I'm Darryl Edwards (aka The Fitness Explorer), founder of Primal Play, a paleo nutritionist and author of the books Paleo from A to Z and Paleo Fitness based in London, England.  This blog documents my experiences with a Paleo lifestyle that has made me fitter and healthier in my forties than ever before. I am a contributor to Paleo Magazine and presenter at various symposiums globally such as Paleo:f(x), PrimalCon, AHS (Ancestral Health Symposium), Thr1ve.Me, and other events globally. I am also founder of the first Paleo conference in Europe, HEALTH Unplugged which took place for the 3rd year running in Autumn 2016.

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Reading List
  • Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    by Darryl Edwards

    "If you are looking for a simple way to better understand Paleo concepts, Darryl's Paleo from A to Z guide is the go-to resource.
    -Mark Sisson, best-selling author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of Mark's Daily Apple

  • Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    by Darryl Edwards, Brett Stewart, Jason Warner

    "This book is a useful reference to enable individuals just starting out on the Paleo path as well as those who want to explore more challenging, playful and interesting ways to move."

    -Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution

     

  • 7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    by Darryl Edwards
  • The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    by Robb Wolf
  • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    by Mark Sisson
  • Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    by Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie, Sarah Dopp
  • Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    by Terry Wahls, Eve Adamson
  • Protein Power
    Protein Power
    by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades, Mary Deans
  • Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    by Christopher McDougall
  • In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    by Michael Pollan
  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    by Michael Pollan
  • The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    by L. Cordain
  • Vegetarian Myth, The
    Vegetarian Myth, The
    by Lierre Keith
  • The Second Brain
    The Second Brain
    by Michael D. Gershon
  • The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    by Loren Cordain
  • Eat Drink Paleo
    Eat Drink Paleo
    by Irena Macri
  • Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    by Jimmy Moore, Eric C. Westman
Wednesday
Aug252010

Workout: Pull-Up Matrix (Advanced)

 

Warmup: 

  • 10 minute moderate row (substitute skipping/jump rope or running)
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 20 Air Squats

 Workout:

  • 20 sec full hang, 1 pull-up - (shoulder width, overhand grip) - rest for 40 sec
  • 10 sec full hang, then 3 Pull-ups (wide, overhand grip) - rest for 30 sec
  • 30 sec hang - knees raised (shoulder width, overhand grip) - rest for 30 sec
  • 5 Pull-Ups, then 30 sec full hang (narrow underhand grip) - rest for 10 sec
  • 30 sec (bend at elbows) hang (underhand grip), 5 Pull-Ups - rest for 30 sec.
  • 5 pull-ups diagonal to the left, 5 pull-ups diagonal to the right - aka Mountain Climbers (wide overhand grip)
  • Bent Arm Knee to Elbow (twist) - 10 left twist, 10 right twist.
  • 5 Pull-ups (underhand grip) - rest for 50 sec
  • 15 sec (bend at elbows) - knee raise hang, 15 sec full hang, 15 sec knee hang, rest for 15 sec.
  • 3 Pull-ups (wide, overhand grip) - rest for 50 sec.


Finisher:

100 Air Squats

--

View other Fitness Explorer workouts here:

 

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Reader Comments (9)

Hey, Good workout. This was quite tough. I found my grip strength failing me when I got to the mountain climbers. I had to pause in between them. I'm conditioning for my upcoming gymnastics cert, and thought it would be a good one to try.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJez

I did this earlier today, really tough! But feel this is a great way to improve my upper body strength.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan Warrior

Looks like a good routine, Darryl. I'm going to try it tomorrow.

Are you, or any of your readers perhaps, doing one-armed pullup/chinup? That was my goal a couple of years ago, and I'm still keen to do it, but I really did a number on my elbows trying to progress into it last time, so I stopped pullups for almost 2 yrs until recently.

Now, my form is much better, which is making a big difference. But still, it seems that a lower volume but higher intensity approach as you suggest here might just get the job done. My old routine was probably too high a volume and that probably a big part of the problem.

Any thoughts?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuan

Well, I tried to the routine and couldn't quite manage all the iso holds nor, especially, the iso+knee to elbow. Very thorough routine, though.

I do like that there is reduced volume but no perceived diminution of intensity, at least not for my part. I will try it again over the next few weeks to see how I improve.

I think the variety of hangs and then hangs-to-pulls may really help my shoulder, too. It's now at the "there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel" stage of a 25-year long rehab. I have been doing full dead hangs for the last few years just as a mobility "opener" but not ever coupling hangs with pulls in any meaningful way.

By the way, when doing the hangs are you suggesting dead hangs or seating the shoulders fully in the socket a la Pavel's or Steve Maxwell's "pack the shoulders"?

