Smokes your problems, coughs fresh air.

Increasing the number of reps on my pull-ups

Update June 16, 2023, regarding my misuse of the N-word. I’ve come to regret my use of the N-word in the below. I was, ten years ago, quite ignorant of how it could and could not be used. As a Dutch customer weaned on an intellectual diet of popular American music (rap music in particular), I was under the impression that saying “nigger” in the context were I used it was a legitimate way to express admiration for the prowess of certain black men. I was wrong, and could have known that I was wrong if I had spent more time educating myself rather than just being brainwashed by American mass media.

I’m growing increasingly frustrated with my inability to increase the number of pull-ups I can do in one set. And, after so many years, I’m still not even close to doing a single one-hand pull-up or one of those muscle-ups all the niggers on YouTube seem to be doing these days. That’s why I’m going to let one of those black dudes guide me and my puny, little white frame:

That’s Ed from Barstarzz demonstrating a program developed by Major Charles Lewis Armstrong.

The program

I’m going to try the Armstrong workout program [PDF mirror from] for this month.

Every day morning routine

During my morning routine, I’ll perform 3 sets of push-ups until exhaustion. The program doesn’t mention this, but I’m going to use a different push-up technique every day.

Progress on the program

I started yesterday with Day 2 of the program so that I can follow it from Monday to Friday. Here I’ll track my progress during the weeks to come.

Pull-up progress
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Description: 5 sets of max. reps Piramid sets (1 rep, 10 secs rest, 2 reps, 20 secs rest, etc. until failure; rest 60 sec and repeat last no. of reps same no. reps for 3*3 sets (3 different techniques; 60 sec. intervals) Same as day 3 + 1 rep/set Repeat hardest routine of the week
Week 1: Didn’t start yet 7 reps max 7 reps 8 reps 8 reps
Week 2: Pieterpad 7 reps max 8 reps (too optimistic) Left for Zeeland on Thu-night
Week 3: 12+8+6+7+8 7 reps max asleep 9*8 reps some reps
Week 4: drinking and partying too tired 9*8 reps
Week 5: Kampkater depressed depressed 9*10 reps 2*7+3*5 reps explosive pull-ups (chest to bar)
Week 6: 15+14+12+10+15 reps 10 reps max 9*11 reps
Week 7: 20+20+15+12+12 reps 9*11 reps 3*12 reps
Week 8: 12+19+10+10+9 reps 12 reps max
Push-up progress
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Description: Diamond push-ups Small push-ups Wide push-ups One-armed push-ups Hindu push-ups
Week 1: I only started with the routine on Day 2 50+20+20+10 reps 3*15 reps 50+60+20 reps
Week 2: 50+50+30 reps ?+?+? reps ?+?+? reps 3*10 reps Zeeland
Week 3: 80+40+40 reps 3*50 reps 50+50+30 reps 3*15 reps 3*50 reps
Week 4: 50+70+70 reps 3*70 reps 120(140?)+100+70 reps 20 reps
Week 5: 30+20+20 reps 3*70 reps
Week 6: 80+80 reps 100+70+50 reps 3*30 reps
Week 7: 100+70+100 reps 3*80 reps 10+20+30 reps ? reps
Week 8: 100 reps 110+100 reps 15+20 reps 100 reps
Week 9: 120+100 reps 3*50 reps 30+50+50 reps [pansy-ass sore knuckles] 100+ reps


  1. halfgaar

    I think you fail to realize the full cultural context of your use of slang here. Being a witness of both American and Dutch culture, I can tell you that you make the same mistake a lot of other Dutch people make; they think it’s ‘cool’. It’s an insider’s thing of these oppressed groups. They have ‘taken the term back’, but now it’s sensationalized by MTV culture.

    And posting this link won’t help you here, even though it’s funny and correct.

  2. Rowan Rodrik

    I’m fully aware that you’re not supposed to use the term nigger when you’re not a black dude, especially when you’re located in the US of A, but I have a nigger passs.

    Using politically correct labels for oppressed groups (such as African Americans) offends me. 😉 It is condescending and emphasizes the defenselessness of said groups.

    I like what Slavoj Zizek has to say about discrimintation.

    The worst discrimination is bred by our insistence that we should not discriminate. I don’t consider myself a racist or a sexist, but I wouldn’t dare deny that I’m an xenophobe and a gynophobe to some extent. To deny this would hinder any and all attempts that I could make to compensate for this. And embracing this allows for more so much more fun when trying to get along with people that I feel the urge to discriminate. When I get uncomfortable around colored people, it’s usually much more due to the awareness that I shouldn’t be [uncomfortable] than due to the insistence of my senses that they look different from me.

    Political correctness is a bitch and a bitch should know her place. Like a bitch, political correctness isn’t courted because we love it, but because we want to look cool to all the other Politically Correct.

  3. Rowan Rodrik

    Yesterday and today, I did the training sets, where I have to do 3 sets with 3 different grips. The first 3 sets I did with normal grip (hand palms facing away), the second 3 with small grip (palms towards me) and the third 3 sets with extra wide grip (palms facing away again). Yesterday, I could reach the 7th (and today, the 8th) rep in most sets except the extra wide grips.

    Maybe next week I can try doing these 3 sets first, before the normal and the small grip Now, what to do tomorrow? Maybe 5 sets with the extra wide grip to exhaustion, as a hybrid between the program of Day 1 (which I haven’t done yet) and that of Day 3 and 4.

