just did 8 weeks and I feel much stronger and I look noticably bigger too.
    I more than doubled my pullup reps and now I have real clean form as well complete with deadhangs and head clearing the bar. I also started doing L-pullups to make it a real good core work out (but it makes the pullups much harder).
    Hope others will try it too, I just referred a few friends to your site.

  42. I’m going to start this program Monday morning before I go to school! I’ve really been looking for a program like this because i want to set the pull up record at my high school! I can currently do around 25 and hope to increase to around 50 or so before the pull up test comes in 18 weeks!!!!
    Do you think I could increase that much? I have to beat 40.

    • Hi Christian – hey why not man? It will be a great motivator having your contest on your calendar. Use the program to see how many you can do – I wish you all the best, I’m sure you will crush it! 🙂

      • Thanks and I have a question. After the six weeks will I see an increase in my pull ups immediately or will I need to rest a few weeks to see changes?

    • Christian,

      Get some videos of this going man!! Would be brilliant motivation for people to see that this works for people who have already got good strength as well as beginners!!!

  43. Hi Harry, very nice job! This is so inspiring!
    I’ve started your program this week and I just have one doubt…

    I’ve seen your table… I think I understand what to do on days 3 and 4, but I don’t understand the progression you did those days on week 6… You did 6 sets x 8 reps and then fail on 7th set… As you said “if you can get the 9 sets that mean you rep number is too high”. The same thing with day 4.

    I’m sure there’s something stupid detail I’m missing… but can you explain it, please?

    Thanks so much!

    PD: Expecting next self experiments!! =)

    • Hi ethan,
      Not quite sure what you mean. But day 3 is e sets of 3 different gripped pull ups, making a total of 9 sets. You use your training number for this.
      And day 4 is the same, but without the grip variation, I.e. you just do 9 sets of regular pull ups, trying to hit your training number each set.
      Hope that helps,

      • Hi Harry… What I mean is that I’ve checked your results table… First week is ok in days 3 and 4.
        But week 6, you results in days 3 and 4… you didn’t hit the 9 sets… you just did 6 with diferent reps… I don’t understand why you didn’t keep the number of reps in a low level tto be able to hit the 9 sets… I don’t know if I making my self understood… =P

        • Hi Ethan,
          Well spotted!
          Allow me to explain;
          Week 6, Day 3, I hit 6 sets of 8 reps. My last three sets I achieved 6, then 4, then 3 reps to finish.
          So you are right in a sense, my training number was too high because I didn’t manage 9 sets. Perhaps if I was to do a week 7, I could drop my training number from 8 to 7 instead, and then maybe I could do all 9 sets.
          Similar with day 4, if my training number was 7, perhaps I would have hit all the sets. But then again, you have to push your limits in order to find them!
          Hope that clears it up a bit for you,

  44. Looks like a great article. I am a 52 years martial artist and I want to keep in perfect shape.
    I try to train 3 times a week my martial arts, I dont compete anymore, I try to train for realist fighting.
    Once a week I teach a groep off students so I want to look in shape.
    True Ineternet I got confused by all these routines that are posted.
    So I ended up doiing strengthtraining routines that takes all my energy away because sometimes they take more then a hour, so the next day I didnt have any energy left for my martial arts training.
    My question is this: when you read the Barstarzz routines etc. they talk about dips, push-ups, pull-ups etc.
    Did you do all these things to or just this pull-up routine?
    And is it enough to build up some serous strength and athletic body?
    So botom line; is this all you did and do you think its enough for me as martial artist or do you think I need dips etc to? Because when I follow this routine I can easlay fit it into my weekly routine.
    Last question, with the push-ups did you do them all with the squeeze thing?

    Great articicle by the way.
    Greetings from Holland

    • hey wim, the armstrong program is not a full body routine and was never intended as such. if you read the original text of major armstrong you will recognize, that he invented the program to enable trainees to increase the number of pullups they are able to do. nothing more. he added the pushups to balance the routine and therefore the routine is a pretty good (but not complete) upper (!) body routine. left alone it will never be a full body training regime or a complete strength training for martial arts.

    • Well said Klaus…for sure this is not meant to be a “complete” program. It is much better suited to achieving a goal quickly, like more reps and perhaps some lean gains in muscle development. I would recommend supplementing this program with a breathing and stretching practice such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong to move towards a more complete routine for martial arts conditioning.

      • You`re most welcome, Wim.
        I agree totally, Harry. For me it was a perfect kickstart in Pullups and Pushups, which I used as a starter for “Convict Conditioning”, which I use now. I am training four evenings a week according to this program.
        What I am doing daily is in fact a gentle Yoga-Routine, which perfectly balances my strength-work.
        And of course, as you said Harry, one can use the Armstrong Program whenever one seems to be a little stuck with a specific exercise (not just Pullups) and wants to accelerate progress.

