Q&A: Should I Continue the Pull-Up Program if I Can’t Lift My Arms Overhead?
Written by Michele Vieux

Q: I completed Day 1 of the 3-Week Pull-Up Program. Day 2 was a rest day. Day 3 I couldn’t lift my arms over my head. Is that normal? Do I go on with Day 3 or go back to Day 1?

A: It is pretty ‘normal’ for people to be super sore after doing slow pull-up negatives like that, especially if it is your first time or early in your pull-up training journey. However, just because it is normal, meaning it does happen to a lot of people, it’s not ideal to not be able to use your arms for a couple of reasons. One, you can’t use your arms! The more serious concern though, is rhabdo. 

When we lift weights, do pull-ups, etc, we are actually damaging the muscle tissue then it repairs itself and grows back bigger and stronger. It sounds like your muscles need a little extra time to repair than the 1-Day Rest period in the program. This won’t always be the case and you should see improvement and less soreness as you go through the program. 

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Definitely up your water intake for a few days to help flush things out
  • For Day 3, do ONLY the Warm-Up and the Finisher. 
  • I hate to say it, but rolling your lats is going to be quite painful today but it will help break up all that lactic acid that built up in your arms. Don’t overdo it, just a gentle roll to get the blood flowing. You can also try using the Hypervolt on your lats for this. 
  • The other warm-up movements will be great to help get the blood moving too. If you find the wall slides too difficult due to your soreness, lay on your back and do them on the floor instead. 
  • DO NOT DO THE STICKING POINT HOLDS TODAY! That will only cause more damage to the muscles that haven’t repaired themselves yet. You can test that in a few days when you’re back to normal. 
  • Skip to the Finisher and do the Bat Wings if you are able. 
  • If you have Voodoo Floss, now might be a good time to use that. 
  • Other things to try are CBD either topically or orally, fish oil, and other natural anti-inflammatories. Try to stay away from the NSAIDs, if you can manage! 

Regarding starting the program over from Day 1: no need to do that. I especially wouldn’t recommend re-doing the same thing that just incapicated your arms as your next workout. Continue through the 3 weeks (while listening to your body and adjusting the workout as necessary) and then start again from the beginning if you’re still working toward your reps. You should find that it’s much easier the second time through – progress!

Also Check Out…

Download your copy of the FREE Invictus 3-Week Pull-Up Guide here!

Read: Pull-Ups 101 Guide: Everything You Need to Know


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