I am trying to increase the number of reps in one arm pull ups, but for a few months now I am stuck at 3 reps and cannot progress.

I have tried adding weight and even going a step back for a while by doing archer pull ups but that did not help. I also tried partial reps at the end of the set with no effect.

Also note that getting those three reps is extremely hard for me and there are times that I can't do even one, so I was thinking maybe I am not ready for one arm pull ups and maybe I should do something lighter for the moment. Can you suggest a way to help me progress?

3 Answers 3


Do Single arm lat pulldowns or Close grip v grip lat pulldowns. But do it by sitting at the ground so that you get a complete range of motion. Go for the heavier weights with some support. If you are already doing one-arm pushups I think I don't need to explain in detail, you'll feel the exercise. Also try Inverted rows.

  • 1
    Perhaps this could work, but I am only doing bodyweight exercises because I don't have money to join a gym.
    – paradox
    Nov 8, 2018 at 19:25
  • You should get some resistance bands and do the same exercises.
    – sks147
    Nov 9, 2018 at 3:49

While i can't do a one arm pull up, i can't imagine it would be that much different to teaching someone who can't do any pull ups how to do one.

1.Do some negatives. So do a two hand pull up on the way up. then hold yourself up at the top with one hand, and on the way down use one hand. Try and resist on the way down. Try to aim for the eccentric phase lasting about 3-5 seconds.

2.Use a resistence band to aid your one hand pull-ups. This will make the movement 'easier' so that you could practice more reps. (https://www.rubberbanditz.com/info-center/pull-up-bands/) link to show how to use.

3.I would suggest not going to failure so much. You've stated that you can only manage three. I would suggest doing no more than two in your regular training. The reason being is that you will be fatiguing yourself. You've mentioned that sometimes you can't even do one. This is most likely the reason (provided your diet and training are consistent). you could start by testing your max only at the end of the month. Although really the less you max out the better.

  1. you could look for a pull up routine online. There may even be a one arm pull up progression routine out there. Stick with it for a couple of months and see how it goes.

Good luck


First of, exercise every kind of muscle fiber you need for pull ups: resistance and strength. - for resistance: you need yo traing your "red" fiber type (Slow twitch, slowly, for longer period of time) Here you need to work with "high reps", that means a movement that let you do at least 15 reps with out resting. It could be a assited pull up, or a pull up with your feets standing in the ground, some rows focused on lats and other in biceps and forearms, etc.

  • for strength: "white" fiber (Fast twitch, with greater force, used for short bursts of effort). Here you need to do keep in mind to not pass 10 reps. Do this movements fast as you can, explosively (concentric part of the movement), but also controlled and slow (specially in the eccentric part)

  • combine this with isometric excersise: search for armwrestlers training, some of them they do 1 arm isometric pullups, haning up from one arm and maintaining the body without changes.

Always do your stretching session AFTER each workout, you don't want to end with tendinitis in the time.

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