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The BEST Way to Improve Pullups and Pushups is...

Stew smith calisthenics cardio chest workout improvement pullup workout pullups pushups weight training

Unlock Your Full Potential with This Proven Method for Mastering Pushups and Pullups

If you are looking to enhance your performance in pushups and pullups, the strategy of simply increasing the number of repetitions you conduct in a week of workouts is not the sole solution. Sure the method of doing more pullups and pushups each upper body workout can work, but if you have peaked in your volume to date, adding more volume may not be the best option. If you have done progressive high rep training for months, workouts with more volume like the PT pyramid, supersets, and max rep sets may not work for you. In this case, more is not the answer. 

Where many go wrong is performing daily pushups and pullups for long periods of time at moderate to high volume. This approach can work for a week to 10 days as seen in the Two Week Protocol, but any high volume for longer periods of time can see negative results, joint pain, and tendonitis in wrists, elbows, and shoulders. 

Another option to consider is the incorporation of weight vests for both pullups and pushups. By adding resistance to your usual routine, you can substantially improve your strength and endurance by doing FEWER reps. Hear me out:

Perform a maximum set of pushups and pullups with a 20-40lbs weight vest. Pick a weight that is appropriate to be able to do 5-10 pullups and 20-30 pushups. You may need two different weights as pushups will be easier than pullups. I usually will do 20 lbs. pullups and 40 lbs. pushups with the weight vest. Then take off the weight vest and see how many pullups and pushups you can do. This calisthenics version of the drop set is a way to improve your max reps by doing fewer reps per workout. A sample workout would look like this:

Repeat 4 times
WV Pullups max (no rest)
- Pullups max
- active rest with 400m jog or 2 minute bike

Do the same for Pushups:
Repeat 4 times
WV Pushups max (no rest)
 - Pushups max
- active rest with 2 minute core exercise or 2 minute easy cardio.

Added Weights and Calisthenics Option:

For an alternative approach, engage in a combination of weighted and calisthenic exercises. For instance, test your maximum number of repetitions with a weight mimicking your body weight on the bench press. After reaching muscle failure, transition immediately to a set of push-ups. This sequence imitates the challenging period of a two-minute push-up test, intensifying your workout and effectively bolstering your muscle stamina.

This workout looks like this:

Repeat 4 times
BW Bench Press - max reps
- pushups max reps (with no rest)
- rest as needed in between sets

You will find the pushups reps a tough less than 10 reps to obtain if you are doing the first heavy set right. 

Additionally, attempt a weighted pulldown exercise with a weight you can only lift 5-8 times, and then proceed to a set of maximum pull ups. To top off this superset like circuit, add more pulling exercises like dumbbell or barbell rows, and bicep curls for an average set of 10-15 repetitions. These exercises, when combined, will enhance your strength foundation and benefit your overall muscle stamina. This is not easy and it recommended to do only a few times a week. 

This workout looks like this:

Repeat 4 times
Heavy Pulldowns 5-6 reps (hard to do)
- Pullups max reps (with no rest)
- rest as needed in between sets

You will find the pullups reps a tough less than 5 reps to obtain if you are doing the first heavy set right. 

While conducting more pushups and pullups will enhance your performance, the inclusion of strength-building exercises will also help to fortify your strength foundation and boost muscle stamina. Keep in mind, that mastering the first push-up and pullup is a strength exercise. However, achieving 20 pullups is an endurance exercise and represents a test of muscle stamina, also known as “strength-endurance”.

Remember to diversify your training methods to continually improve. Experiment with various strategies over a 4-6 week cycle and discover the combination that propels your calisthenic performance to the next level. 

In conclusion, the question of how to improve pushups and pullups can be addressed by both more calisthenics as well as incorporating weighted repetitions and calisthenics combos into your training routine. Adding volume in any method (pyramid, super sets, max rep sets) is A way to get results (not the only way) most of the time. But another method with less wear and tear on the joints than doing high volume all the time can be by adding weight to pullups and pushups with a weight vest, then maxing out on these exercises without the added weight, you can effectively push your muscle stamina to its limits with fewer reps..

Additionally, a weighted/calisthenics combo involving bench press and push-ups can mimic the struggle of a two-minute fitness test, helping you build strength and endurance simultaneously. Remember, the key to progress lies in diversifying your methods and giving equal focus to building strength and muscle stamina. So, don't be constrained to a singular training approach - try incorporating these different exercises and combinations into your routine and watch your calisthenics numbers soar.

There is More to Than You May Know

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