As many of you know, I completed P90X a while back and am working through P90X2 now. Both routines contain pull-ups in various forms. I have never had strong shoulders and pull-ups have been beyond my ability. Thankfully, the creators of P90X realized this potential flaw and allowed modification through either a chair assist or use of bands.
During P90X, I used the chair exclusively. Basically, you put a chair below you and add some of your weight to your foot (on the chair) to help you do the pull-ups. While I felt a burn doing this (or though I did), I never developed the strength to do more than a couple of pull-ups. In P90X2, I decided to buy the heaviest bands from Beachbody (they sell them in packages of three bands) to help me with the pull-ups. After a few weeks of using the bands, I found I could do three unassisted pull-ups. I then began performing unassisted pull-ups for half the back routine followed by bands for the second half of the routine. I was able to do eight unassisted pull-ups in my latest workout!!
I believe the chair assist allowed me to simply add more weight to my foot as my back and shoulders tired. As such, I never forced myself to work hard enough to get the strength gains I wanted.
Now I am sure some of you have no problem with pull-ups, but for those who do, I cannot recommend the bands enough. You can get them from many places (we have some Gold’s Gym ones that we got from somewhere), but I couldn’t find any really heavy ones except from Beachbody, plus it was cool to see the color of the bands the guys on the video were using (especially when you were doing heavier). Have you found heavy bands somewhere else?
Beachbody also has a “pull-up assist” which seems to be a band that attaches to your foot to relieve some of your body weight. I haven’t tried this, but it seems like it would work. Has anyone tried the ‘pull-up assist?”