  45. Do you maybay have a idea how a good strength routine for a martial artist could look like?
    I am a martial artist since the age off 15, I am now 52. Since I dont compete anymore I try to train realistic. I think true all the years off practicing martial arts I do knwo the difference between sparring and a real fight. Off course I want to be in as good shape as I can but I nver have done much supplementary strenghtraining, only the last few years I am experimenting but I cant find a good routine. Or the routines are to long (takes away the energy from my martial arts training) or the wrong exercises. So I can use some tips if you have any.

    • I recommend checking out Ross Enemait @rossboxing.com and Zach Even-esh. Bruce Lee’s notes are worth checking out, too. Experiment with some of their knowledge and find what works for you!

  46. Ahoj, Harry!
    I was really interested in this program in past after I saw the video of Barstarzz. But I didn’t manage those 10 seconds rests in day 2. I’m very glad You wrote here those “sets number X 10 second”! It may help a lot. 🙂
    Here in Czech Republic one rap-musician started a Self-Revolt Workout Comunity, oh… I can send You a short video about it… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09m9jpfuNqc&feature=related (There are English subtitles.)
    And in August I began training a lot with some people, but my body mass doesn’t come so easily, because I’m vegan. At first I transformed my fat weight (not much, maybe about 2-3kg that I had on my belly :D) into muscles, it was incredibly how fast my biceps and lats was growing up. But once I lost all fat it’s more difficult to build muscles. And also I wasn’t able to workout because of moving to school. But now it’s time to fight with my laziness! So I will start all this program from tomorrow (with L-sit for better abs/core) and if I stay on it (I wish so!), I could do some before-after pics. Just to inspire other people with my progression (also for that I eat only plant food) – like You did it with Yours!
    I’m very pleased for Your job, sending best wishes to You and everyone who will start this workout routine.
    P.S.: Sorry for my english. 😀

    • Ok, I started today at 10Am with 5 sets of 20 very slow push-ups and I was really focusing on my traps muscles. And at 5Pm I did 2 sets of 7 wide pull-ups and then 5 sets of undergrip pull-ups at 9, 7, 6, 5 and 5 reps (but without L-sit, because I haven’t got a bar for it). So then I did some abs excercises as I always do… I haven’t been so tired a long time! And I’m happy! 🙂

      • Why did you do the 2 sets of wide pull-ups? I would recommend to strictly stay with the mentioned sets, as I can ensure you, it will get hard soon, anyway. 😉

      • I think it’s good for me to warm-up, because if I do max reps for the first time, it could be painful. For day 2 – for pyramid sets, I won’t do those wide pull-ups. It starts slowly and it goes to maximum so it is “warm-up including”. 😀 Yesterday I also did some exercises on parallel bars, just for fun, because I had a lot of free time. Maybe it’s bad for triceps after those 100 AM push-ups, but I was trying. What’s Your opinion for it? Should I stop working on parallel bars at evening when I’m doing PM pull-ups and do just AM push-ups for the daily routine?

        • First of all, it is absolutely adviseable to do a proper Warm-Up, but I would not recommend to use Pull-Ups as a Warm-Up for the Pull-Ups. Do some dynamic stretching or really light conditioning. As the name mentions, it is meant to warm your muscles up to avoid injury.
          Next, overtraining and tendinitis is a potential risk of a daily training regime. We have been about 10 people doing this regime together and 3 of us had to stop the program way before the 6 weeks were over because of tendinitis.
          As all of the exercises in the program are “maximum effort” approaches, you should not have problems to reach good levels of exhaution in the used muscle groups, therefore I would not recommend to do further conditioning of the same muscle groups. If you feel like you do not reach your limit, remember to do the sets for maximum reps in perfect form!
          have fun. 😉

      • Ok, that’s interesting and thanks for opinion. I always do those exercises with focusing on form and as slow as it’s possible. Ok, I will remember those advices. Thanks a lot. 🙂

    • We have been ten people starting the program. Two of us had issues concerning overtraining, tendinitis, etc., but both of them either had some issues before or have been pretty untrained. The rest of us had an average increase in total pullups (5 sets) of 125% and and average increase in max pullups (1 set) of 135% after 6 weeks. I would not recommend this as a complete beginners program, but if you have been training a bit it is a pretty decent program. I would recommend a proper warmup and some flexibility exercises to supplement it, though (as Harry already posted before).

  47. Just entered w2. Thanks for a great post.

    Question: I understand pull ups are 5 days then 2 days off. For push ups it same or these should be done every single day? Thanx.

      • Dear Harry,
        it has been 6 months and 25 days since I entered Week 1 Day 1 Training.
        At the beginning I was able to do 4-5 widegrip pullups and 15-20 wide push ups.

