I'm currently working towards doing 10-15 full form overhand grip pull ups at slightly wider than shoulder width. I can only do about 1 of them per set while keeping proper form. I can do 7-12 with proper form using a purple resistance band (12 in first set, then slowly dropping down every set to 8 at failure. However I can do about 3-5 neutral grip pull ups at less wide than shoulder width.

My question is, if I want to achieve the first thing (10-15 overhand), will I benefit more from doing 3x5 reps of neutral grip with full weight, or 10x3 with purple resistance band? I'm 135lbs and 6'2. Also when should I opt for a lower level band to hold less of my weight? I have been doing the resistance band ones for 2 weeks now and I improved from being able to do 7-8x3 to the 12-8x3 but i'm not sure if that's the best improvement I could have expected.

  • Why not do both? Mix it up and your body will progress faster as it has to adapt – Twyxz Dec 3 at 8:46
  • @Twyxz yup that's what I did. now i'm doing 10x3 on black resistance and adding 1-3 real ones in between sets and its working well – LDR Dec 5 at 22:56
up vote 0 down vote accepted

For anyone else in this position interested in knowing what works best I found that doing different assistance levels in addition to unassisted works the best. For example start off with purple band and do 12x3, then do 8-10x3 with black band, and do 1-3x3 with no assistance in the same workout. The thing with this is with the purple you'll be able to get higher and progress to high pull up/muscle up, and with the black you'll be progressing towards red band and then finally no assistance. And the few unassisted ones will help you get some practice with those too as you build towards doing lots of them.

What I advice you to do is do both. Start by doing full weight pull-ups, about 3 sets of as many as you can. After that switch to assisted pull-ups with a resistance band.

This will help you increasing your strength and helps you work on the proper form for a pull-up. It will be important to keep your scapula retracted during a pull-up, which might be hard with the full bodyweight pull-ups. Really focuson this when you're doing your assisted pull-ups.

Also do different variations in width and grip on the bar to get a full upper back workout and progress your pull-up.

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