The 3×3 Pull Up / Chin Up Workout Protocol – New Pull Up Variation

If you’re looking for a new challenge to an old stand by exercise: Pull Up and Chin Ups – The 3×3 Pull Up / Chin Up workout protocol delivers big!


If you’re able to complete all 3 reps of this monster, which you’ll see in the video below aren’t normal reps, simply add in some external load using a weight vest or dip belt. Of course, you can do this workout with any sort of grip your choose: close grip, wide grip, mixed grip, chin up or pull up!




One of the most common questions I get about this protocol is “why would you do a bunch of partial reps when you can just do full range reps each time?”


That’s a valid question. And, here’s my answer – I sometime use the 3×3 Chin Up Protocol for two reasons:


1. To ensure optimal strength in each aspect of the chin up and/or pull up. It’s the same reason a powerlifter does things like 2 and 3 board presses to improve his bench press. The powerlifter understands that training to maximize strength in the bench press means that he or she must train in all aspects of the range of motion of the bench press. This ensures that the powerlifter is not weak in any part of the range of motion.


I’m simply applying that same proven strategy to the Pull Up and Chin Up exercises, which is a staple move in my upper-body pulling programs. And, if you read my man Bret Contreras’s EMG work here you’ll see chin ups and pull ups are effective abdominal strengthening exercise as well!


2. Strength can be range of motion specific, which is kind of piggy backing off of what I just told you above. For instance – I remember reading some research, which I can’t seem to relocate, comparing the glute strength of  elite sprinters vs. cyclists.


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The findings were that BOTH types of athletes had extremely strong glutes when performing hip extension. But, the sprinters were strongest from mid-range to end range hip extension. Whereas the cyclists were stronger than the sprinters when extending their hip from a fully flexed position and lost strength in the mid to end range of hip extension. Basically, the sprinters were strong in the ranges they most often use their muscles and the cyclists were also strong within the specific ranges of motion they most move in when training.


I could have told you what those research results were going to be even before I read the damn study! That’s the SAID principle at work and why the SAID principle is what dictates much of how I train my clients and athletes! Put simply, how you want to use your body in sport is how I have you train your body (or as close as I possibly can) in the gym. That my friends is functional training!


Program Design Tips

– Sprinkle in a few sets of the 3×3 Chin up/Pull up protocol into your normal full range of motion pull ups. You don’t have to do every set in partial reps. Do some set as shown and others in full ROM. Remember, training is NOT an all or nothing thing. Do some of this and some of that!


– I like to perform the 3×3 protocol as shown in the video, beginning with the highest (top) part of the chin up/ pull up and work my way down to the middle and then the bottom. I do this because the toughest part is the top part (getting your chin above the bar). So, I begin with the most difficult part of the movement when you’re the most fresh and gradually make the workout easier as you get more tired. In a way, that could be also be called “accommodating” resistance training.



Final Thoughts

So, now you know HOW to perform the 3×3 Chin Up / Pull Up workout protocol. And, you also know WHY it works. Now, all you have to do is get into the gym and use it!



The 5th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development Conference in Baltimore MD

One last thing! This weekend (Fri & Sat, July 15-16) I have the honor of presenting along with some of the top College, NFL and private sector strength coaches from all over the country. And, the best part is that the event is right here in my own back yard. There’s still time to register for this event!


CLICK HERE for more information on the 5th Annual SC/AD Conference


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