My main calisthenics goal for 2014 has been the one arm pull-up (OAP). At the beginning of 2014, I set my self the rather unrealistic goal of being able to perform a dead-hanging OAP by the end of the year. However, I have made significant progress and with the release of my PCC blog post on the OAP, I thought it was time to film and write a short follow up.

In the video, you can see I started with a demonstration of my jump assisted one arm pull-up. I’ve used this as a test of progression only, and has not been apart of my regular training. The video demonstrates my stronger arm, but I don’t progress until I can do an exercise with both arms. This has been a little frustrating at times, as my weaker arm is holding back the progress of my right arm, but it’s important to not increase the muscle imbalance.

My training plan from April until August, was to work one set of the hardest band I could manage and then four sets of five on the easier band. The goal being to reach five reps in the hard set, before moving to the next band. I managed five reps on the blue band fairly quickly, even with my weaker arm.

The red band was a lot tougher, it took me a month before I could get my chin to the bar with my stronger arm. Two months later and I still couldn’t get my chin to the bar with my left.

Having reached a bit of a plateau I decided to mix my training up a bit and throw in some negatives in place of the hard band exercises. This worked well and it wasn’t long before I could hold the negative for ten seconds plus. It’s important to also work the concentric phase as well, and therefore I continued with five sets of five on the blue band after the negatives.

After working negatives for over a month, I found that I could get partial reps at the top of the bar. I’ve since increased that to a half one arm pull-up, as seen in November. Finally to demonstrate my improvement, I filmed an updated version of my jump assisted one arm pull-up. I can now easily get my chin over the bar and find I don’t have to jump as high.

In my PCC article, I noted that the bands give a lot more assistance at the bottom, rather than the top. This is now evident with my strength. My top half is really strong, but the lower half is weak. My next phase of training will be to use harder bands to work just the bottom half of the OAP. Combining this with the full range of motion, I’m hopeful that this will continue my journey towards the dead hanging one arm pull-up.

To continue following my progress, then check out the one arm pull-up category on the site.