Cheers and thanks.
Juan

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuan

Juan,

First in response to the one arm pull-up/push-ups. I think for most individuals especially when you have longer limbs (like myself) - you put yourself at tremendous risk performing these one arm exercises. Actually long limbs or not!

It is so easy to compromise form, to lose structural support of the joint and then hyper-extend the joint which like you know personally can lead to long term injury.

Of course you still want to address muscular and joint imbalances from one arm to the other, but I think this can be performed in a much safer fashion. For example change pull up grip position as much as possible: one hand pronated (overhand grip) and one supinated (underhand grip) or very wide, very narrow grips, sometimes with thumb, sometimes without, etc.

The isometric holds also ensure you address weaknesses at all ranges of motion. I tend to feel less comfortable at the bottom of the pull-up then the top, but for some people it's the opposite.

In terms of seating the shoulders, I think again variations of this are good -sometimes you want a full dead hang lock out, other times you want to keep the shoulders active.

Increase variety and reducing volume I think is key.

I hope this helps!

-Darryl.

September 15, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarryl Edwards

Thanks Darryl. Your comments are pretty much how I view matters and how I tend do these movements. I don't have especially long arms but I'm in the weight/height range (168lbs and 5'8") where the strength to weight ratio is harder to reach (lighter weight guys do this move better). Or, larger guys with more absolute strength probably can be more likely to conquer the 1arm pull up. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. But, yeah, in all regards safety is most critical so for my part I'm going to keep keeping the volume down. By the way, it's also at the bottom where I have to be most careful. I suppose it's similar to my situation at the top of a KB press or snatch where I have to be most careful. My mobility is finally good -- with my bad shoulder -- but still quite unstable under load so I either do shitty snatches and/or presses and/or jerks with my left, or I don't do them.
Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful response.

Juan

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuan

Juan

I sympathise now I get an idea on the strength to weight ratio.

I sometimes think the 1 arm pull up is more showmanship than functional. I mean how would you climb onto the item/bar/shelf/wall if you are pulling yourself up - and the other is out of action? :-)

I suppose some people would argue it is one true demonstration of strength, but I think being able to hold yourself isometrically with 1 arm whilst relaxing the other is more useful and functional.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this?

Darryl.

September 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarryl Edwards

Really enjoying this post Juan and Darryl. Lots of insight,

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan Warrior

Thanks @Spartan Warrior and Darryl. Since I last commented, I've done your pullup workout again (yesterday). It was hard -- again -- but I am liking the nearly HIT (a la Dr. McGuff) feel to it. Really get pumped -- which I didn't expect -- and (and this is a big "and") my shoulder is improving vastly!! I've been doing some specific mobility moves for the past week or so -- no weight, just movement -- in ways I've never worked on in the past 25-*******-years, and in a matter of days I can see it's paying off. Very exciting for me, but I will be patient. ( I can’t believe how stupid I’ve been over the years trying to build strength on top of dysfunction!).

In any event, Darryl, I'm definitely going to add your excellent workout as a regular thing for the next few weeks and assess my progress. Then, I’ll probably scale it from there. For instance, I find that I rest more, but sometimes less, than in your program guideline but overall I see it's hard to stick to the strict routine. I suspect that is normal, though. n=1

As regards your thoughts on the one-armed pullup; I agree. In and of itself it isn’t an especially functional move, but the capability of doing it must suggest some overall ability to move one’s body around with pretty good efficiency, don’t you think? Except in movies where the impossibility quotient is thrown out the window, I suspect that there would never be a functional need to nail a one armed pullup. However, a one-armed hang, or hold, now that’s a different story, n’est ce pas? Anyway, ...

In the FWIW category, before doing the pullup routine I did a "300" workout that I devised ... er, kinda stole it ...sorta. This is what may have led to the greater difficulty I felt with the pullups even though I didn't do any pulling movements, per se. Regardless, see what you think:

Warm up
100 swings w/ 24 kg Kettlebell

Circuit: 300 total reps using 16kg (I pood) kettlebell for all moves
10x L / 10x R Russian Twist
10x Crush kettlebell Situp
10x L / 10x R Cossack KBell Curl
10x Crush push up on kbell
Circuit done 5 times with no rest (or rested only as needed). I managed in 25 minutes. I will aim for 20 minutes but that’s pretty hard unless I focus on it as a goal. We'll see, but in the meantime, my crush situp sucks because of those damned shoulder issues.

Anyway, still feeling good today. No sore spots and I did an HIT and kb swing routine today.

All best in fitness, movement, and health! And again, thanks for your blog and tweets.

Juan

September 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuan

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