Armstrong Pull Up Program: Master Your Pull Ups In Record Time [Spreadsheets + Tips]

By Nader Qudimat ·
Updated Apr 18, 2021

The Armstrong Pull Up was created by Major Charles Lewis Armstrong. 

He has contributed number of things in the field of fitness but most notably, he's set the world record for the most pull ups in a 5 hour session. 

He did 1435 pull ups in 5 hours. 

This program was designed by him to help beginners get a better score on the military fitness test (USMC PFT) to help people achieve 20 reps on the pull ups.

And this program was what he used to help him achieve the world record for the most pull ups in a 5 hour period.

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet. For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile, click here, or desktop, here. 

Recommended

4.8/5

Yes, the Armstrong Pull Up routine will help you improve your pull ups. 

Experience Level

5/5

Beginners

Periodization

5/5

Follows a linear periodization.

Reps

5/5

None

The Armstrong Pull Up program has one goal in mind. 

It's designed to help improve one's pull up strength. 

Whether you're a bodybuilder, an athlete or someone doing the military test, you'll likely find this program useful. 

The routine itself is fairly straightforward, you'll find it listed below…

Table of Contents

Armstrong Pull Up Program Overview

The Armstrong program is the most commonly used to improve pull up strength. 

If you're only able to do 2-3 pull ups now, you should be able to perform 20 easily after completing this program. 

Stick to this program for at least 6-8 weeks and you should get the best results. 

Charles Armstrong recommends starting the morning with 3 sets of max effort push ups which can be completed within 30 minutes. 

This will help improve your pull ups because you'll need to have balance between the pull ups and push ups. 

Here's how the program looks:

  • Day 1: Complete 5 sets of AMRAP
  • Day 2: Do 1 pull up then rest for 10 seconds. Then do 2 pull ups, rest 20 seconds, and repeat until failure. Once you fail, decrease the reps by 1, reduce rest periods by 10 seconds until you start back at 1 rep. 
  • Day 3: Do 3 sets of pull ups with 3 different grips (wide, neutral and supine). Supinated grip (aka supine) means your palms are faced towards you, as if you were doing a bicep curl. 
  • Day 4: Pick a max number of reps that you can perform then do as many sets as possible until failure. 
  • Day 5: Do 5 AMRAP sets

Note: if you want to combine this program with another program, you can, but you should leave out pull ups while keeping it in the Armstrong program. 

Armstrong Pull Up Spreadsheet

You can get the spreadsheet from here:

Armstrong Pull Up Spreadsheet 

This is a 5 day program that can be done starting from any day of the week. 

Here are the terms used in the program:

  • Set: the number of reps completed in a single go
  • Repetitions: the number of times you've completed the range of motion of an exercise
  • AMRAP: this stands for as many reps as possible. When this is stated, it means you need to do as many reps as you can. 

Warm Up

While this is a pull up only program ,it's a good idea to take 5-10 minutes to walk until you feel warm. 

Once you do that, perform a few light sets of the muscles you're about to workout. 

You should do at least 3-4 warm up sets before your actual workout, and then follow the program's workouts. 

You can do 1-2 warm up sets before a specific exercise. 

Armstrong Pull Up Program FAQ

What Is The Armstrong Pull Up Program?

The Armstrong Program is a pull up only program made by a highly respected lieutenant colonel, Charles Armstrong.

He made this program to help beginners improve their pull ups, and to help himself set a world record for 1435 pull ups in a 5 hour period.  

Who Is Armstrong Pull Up Program For?

This program is perfect for beginners or those who want to improve their pull up strength. 

Charles Armstrong designed and used this program to help set a world record for pull ups in a 5 hour period. 

It's a program that's made to be run with for 6-8 weeks at a time. 

Signs of Burnout?

You're unlikely to be burned out by this bodyweight program but it can happen if you have a poor diet, lifestyle or other strains that you put on your body while doing this program.

By paying attention to the signs that your body gives you, can prevent a burn out. 

Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:

  • Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
  • Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
  • Like feeling sore near joints.
  • Lack of proper sleep
  • Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
  • Loss of libido
  • Depression

If you ignore these signs and keep exercising, you will eventually hit a plateau and will increase chance of injury.

If you're already experiencing these symptoms, take it easy and avoid pushing yourself for at least a week or two.

Armstrong Pull Up Program

The Armstrong Pull Up program is the perfect pull up program for beginners. 

If you struggle to perform 2-3 reps then you should be able to do 20 easily by the end of this program. 

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave one below or contact me here. 

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