Recommended Workout: Armstrong Advanced for Pullup Plateaus

This is great. Armstrong got me from zero pull ups to a steady 15-16 over the last year. I’ve been stuck there for the last few months and hopefully this will help me bust the plateau.
On the tendonitis – constant body weight push/pulls and Armstrong over many months was wearing down my left elbow to the point where it was painful to do anything.
-Candidate Kevin


“Plateau: [Verb] to stop increasing or improving after a period of development.”

Armstrong Pullup Program

You gained one, two, three pullups a week. You did it all right. Fifty pullups a week went to over a hundred.  Then it stopped. You’re stuck at your current level of pullup fitness.

Now What?

So what’s going on? In many cases, overtraining is holding you back. With only a day or two of rest during the week, the muscles are getting broken down but don’t have the chance to build up and recover. Are you resting a day after each hard workout? Are you eating enough protein and getting enough sleep? On the other hand–is it easy to get a set of more than 10 pullups done? Maybe you need more resistance for each “rep” of the exercise.

Have you tried the Armstrong Advanced workout? Also named in honor of Major Charles Lewis Armstrong, it is designed to pick up where the standard five-day-a-week Armstrong Pullup Program left off.

The Armstrong Pullup Program Advanced Workout Routine

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Five Sets Per Workout:

  1. Unweighted working set
  2. Weighted working set
  3. Weighted working set
  4. Weighted working set
  5. Unweighted cool-down set


  • Rest exactly 60 seconds between sets.
  • Begin the workout without weights to establish your personal number of pullups per working set.
  • Start with a weight of 5 lbs or less.
  • Increase your working set by one repetition when you can complete all five sets.
  • When you can complete 5 sets of 8 pullups, add weight, not reps.


The repetitive structure of the Armstrong Pullup Program Advanced makes it easy to standardize your improvement by using the overload principle to steadily increase either reps or weight, as appropriate. You should expect to fall a little short of your working set goal on the fourth or fifth sets of the workout.

Don’t have a weight belt? No excuses!

Grab an athletic drawstring backpack and drop some 1kg plates in it. Wear cargo shorts and put the plates in your pockets! Who cares how–get it done!

Don’t combine the workout with any bicep or lat-intensive activity like rowing, to avoid overtraining or interfering with your results.

Example Workout Routine

  1. 6 unweighted pullups (working set: 6)
  2. 6 weighted pullups with 5 lbs
  3. 6 weighted pullups with 5 lbs
  4. 5 weighted pullups with 5 lbs (attempted 6)
  5. 5 unweighted pullups (attempted 6)

Get Working!

Pull Up Bar Indoors
The classic Iron Gym indoor pullup bar

Get yourself an indoor pullup bar. Grab a weighted dip belt or whatever you have lying around.


Your Thoughts?

Got any feedback? Are you one of the candidates who plateaued on the Armstrong Basic workout? Please leave your feedback below.

Leave a Reply