Only 1 Pull-Up?

Cory Gregory


Wide Grip Pull-ups have been a staple in my training programs since I met Dustin Myers during my sophomore year in high school.  I can remember doing a bunch of bench press back in high school, but when back day came around he mentioned starting off with wide-grip pull-ups.  It’s how many of the best 1970’s Golden Era lifters built their massive backs and physiques. 

So, Dustin jumps up to the pull-up bar at 120 lbs. and rips off about 25 reps on his first set.  Now I’m only about 155 lbs., but I jump up there with that wide grip and I do ONE rep.  I couldn’t get the second one.  Mind you that I’m benching around 250-260 as a sophomore in high school, but my ratio for chest to back strength was terrible

From that moment on I became obsessed with pull-ups.  I remember reading through the programming from the Golden Era guys and seeing Arnold’s group doing five sets of wide grip pull-ups and five sets of pull-ups with the seated row bar 2-3 times per week.  They did mounds of pull-ups.

As I got older and more experienced with my posing and pull-up training, I noticed that my lat spread became much wider than most others because of the cumulative time dedicated to wide grip pull-ups.  Because of the numerous reps that I had put in as I got leaner for shows, the detail in my back became one of my strong points.  I attribute this mostly to not skipping pull-ups and keeping them a priority. 

Most people shy away from pull-ups in general because they are very difficult.  Just remember from the story above of when I could only do one pull-up because many out there think that I was always good at them.  Simply not the case.  You might have to use a band, but everyone has to start somewhere.  If you can only do three sets of one rep, so be it.  I started off by only being able to do one pull-up, then it turned into 3 sets of 20 reps, and eventually led to my best set of 34 reps.

The wide grip pull-up assisted in making my physique more complete, a much stronger bench presser and gave me the aesthetic look that most people want.

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