  4. halfgaar

    I can’t look at your video’s right now, but I can ask this: would you post the paragraph in question on your Facebook page, verbatim?

    More later.

  5. halfgaar

    Continuing the discussion, I agree mostly with what you say, and I recognize the feelings. I thought this was a good point, for instance:

    When I get uncomfortable around colored people, its usually much more due to the awareness that I shouldnt be [uncomfortable] than due to the insistence of my senses that they look different from me.

    But the nigger pass? Isn’t that the very sensationalizing I was talking about?

  6. Rowan Rodrik

    On day 5, I repeated the routine of day 4, but with a modification. I started with the wide grip, followed by the normal grip and I finished with the small grip. Done this way, I got to the 8 reps also on the wide grip pull-ups.

    Yesterday (day 1 of week 2), I didn’t do any pull-ups, because I got home from a long walk at around one o’ clock, while my alarm clock was set for 8 o’ clock this morning.

  7. Rowan Rodrik

    Halfgaar, I like your Facebook question. 😉 I have to think about that one for a bit. Which part would you most want to dare me to put on Facebook?

    I’m not so sure what you mean by sensationalizing although I think I understand your referencing to the hijacking of black (urban) subculture by commercial interests. Could you elucidate this point, while maybe indicating somewhere along the way whether you consider this a positive or a negative phenomena?

  8. Rowan Rodrik

    There are some gaps in the (memory) record concerning last week, and this week I already slept through one session, but I’m still going through with this, although, due to severe sleep deprivation during the weekend, I started this Week on Wednesday instead of Monday. Also, next week will be a full rest week wherein, apart from some hand stands and punches, I’ll just train my legs and work on my flexibility and speed. This is to make it coincide nicely with a school field week on Schiermonnikoog.

    [Wiebe, Since I know you’ll be seeing this in your feed reader: Do you happen to know if going through with this is acceptable English style?]

  9. halfgaar

    As far as I know, it is only used when there was doubt involved. Like: “You’re actually going through with it, despite the warnings?” So if you were considering stopping, then I think it’s OK. However, it seems you’re saying you just missed a few but you want to continue. Then I’d say ‘but I’m going to keep it up”, or something.

  10. Rowan Rodrik

    Thanks, Halfgaar! 🙂

  11. Rowan Rodrik

    I wonder how I will fare when I pick it up again on Monday

  12. halfgaar

    I decided to pick up running when in Spain. They had those stupid treadmills in the hotel and to get the blood running in the morning, I decided to give that a try. I only did it twice, 45 and 30 minutes, about 8 and 6 km (if I recall correctly), and now my ankles are very sore. I wonder what happened. I didn’t think I was that much of a woos.

    First it was just the muscles, but that is just some stiffness you’d expect, but the ankles themselves can’t seem to handle much weight. Hmm.

  13. Rowan Rodrik

    Do you ever run? Otherwise, starting with 8 and 6 km may be a tad optimistic If you do run, maybe running on the treadmill is too different from running in the big room. Either way, I wouldn’t be overly worried. It doesn’t sound like the type of load that will result in injury for someone of your fitness level and health. I recommend the careful application of some mobility exercises for you ankles to aid the healing process, like, for instance, the type of rotations that used to be part of our wushu warm-up routine.

  14. halfgaar

    I don’t run, no. The thing is, the 8 and 6 km didn’t seem all that hard. It was more that I stopped out of boredom. I do think that running in the ‘big room’ would be harder. To me, it seems that on a treadmill, all you have to do is throw your feet backwards. In the big room, you need to propel your weight.

    I will do the ankle exercises you suggested.

  15. Rowan Rodrik

    I’ve never walked on a treadmill. It sounds weird.

  16. Rowan Rodrik

    Goddamn! Breathing is difficult if you haven’t been exercising for over a week and all you did a week ago is this stupid routine. I really need to open up these lungs again and feel the air refill my empty, depressed self!

  17. Rowan Rodrik

    I look like my chest has caved in (further than it normally is). Fuck this leptosomatic look! After flying to France this weekend, there will be ample opportunity to sweat out all this weakness

  18. halfgaar

    I think you berate yourself and therefore your perception of yourself has caved in… Who or what exactly is it that you have to measure up to? Not me, anyway, because you left me far behind already…

    My ankles have been OK for a while again, BTW.

  19. Rowan Rodrik

    Last week, I skipped the third and fourth day, but performed the day 4 routine on day five, so I put that down under the day 4 column.

    Today, I’ll give the day 1 routine another go.

  20. Rowan Rodrik

    My discipline is lapsing. So I ask myself: What would a real nigger do?

  21. halfgaar

    I do think there is a difference between not being politically correct, and offensive (regardless of The Amazing Atheist’s view of offensive). I (still) challenge you to post a Facebook update with your last comment.

  22. Rowan Rodrik

    I think the last comment wouldn’t make sense out of context, so I’m thinking of something equally politically incorrect to post on Facebook, but it’s difficult to think of something that doesn’t require more than a paragraph. Also, I’d like it to be sexist at the same time.

  23. halfgaar

    Don’t overdo it, because then it’ll look like a parody.

  24. Rowan Rodrik

    And it looks serious now?

  25. halfgaar

    You don’t think so, apparently. Hence the challenge 🙂

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