The “Big Guy Pull Up Plan”


When my collegiate soccer career began I was around 195lbs and getting pushed off the ball by American players that were stronger and built like brick houses. After my freshman year in college I decided the weight room needed to get to know me and vice versa. Nowadays I stay around the 225lb mark. Whenever I see lighter guys repping out pull ups like its nothing I think of Chad Johnson and channel my inner Ochocinco with a “child please”.


If I was 165lbs I could do 15 pull ups too bro! I decided there was a need to design a pull up program for bigger guys. (My glutes alone may weigh 40lbs!)

One of my colleagues, Alex Tanskey is a great example of a lighter guy (193lbs) with extreme strength. His weight to strength to weight ratio is phenomenal. Some of his feats include deadlifting over 500lbs as well as doing pull-ups with a 20kg kettle bell for sets of ten and mauling a bear with only his hands. Okay, maybe the last part was Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Revenant” but you get my point. The man is a freak! The thing is we are not all built the same. Being a physical preparation coach you come to understand that everyone is different. What may be an attainable goal for one person may have to be slightly tweaked for another person. Weight plays a big part in setting and achieving goals.

This series of workouts is based around getting maximum bang for you buck with the time spent in the weight room. “Efficient Training” was born.

Instead of incorporating exercises I feel comfortable with in the program, I decided to get a little uncomfortable and go with front squats opposed to back squats. as well as a lot of overhead work. In order to make use of my improved overhead position I included presses which would definitely qualify as my weaker area before starting this program.

I previously focused a lot on chin ups but decided not too long ago to set a 10 pull up goal for myself. After working on improving my overhead position in the months previous via breathing exercises, mobility and patterning techniques I decided I was ready to attack my pull up goal in phase 1 of Efficient Training which I aptly named “Blitzkrieg”.


Blitzkrieg was laid out as follows:

Warm Up – Breathe first. Bodysaw or rollouts for abs, TGU for shoulder stability and  SLDL for hamstrings.

Day 1 & 3 – Deadlift or Front Squat with Pull Ups. The pull ups went for max bodyweight reps on day 1 and weight sets of 3 on day 2. Add in a horizontal push or pull, finishing with some Captains of Crush work for those strength gains!

Day 2 & 4 – Pressing work (alternating/double bells) and some kettle bell swing or snatch work for conditioning

Day 5 & 6 – 2 days of cardiac output,not done consecutively. 45 minutes on an airdyne bike keeping my heart rate 110bpm to 125bpm. (Also known as podcast time)



As you can see along the top, I had a few goals to achieve. How did I do?

  • Do 10 Pull Ups – Accomplished
  • Front Squat 225lbs – Accomplished (now my working weight)
  • To Overhead Press double 24,28,32kg – Accomplished (working strictly with 32’s now)
  • Deadlift 450lbs – Not accomplished (Hit 405, have previously hit 450 but prioritized pull-ups & pressing)

Being a strength coach its imperative that I’m not wasting time in the gym. Working 8-10 hours a day can leave you drained mentally so being able to get an efficient lift in was essential to my schedule and the goals I want to achieve week to week.

In phase 2 (Shock & Awe) I have narrowed down my goals to include the following:

  1. Press 2 x 32kg kettlebells x 5 reps
  2. 48kg Turkish Get Up


I hope “Blitzkrieg” can help you get closer to your training goals like it did for me.

Happy Lifting!



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