        Results:

        – can do 25 wide grip pull ups
        – can do 3 rounds of morning wide push ups of 60-70 repetitions
        – lost 22 pounds of fat, moved from 231 pounds to 209

        Consequense:

        – I stopped bodybuilding moved to street workout only
        – unless injured will never quit this training
        – even set up Slovak version of page for training to be launched soon 🙂

        http://www.ideshore.sk/

        Follow up objectives:

        – loose another 20 pounds of fat
        – do 15 muscle ups
        – inspire others for street workout

        Thank you so much and God bless you. V.

        • Vlad! Wow! I am seriously impressed by your results – amazing stuff, well done.

          Let me know how you get on with your muscle-ups – I’m currently working to get 5 reps on the rings, so for sure we can share ideas and training tips to reach our goals!

          Thanks for letting me know your progress, and I wish all the best to you and your Slovak superteam of strength freaks!!

          Cheers,

  48. Hi there! On day 3, did you make a 60-second rest between each set? Cause on Barstarzz video Eddie makes a set of three different grips in a row, then the rest and repeats it two times, and what I get from your description is that I should be doing, for example, three reps of normal grip PUs, rest, then three of close grips etc., and the difference is really huge. BTW, respect and big thanks for you, great job of publishing all of that!

    • Hi Czarek,
      Yes, on Day 3, you rest 60 seconds between each set.
      For example, if 3 is your training rep number:

      3 reps of normal grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of normal grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of normal grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs

      3 reps of close-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of close-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of close-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs

      3 reps of wide-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of wide-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs
      3 reps of wide-grip PUs
      Rest 60 secs and be happy that you’ve made it out alive!

      Hope that makes it a little clearer for you,

      • Thanks Harry, now I get it 🙂 it was a bit strange to me, since I started with almost the same rep number each day as you did, that now, on week 2, I couldn’t manage to do this day with three reps at all. Now it will be a lot easier.

  49. How long did your workouts/pullups take? I started the first two days of this and I’m surprised to be done in under 10 minutes each time. In my mind, workouts tend to be 45m – 1hr. Am I counting wrong..? I’m supplementing with the pushups in the morning and biking around the city, but still I feel like I’m cheating somehow.

    • Hi Kyle, Workouts took me anything from 15 to 30 minutes to complete. As long as your rep cadence is at a moderate to slow pace, and your form is perfect, the workout will usually take no more than 30mins to complete. You should be pumped by the time you’re done though 😉

      • Cool thanks for the info. With such low rests in between I guess it makes sense it doesn’t take long. I can’t say my form is perfect though since I’m trying to keep my legs up and strengthen my abs like you did. Appreciate the feedback!

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  51. I’m in week 5, and I went from 9/10 reps in a row to 16 now.
    I’m very please with the results. I don’t know why but monday always seems the hardest day !

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  53. Hi Harry, thanks for posting this. I’m on the third day, and was wondering about whether it’s normal to have the amount of push ups I can do decrease each day (it’s been 3 days in a row, fyi). I reach failure after less reps than I did on the first day, even though I’ve always been focused on form and haven’t changed my form at all since day 1. Not sure where I’m at on the reps of pull ups, since I do assisted pull ups and thus can adjust the intensity to what I need each day, but was curious about the push ups. Thanks!

    • Hi CJW,
      Yeah, that’s normal. I think I experienced weird losses and fluctuations for as much as the first 3 weeks… don’t worry about it. Just eat good after you train and sleep lots, and the gains will come. If you don’t see improvements by week 4, let me know!!
      Hope that helps,

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  56. Hey, great results. I’m another Ferriss fan.
    I usually work with kettlebells at home and I realy want to give this a try. Should I drop all kettlebell excersise? i usually do a 25 min session of KB 3 times a week.

    • Hi Max – thanks for getting in touch.
      Yeah, I would drop the kettlebell work, but perhaps just for 6 weeks? Allow yourself to really focus on the barstarrz workout, because believe me, you will be sore for the first couple of weeks! See how your results fair by the 6th week, and then perhaps look at supplementing your kettlebell work with the calisthenics, or vice versa.

      Hope that helps,

      • Hey, thanks for getting back so quickly.
        I have one more Q. Currently I’m trying to loose wieght working with KB’s and on Paleo. Will this program help me loose weight given that I’ll stop using KB’s?
        Thanks

        • Hi Max, Yes, definitely you will lose fat on this program if you use it instead of KB work. But, of course your diet needs to assist you in order to cut that fat/weight. You need to be on a calorific-restriction in order to cut the weight, which is not so simple to do without losing muscle mass or strength. But if you get the diet bit right, then yes, for sure, this will sort you out!! Hope that helps, let me know if you need any more advice on the diet front, as I’m currently cutting fat right now, too. Cheers,

        • Hi Max,
          The Diet is not really a diet as such, but more a lifestyle via principles that you follow.
          It’s called Intermittent Fasting – you may have heard of it before. Check out LeanGains.com – If I were you, I would spend about 3-4 quality reading sessions reading through his “most popular” articles, especially the Lean Gains guide. To really get the most out of Intermittent Fasting, I recommend going with the BCAAs as a supplement, as suggested. The first 7 days suck balls, but after that, your body will be stoking its internal fires like hell. Expect large increases in metabolism and the ability to cut fat noticeably in around 6 weeks.
          For the record, I’m not affiliated with Lean Gains, but it is awesome.
          Let me know how you get on and if I can help in any way,
          Thanks,

    • That´s great stuff, thanks for sharing.
      I have two questions:
      * I already drink whey protein shakes, and some articles say that can be either that or BCAA. Do you think that doing one shake a day plus BCAA is too much?
      * Based on this pull up program and the efforts required, what post-workout carbs would you do? Starchy like white rice, cereals, etc? Or something like sweet potatoe, quinoa? WHat do you think is best?

