So you’ve made it through Levels 1 to 3, maybe even up to 5. You keep setting goals and timetables after each successful Level test, but at some point you hit a wall. All of a sudden having a goal isn’t enough, now you need a plan. So what happens now?

Everyone has different weak points, but most people have a few in common. Men and women almost universally struggle with Pull-Ups. After this, it is most commonly the Overhead Press, SLDL, TGU, Snatches, Loaded Carries and KB Complex that give people fits. T
he SLDL is mostly a balance issue, and the only real fix is to keep practicing. The Pull-Ups are also improved by (big surprise here) more pull-ups. But after those two, would you believe me if I told you that the rest could all be improved with focusing on two movement patterns/drills?

So let’s get into some details here. First up, Pull-Ups. There are two ways to attack pull-ups. High rep and high volume. My suggestion is to
do both, at least once a week. On both days, I would either super-set pull-ups with another lift, or put them into a circuit.

One day you do 5 sets total. You start (after a warm-up) with a max set, stopping with the last fully successful rep. I always try to touch my chest to the bar every rep, and I stop after I fail to touch the bar for two consecutive reps (but still get my chin over). The next subsequent sets I intentionally reduce the reps by two per set (unless that would bring me all the way to zero, in that case I drop by 1 rep per set, or every other set).

On the second pull-up day, go for high volume. You will reduce your reps per set to 50% of your max, and start there. On this day I would plan for 10-15 total sets of pull-ups. If possible, stay at the 50% rep mark for all sets. Every single one of these reps should be strong and perfect. If you need to, reduce the reps by 1 periodically, eventually dropping to 25% of your max. At the end of the workout you should have done almost twice as many total reps as on your “high rep” day.

Every few weeks, try to up your max set. As your max increases, adjust your 50% start number on the high volume day.

I have a very detailed Pull-Up plan that I share on an “as-requested” basis. I do this because I didn’t write it and I don’t believe in blatant plagiarism. If you are interested, it is on the FitRanX HQ Facebook page. If you are not a member of that page, contact us at and we will send it your way.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I go into how to improve your overhead strength!


Tim Peterson, Chief FitRanX® Instructor