Thursday, December 25, 2008

One Arm Pull-ups (OAPs)

This is a tough move that some of the Bar-barians (like Zef) can do very easily:

I have been working on it for a while and I still don't quite have it. I figured I just wasn't strong enough to do it. I think it might partially be a problem of technique though. If you watch Zef you will see that he brings the shoulder of the non-working arm towards the bar (Jim Bathhurst also mentions that he generally turns towards the bar while doing the OAP in his excellent OAP tutorial ). I have been trying to pull straight up and getting stuck about half-way. This makes sense because at the half-way point your elbow is at a 90 angle and your body is at it's furthest from the bar. By turning towards the bar you reduce your distance, and increase your mechanical advantage.

For the last couple of days I've been thinking about this as often as 16 y.o. boys think about sex. I'm obsessed. Been itching to try it but I'm still too sore. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be recovered and I will make some further progress implementing this technique.

If you have been working the OAP, let us know how you are doing with it. Successes, or failures, I'm interested to hear peoples' experiences.


  1. I have been practicing this one for a while. I can do one rep on my best day, fully recovered. It also seems I have to really have my adrenalin pumping to pull it off. I long for the day that I can do it on demand, sore or not. Also would like to be able to rep it two or more would be nice. Gaining weight seems to make it impossible. I would like to think that the strength gain would be relative to the weight gain if it was mostly muscle but the bottom line is i've plateaud in this area for some time now. Some exercises id do to gain strength for the OAP are negatives, assisted positives(band in other hand), static holds(half hang-one or two arms), and weighted pullups. thanks, Dan

  2. that sounds a lot like me. I just barely got 1 the other day using the technique that I described (turning towards the non-working shoulder). Subsequently I have tried it when more sore and haven't come close.

  3. 50% mental, practice like your life depends on it. After doing it once it's a piece of cake. trust me. practice the negative, then spot yourself with your free arm.