      Thanks again
      Max

      • Hi Max, Your first question, 1 – are you trying to increase mass, stay the same, or cut fat? If you’re increasing, I would have the BCAAs before training, and then your whey protein after the workout followed by another small meal with some sweet potato, veg and lean meat. If you’re staying the same, then I would use the BCAAs before working out, but scrap the whey protein. Just have some good lean meat, sweet potato and veg after you finish training. If you’re trying to cut fat, then do the same as if you’re trying to stay the same, just slightly less in portion size. For question 2 – I prefer sweet potato as my starch carb. The rest of my carbs come from vegetables and fruits. I personally stay away from all grains, including rice etc, unless it’s cheat day. Hope that helps mate, Cheers

        On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM, harrycloudfoot

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  60. Thx for this man. It gave me inspiration a lot. Started with 30 pushups and 9 pullups. today week 6 has ended. 70 pushups, 60 pullups. 🙂

    • Armin, Dude, that’s fantastic results mate, well done! I would love to hear from you applying this rep-increasing formula to an area that you are weaker in… perhaps one-legged squats or one-arm push ups now? 🙂

      • I will 🙂 had a back injury not because of workout, a little accident. need to start again… but oh well, I have time 😀

  61. Hey… Ni e experiment.
    I have a question… This is the only excersise You do per day? Just push ups in the morni g and pull ups at Night? Im doing it for 3 days and i feel is easy and You do a máximum of 15 minutes of work out.
    Thanks.

    Greetings from Colombia!

  62. can i do one arm pushups instead in the mornings instead, i’m trying to increase my one arm pushups and my pull ups i’m sort of in a plateau. when will i start to see results week 2? week 3?

  63. Glad you’re still answering. I’d like to say that I’m 15 and I’m trying to get stronger, more durable and a nicer body, because I’m an ectomorph. So you only do push ups and pull ups? I understand the pull up program, but what push up program do you follow? Can you explain the reps and sets in an easy way so I can understand? Thanks.

  64. Nevermind, I got it. Is this all you did? Push ups and pull ups? I watched your video..what if I can’t do a L sit pull up?

    • Hi Simeon,
      If you can’t do L-sit Pull-Ups, don’t worry – do normal pull-ups instead – you will still get mad results!
      Just Push ups and Pull-ups; that’s the foundation of this program’s success!

      Cheers,

      • Sweet, I was losing hope that you might not reply lol. One last question, are you able to do muscle ups, front/back levers, etc? Did you strength increase a LOT from this? I can actually do the L-sit Pull-ups but it’s a pretty crappy one haha.

  65. Uh, guess that wasn’t my last question actually. I have a few more: What advice could you give me if I tell you that if I do this program for like 3-4 days in a row I get some elbow pain? I used to get bad elbow pain from chin ups so I switched to pull ups and did my programs everyother day. I’ll try it out again today and see if I get elbow pain. I’m only 15 though, I guess my bones aren’t that much strong. Also I’m about 5ft 7in and 122-123 pounds. What pounds were you when you started and what pounds were you after?

    • Ah, I’m so, so annoying! Can I contact you in anyother way if I’m spamming your blog post too much? If not, I’d like to ask this: I don’t really feel sore after working out. For like the last month I haven’t been sore at all..sure, my (mostly arms) get pumped as hell, but after a bit I feel nothing..I remember doing 6-7 chin ups a few weeks ago (for the day only) and my upper back hurt the next day. Now I do this program and I feel no burn the next day. Why is that, Harry?

  66. Hey Harry, great to see you’re still answering comments!

    How would you recommend going about implementing Squats or just lower body workouts in general into this routine, and (seperate question), how would you do this routine with something like squats as your main focus? what would be a good AM supplemental exercise?

    I know this isnt a COMPLETE routine, but it’s pretty darn good. I’m at the end of week 2 and I love it!

    • Hi Randall,

      Thanks for getting in touch, glad you like the routine.

      With implementing squats, I would do them right after the morning push-ups, just to save time and energy. Doing them after the evening pull-ups would just be too exhausting for me. But best to focus on one thing at a time. If you wanted to use this routine for squats, I would suggest doing Glute Ham Raises as the morning supplementary exercise. If you were trying to increase your one-legged squat (pistol) reps, then it might make sense to make your AM exercise a single-leg deadlift variation.

