Fighter Pull Up Program

Here is a powerful Russian pull-up program that is adaptable to any level of ability. FPP can be used to improve strength as well as strength-endurance. The author is unknown, but this program is well known for helping to double or triple the Pull Up max of beginners. It is presented by Pavel in his article "The Fighter Pullup Program Revisited".

  • The original program is a linear progression. You start with an all-out set--pick the starting point based on your RM--and then cut a rep in each consecutive set for a total of five sets. The next day add a rep to the last set. Then a rep to the set before that, etc.
  • The original progression prescribes a day off after four-five days of training. The plan was intended to be used for four weeks and has an impressive record of increasing one’s reps 2-3 times after a 2-3 day rest. 
  • Here is an example of a 4-week program for an athlete with a 4 rep max.
    • Day 1: 4, 3, 2, 1, 1
    • Day 2: 4, 3, 2, 2 1
    • Day 3: 4, 3, 3, 2, 1
    • Day 4: 4, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • Day 5: Rest
    • Day 6: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • Day 7: 5, 4, 3, 2. 2
    • Day 8: 5. 4, 3, 3, 2
    • Day 9: 5, 4, 4, 3, 2
    • Day 10: 5, 5, 4, 3, 2
    • Day 11: Rest
    • Day 12: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
    • Day 13: 6, 5, 4, 3, 3
    • Day 14: 6, 5, 4. 4, 3
    • Day 15: 6, 5, 5, 4, 3
    • Day 16: 6, 6, 5, 4, 3
    • Day 12: Rest
    • Day 13: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
    • Day 14: 7, 6, 5, 4, 4
    • Day 15: 7, 6, 5, 5, 4
    • Day 16: 7, 6, 6, 5, 4
    • Day 17: 7, 7, 6, 5 , 4
    • Day 18-20: Rest
    • Day 21: Test New Max

General Pull Up Programming Thoughts

  • “By increasing your 1RM strength through low rep heavy training, you can work up to 20-25 bodyweight only pull-ups without ever practicing them. Going beyond that number requires specific, higher rep, training to improve your lactic acid tolerance."
  • If you are able to accomplish more than 5 Bodyweight Pull Ups, your strength may benefit most if you weigh yourself down to a 3 or 4 rep max and build your FPP from that. Here is the 3RM program:
    • Day 1: 3, 2, 1, 1
    • Day 2: 3, 2, 1, 1
    • Day 3: 3, 2, 2, 1
    • Day 4: 3, 3, 2, 1
    • Day 5: 4, 3, 2, 1
    • Day 6: Rest
    • Now you are ready to move up to the 4RM program
  • Generally, Pull Ups thrive on variety. Change your grips in your training or try a new grip the next time you try the FPP.
  • For those interested in a high-rep program, as the RM increases in the FPP some things change. Higher rep sets are more taxing, so you must start more reps below your RM and the reps drop off more quickly from set to set.
  • The 15RM Fighter Pull Up Program would look as follows:
    • ay 1: 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
    • Day 2: 12, 10, 8, 6, 6
    • Day 3: 12, 10, 8, 8, 6
    • Day 4: 12, 10, 10, 8, 6
    • Day 5: 12, 12, 10, 8, 6
    • Day 6: Rest
    • Day 7: 14, 12, 10, 8, 6
    • etc.
  • The 25RM Fighter Pull Up Program would look as follows:
    • ay 1: 20, 16, 12, 8, 4
    • Day 2: 20, 16, 12, 8, 8
    • Day 3: 20, 16, 12, 12, 8
    • Day 4: 20, 16, 16, 12, 8
    • Day 5: 20, 20, 16, 12, 8
    • Day 6: Rest
    • Day 7: 22, 18, 14, 10, 6
    • etc.