For the third of this four-part series, you’ll be doing a medicine ball complex. But before you get stuck into the ball work, you need to bang out a load of pull-ups. “Why?” you ask. Because the pull-up is the king of the upper-back builders and will balance the pushing work you’re doing on the bench so you don’t end up hunched over. It’s also a good way to keep track of your relative strength: if your max pull-ups figure stays the same but you’re putting on weight, then you’re getting stronger.
“I don’t like people doing weighted pull-ups until they can do 12 clean reps unweighted,” says strength and conditioning coach Zach Even-Esh, who programmed this series. “If you can’t do that, try 'greasing the groove' by doing multiple sets of a few reps, say three or four every 30 seconds for five minutes.” Check out our pull-up form guide, if you want a simple guide to the bog standard pull-up.
How To Do The Workout
If you’re already fairly decent at pull-ups, aim to do between three and five warm-up sets, and then do three serious sets (or ‘work sets’) with a weight that’ll challenge you even for a low number of reps.
Once you've done the pull-ups it’s time to move onto the medicine ball complex. “This is a classic metcon workout,” says Even-Esh. “It may be short but it's a killer. The idea of the workout is simple: do 10 reps of all the exercises back to back. That's one round. If you've still got something left in the tank, cycle through the complex again.”
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