      Hope your training goes well, let me know if it works for you!

      Cheers,

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    • Hi Dennis, Simple – I just kept my legs out as straight as I could manage whilst performing the pull-ups. This makes the normal Pull Up much harder and works the abs a treat. Cheers,

        • I did Pilates during my Push Up rest periods, in the mornings for the first 2 weeks, but it soon proved to be exhausting. Trust me, holding your legs in front of you for 5 days a week will sort your Abs out a treat!!

          On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM, harrycloudfoot

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  74. Hi Harry,

    how can I add this program into my existing routine? For example, I also do squats, lunges and rows. Should I do these before or after the pull ups? I also do tips for my pecs, delts and triceps, would you recommend me doing dips before or after the morning push ups? Or perhaps not at all? I would appreciate an answer, thanks in advance!

    • Hi Shand,

      Thanks for getting in touch,

      So the main principle with this workout is that it works best when completed on its own. Simplicity is the key with this program, so if your goal is to get more reps with your pull-ups, just complete this program as it is.

      If you have a different goal, then this is probably not the workout program you need – instead, just add in some wide grip pull ups to your routine if you don’t do them already. But really the main thing to understand is that this template works best as it is – believe me, 5 days on, 2 days off is intense for the body!

      Hope that helps,

      • Thanks for the reply! Just started week 3 now, been doing wide grip pull ups on 4 days, and doing chin ups for day 5, for a bit more bicep involvement. So far so good, noticing some pretty nice improvements even though it has only been 2 full weeks.

  75. Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

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  77. Hi harry, I was just wondering about this as I am also doing it and I am confused about day 3 and 4. On your week six you say you only did 6 sets on these days? But you are meant to do nine? And on day four you are meant to do the same as day 3 but just keep going on in sets but you did just 6 sets again? Am I missing something? Because I thought day four would look like this for example if your rep number was too low:
    Reg Pull up,
    rest 1 min,
    Reg Pull up,
    rest 1 min,
    Reg pull up,
    rest 1 min,
    Close chin ups,
    rest 1 min,
    close chin ups,
    rest 1 min,
    close chin ups,
    rest 1 min,
    wide pull ups,
    rest 1 min,
    wide pull ups,
    rest 1 min,
    wide pull ups,
    rest 1 min,
    then back to the start and redo it for as many sets as possible? Is this right?

    • Marc Marc Marc! Thanks for your comment – you’re confusing yourself!
      Day 3 and Day 4 are very similar.
      The difference is that on day 3, you do a total of 9 sets, but it’s split into three variations of the pull-up: 3 sets normal, 3 wide and 3 close grip.

      Day 4 is also 9 sets, but you only do normal grip pull-ups.

      Do you know your Training Rep number?

      • But barstarzz said day 4 was the same as day 3 and in a video they did as I said where you switch grips on day 4 like day 3? 😛 Yes my training number I am going to use is 4 but its only my first week.

        • Correction. You do not switch grips on day 4 like day 3. Watch the video again, and you’ll see that day 3 differs from day 4 only with what grips you use.

          In your case, using your training rep number of 4, Day 3 would be Wide 3 sets X 4, Normal 3 set X 4, Close grip 3 sets X 4.
          Day 4 would be 9 sets X 4 using normal grip ONLY.

          Hope that clarifies it for you.

  78. Hey there….
    Just wanted to drop by and say thanks for the program. I fancied myself pretty good at chinups (am really short and pretty light) was able to do around 18-20 so I started the program where you finished it. At first, it seemed like a *big* mistake because it was pretty tough and I was barely able to do it. Hahaha! Now I am 3 1/2 weeks into the program…(omitted the pushups as I am too lazy in the morning) and really enjoying the workout (which is saying a lot as I dont normally stick to workouts for this long). The cool part is that I have already noticed some gains (in total number of reps or what previously felt pretty difficult becoming substantially easier). Had to take an extra rest day due to elbow soreness, but otherwise its been all good. Am really trying to push out an extra couple of reps more than the previous week on the same day (e.g. increase the numbers on day 2 week 2 over day 2 week 1). It seems to be working quite well. Training rep last week was 9 (all dead hang, no kip). Am gonna go for 10 this week. *gulp*. Also just FYI, I hate day 1. Always the hardest day for me. If these results keep up his way, after week 6 I’m probably gonna try it with muscle-ups.

    I did have one question though. I tried a max set (reached about 21), grip started to fail. Rested for 5-10 seconds and was able to bang out about 4 more without an insane amount of effort (and 1-2 more in the tank). Do you think this is a grip thing rather than an arm/muscle strength thing?

    Thanks again!
    Jeremiah

    • Hi Jeremiah,
      Thanks for getting in touch,

      Your elbow soreness is because you’re not doing the push ups!
      And yes, grip failure is why you’re peeling off the bar.
      Well done and keep training,

  79. Hey harry. great article! just wondering what do you think about doing this workout with more than one exercise? I thought it might be really good. What do you think?

        • The effectiveness of the pull up workout would be considerably diminished. The simplicity of this program is what makes it work, and by doing the opposite of your chosen exercise in the mornings, i.e. push ups in this case, you balance out the muscle groups that get worked by the pull ups.
          Adding in more push ups after the pull up work out will not, in my opinion, be beneficial.
          Cheers,

  80. Hey Harry, I am gonna start on Monday to increase my Pft score but I need to know how effective this program is so I can drop the workouts I do now.

    • Hi Joey,
      It’s super effective at increasing the rep count mate, so if that’s what you’re looking for, do it. You could get away with doing lower body workouts, too, just incase you don’t want to lose lower body strength.
      You will see results in 6 weeks if you do this program, for sure.
      Cheers,

  81. Hi Harry,

    I have been doing a bastardized version of this for about 2 months now, with great success. The only 2 alterations I made are that I alternate each week with pullups/chinups (close grip) and I also add full bodyweight dips some 10 minutes or so after completing the chin up routine (and doing some calisthenics legs in between) using the same tactic as whatever I did for pullups that day.

  82. This is my fifth week into this program but I don’t feel I am getting good results because when I started in week 1 day one my total rep count was 19 and I could do max of 5 pull ups. Now after four weeks it has only increased to 24 with a max number of pull ups that I can do 9. So what should I do?

    • hey stefan same by me im in week 6 and my total rep count incresed from 19 to 24 (sunday i did 27…10 reps at the beginning) and my training rep is at 4 for 9 sets, i never really done pullups before so i think thats normal. Oh and i gained 2kg throughout this program little bit fat because i cant eat very clean but my back, biceps and brest are more defined…

      • Maybe with more time will get to the goals we set but as for now it’s taking a lot of time. Also I have difficulties initiating the lats first, and I rarely get sore on my lats and I’m afraid this program doesn’t work with me or it is something that I do wrong. And yet I’ll continue to week 6 hopefully I will be able to hit 15 pull ups some time soon. 🙂

      • hey me again 🙂
        so today is my 7th week doing this and i did a total of 30 reps!! week 4-6 i couldnt do more than 24 reps but after week 6 i really noticed some improvements, i feel my biceps better during the workout and my forearms dont get tired after a few reps, so for the lats i do the pullups at moderate speed and good form but i dont feel em aswell only when i do the pushups in the morning, just dont give up 🙂

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  86. Well I finished my 6 weeks and my pull-up max went from 10 to 23 I’m gonna go for another round to see if I get in the 40’s by the way what is your pull-up max(Harry)

    • Well done Joey! That’s a PHAT increase mate, well done!
      Go for another round, for sure, see what you get. Will be interesting to discover round 2 results.
      my pull-up max when I did this went from 7 to 15. So you’re crushing it!!

  87. Wow, excellent post- thanks so much for sharing your details and results.
    I’m doing the armstrong program and am on week 8 but have tapped out in terms of gains (I’ve been at a max of 16 pull ups for 4 weeks). I had a question:
    You talked about “Finding the Lats”- I’m not sure I’m properly doing this- can you explain exactly what you mean by this?

    Thx!

    • Hi Blaze – Yes, finding the lats, so basically the predominant amount of stress on your back when doing a pull-up should be taken by the lats. In order to do this properly, you should be able to complete a strong and deep isometric contraction of the lats, on demand.
      For example, if I say to you now, “Flex your Lats!” without doing a pull-up, could you?

      If you’re hitting a plateau, then I’d say take a week off, then start the program for push ups instead of pull-ups, or continue pull-ups but add in some isometric exercises and one or two supplementary lat-specific exercises.

      Hope that helps you,

  88. Hey everyone,

    I’ve started this program as well and I’ve just finished week 8 (starting on Wed and finishing on Sunday – I also work and need the first 2 days of the week to be more relaxed).

    Things before results:
    I was weighting 86-87kg @175cm so a bit of a beer belly (although I don’d drink beer 🙂
    I’ve followed a died mostly composed of not eating over 1800-1700 Kcal / day. Now – 82-83kg –
    no other cardio or anything. Naturally I’ve put on some muscle (well lots..) beside losing fat.

    So my 1st week:
    Day1: 4, 3, 2, 2, 1 = 12
    Day2: 1,2,3 – set 4 fail (2), set 5 (1) = 9
    Day3: No = 1 all ok = 9
    Day4: No = 2 – set 9 fail (1) = 17
    Day5: repeat day 2 – 1,2,3 – set 4 fail (3), set 5 (2) = 11
    So total / week – push ups 333 and pull ups 58

    I’ve only lost in 8 weeks 2 pull ups and 1 push up session.
    Every week I had some surprises (gains).

    week 8:
    Day1: 14, 9, 6, 4, 4 = 37
    Day2: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 – set 8 fail (5), set 9 (3) = 36
    Day3: No = 5 all ok = 45
    Day4: No = 5 all ok = 45
    Day5: repeat day 1 – 16, 9, 4, 5, 5 – (don’t know what happened with set 3) = 39 Total
    So total / week – push ups 531 and pull ups 202!!!

    so total of 58 / first week -> 202 / week 8 – that is an increase of 248%.
    1st day – 12 total -> 1st day week 8 – 37 total = 208% increase. (not including day 5 from week 8 when I’ve managed 39 total – 225% increase)

    I don’t usually follow programs like this because I am lazy 🙂 – but this one hooked me up right after the 1st week and gave me results above expectations. I will still go on with this further as I think losing weight and being able to do more reps will lead me doing the first muscle up (this is my goal for now).

    My advice would be – if you don’t see much progress (more then 1-2 reps / exercise from week to week) – maybe also look at the total. Be happy and keep going even if it’s a small gain!

    Cheers,
    Felix

  89. Question on Day 2 rest times.
    It’s my understanding that you suppose to multiple amount of pull ups by 10 sec
    For example if you failed set 4 where you suppose to do 4 pull ups and you did only 3 then the
    rest time will be 30 sec

    If you failed set 8 and you were able to do 7 pull ups then your rest time will be 70 sec
    See below quote from Armstrong program
    “Rest 10 seconds for each repetition in the previous set.”

    Great article. Thank you. I plateau on 10 – 12 pull ups for the past year or so. I already tried pretty much everything without any luck (including stew smith push up pull program)
    I’m on my second week today. Let’s see if I will be able to get to 20+

    • Hi Mike,

      I think day 2 should look like this (at least this is how I do it):

      -start with 1 pull-up – if completed:
      rest 10 sec
      -start 2 pull-ups – if completed:
      rest 20 sec
      -start 3 pull-ups – if completed:
      rest 30 sec
      -start 4 pull-ups – if completed:
      rest 40 sec
      ….
      ….
      -start 8 pull-ups – if completed:
      rest 80 sec
      -start 9 pull-ups – if NOT fully completed:
      rest 60 sec
      -start and do as many as you can
      Training done.

      where ever you fail to complete the needed reps – rest for 60 sec – and do as many as you can. It’s a pyramid routine (although for this we don’t also go down).

      • I forgot to add that your answer is in the quote you pasted:

        “Rest 10 seconds for each repetition in the previous set.”
        Keyword here is – EACH.

        So for EACH repetition you’ve done. Meaning if you’ve done 4 repetitions – rest 40 sec.

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes, you are correct, when you rest on Day 2, you rest in multiples of ten seconds. HOWEVER! When you fail, you must rest 60s regardless of what set you reached, and then go for your final effort.

      Many Thanks and best of luck!!

  90. Hello there!

    I just started this workout a few days ago and I already feel great. One question though: How much growth did you see in your forearm? My wrists and forearms are pretty thin, and make me look a lot skinnier than I really am. I don’t want my biceps to look completely disproportionate with the rest of my arm by the time six weeks comes.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Cliff,

      To be honest, I saw a little growth but more pump and vascular-ness in my forearms. If you want to grow them bigger on this program, wrap a towel around your pull-up bar to test your grip strength!

      • Hi Harry, I have a very physically demanding job that allows me very little time for my muscles to recover so do you think I would make progress if i stick to to this plan or should I incorporate some more rest days?

        • Hi Tom,

          Ah, the demanding jobs!!! I can relate, and it is very hard to train effectively if you are spending 9 hours a day doing physical stuff already.

          To be honest, I would not recommend this program as a starting point or plateau buster, because you will just burn out. You need to look at how your weeks at work are structured – do you have more intense work days than others?

          I can try to help you if you like, because I know how hard it is to satisfy the training urge even though you come in after a days work, exhausted!
          Cheers Tom,

      • I forgot to add that I’ve been plateauing around 8 very strict form pull-ups and about 15 chin ups for months and I’d like to boost thru my plateau

      • Hi Harry, thank you very much for replying, it’s really appreciated! I started your program 1day off 1 day on trying to do my workouts on the less intensive days at work and doing nothing on Sundays to recover. I can feel the pump already after my workouts! Do you think that will be enough to prevent overtraining and to progress at the same time?

        • Hi Tom,
          No worries,
          If you’re feeling the pump, then stick to 1 day on 1 day off, for 6 weeks. See how you get on with that, then maybe take a week off for week 7. At week 8 you might be able to hit it everyday once you have this 6 week foundation.
          Let me know what you think,
          Cheers,

  91. Hello there, good sir.
    I am really looking to build some muslce in/on my arms, back and chest. And after prowling the interwebz for oh so long, I came across this. I really hope you can give me an answer.
    I have never really asked anyone for help, but I am desperately seeking some.
    I have never been all that happy with my scrawny build.
    As I said, I really need to put on some muscle, on my arms and chest that is.
    I really fell in love with the idea of this routine.
    What I was wondering, forgive me if this is pushing it, how “big” were you when starting this? And if I do this for at least 8-12 weeks, and maybe even longer; will I, as a very scrawny fella see improvement in size?
    My goal is looking good when the fantastic thing they call summer is upon us.
    I am not aiming for a HUGE chest, but bigger.
    Any comment would be more than appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Sondre DehliDeluca

  92. Thought I would share my experience to help/inspire people, as I find this blog and comments helpful in that way. I’m 6’2″ 96kg 7″ and a bit of a skinny fat hardgainer. My diet is pretty terrible and I’ve put on 2kg in the 4 weeks since i started the program. Two years ago I did only cardio, lost a lot of muscle and got down to 86kg but still had a layer of fat completely coving my abs, so I’ve never been lean. I have been weight training consistently for the last 2 years with low rep heavy weight compound exercises including squats, deadlifts, leg raises, dips, overhead press, bent over rows and pull ups, doing a upper/lower body split 4 times a week. I have made gains in all areas except for pull ups, so I started this program 4 weeks ago. I have prioritised pull ups to the beginning of all workouts and have continued with all other exercises. I also started doing press ups in the morning as required with this program, but have stopped after 3 weeks as I was getting shoulder pain in the morning, and I figured that weighted dips I do would cover this requirement. On the first Friday of the program I repeated Thursday, but for the following Fridays I did sets of 3 reps weighted pull ups, as I have found that heavy weight, low rep exercises work for me on other exercises. The results, whilst showing slow progress, do show some progress which is certainly better than I have ever had before, so I will persist. I have used the pull down machine a lot in the past and have found little progress with this too, and no carry over to pull ups. I find I am now stronger in the sense that I can pull myself up higher on each rep. My lats have started to be a bit sore during training, especially with close hand pull ups (which shows I engage them at least), plus my hands are getting a bit sensitive, especially with all the rows and deadlifts I do on top (I don’t wear gloves). Thanks for this blog and all contributors.

    Monday 8,5,5,4,4, 26 / 8,5,5,5,4, 27 / 9,6,5,5,5, 30 / 10,6,5,5,4, 30

    Tuesday 1,2,3,4,5,4,4, 23 / 1,2,3,4,5,4,4, 23 / 1,2,3,4,5,5,5, 25 / 1,2,3,4,5,5,5, 25

    Wednesday 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 27 / 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,3,3, 34 / 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4, 36 / 5,5,5,5,5,4,3,3,3, 38

    Thursday 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 48 / 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4, 36 / 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4, 40 / 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,3, 43

    Friday 4,4,4,4,4,4,3 27 / 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 24 +10kg / 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 27 +10kg / 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 30 +10kg

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  95. I am going to start doing this and am wondering a few things, did you eat lots over the six weeks or normal sort of amounts,will I also drop my bodyfat percentage while doing this workout and finally could I include squats a couple of days a week do I hit my legs too. Thanks phil

    • Hi Phil,
      Thanks for your comment,
      OK, so food intake – I started the first two weeks just eating normally, bearing in mind that I hadn’t really been training before I started this program, so my food portions were pretty small/average. But by week 3, I felt a massive appetite spike, so the portions got bigger naturally!
      You will drop your body fat slightly if you eat clean. You’re going to build some muscle on this program, so if you eat clean then you will definitely get some definition.
      Squats, yeah I don’t see why not. But I would feel this one out, don’t just squat because you want to add more volume to your training. If you feel tired from doing the pull up program, don’t bother squatting. But if you feel you could chuck in some lower body stuff a couple of times a week, then go for it, it won’t hinder your progress if you don’t over do it.
      Thanks Phil, let me know how you get on and if I can help you,
      Cheers,

      • Thanks for the rapid reply. It is very much appreciated.
        Without the squats will my legs grow as I don’t want to look our of proportion. Finally I Have a really low pull-up mass rep like 2 or 3 so will this be enough to start this workout.

        • Haha if you don’t squat, they’re not going to grow on their own!
          But unless they are like cocktail sticks, I doubt your upper body is going to get so huge that you look out of proportion.
          2 or 3 reps should be fine. See how you go!

  96. Hi!
    Glad I’ve found this site! Appreciate the effort put into making it very nice to read!!
    I’m currently grinding second week at day 4. I started doing this workout routine not only to increase my pullup count, but to help me with my freestyle and butterfly swimming as I felt during swimming that I lack armstrength. So far I can’t complain, my muscles are sore and tired everyday, but I feel like i’m improving 🙂 I hope I’ll find enough willpower to finish the 6 weeks workout routine and even continue!

    • Hi Philip,
      You will notice a slight increase in size in your chest, but the emphasis in growth will be on the lats, for sure.

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