Hey Keith. That’s an option. I would do one day where you do 3 sets of 5 with about 20-30 seconds rest. Then, I would do a day where your strictly going for AMRAP(as many reps as possible) for 5 sets. Rest for 1 minute in between sets. Twice a week should get the job done. A sometimes overlooked aspect of strength training is knowing when to rest. I suggest my clients get at least 2 days rest a week(out of 5-6 day training week). This means doing nothing out side of daily functional movement. The muscles need time to rebuild. I hope this helps!
Pull ups are one of those exercises that can really be used as a barometer for training success.
If I were you, I would try and mix it up. When we are talking the type of goal that you are after we aren’t just talking about increasing your power production but also ability to have strength endurance as well. So that being said let’s use the SAID principle and periodization to the best of our abilities.
SAID calls for adaptation to specifically apllied imposed demands, which essentially says that your body will change if given the correct reason to change. Your goal is really to do more pullups (to have more pull up endurance) Considering you have the ability to do 7 already, a big piece of what we are talking able is you having the energy to do more. With that being said, lets start with position and technique.
There’s a little more to pull ups then just grabbing the bar. You wanna create a maximal amount torque. To do this, I would start or by grabbing the bar one hand at a time in a fully flexed shoulder position. To create the necessary torque, twist your thumbs outward as if you are screwing your hands in. This will help you use your lats more effectively. You don’t wanna have a leak in energy. This means you don’t want your movement pattern to be compensated by using the inappropriate muscles. Creating enough toque will create a primer to successfully pull you up.
With that being said there are a few things you can do to program your pullups. Being that your goal is to increase your reps to 12, I feel as if it would be best to train in a variety rep ranges, sets and loads. Maybe try setting up three different days. Do a day of 5 x 5 reps, 4x 8 reps and 2x20reps. On the 5 rep day, you will train more for maximal strength. Try going weighted with a belt or hold between your feet and rest 90 seconds after a set. The 8 rep day is meant to be a progressive day. What I mean, is that for each workout that you can finish 4 sets of 8 reps with 45 60 seconds off, you increase the reps by one the following week. The day is for assisted pull ups. Complete all the reps and sets using either a band or an assissted pull up machine.
Hope this helps,
If you can already do 7 pull-ups, going for 12 it will not be much of a problem for you. You can try a few different ways to improve your number.
-Since 7 is the number of pull-ups you can do right now, start doing pyramids of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 two to three times a week. Once you can do more than 7 pull-ups, for example 8 pull-ups then increase your number of the pyramid to 8 (1-8 and then back down to 1). You can rest as much as you need between the sets since the objective here is to complete the next number of pull-ups and not how fast you can do them.
-Another option for you is to add weight while you are doing your pull-ups. This can be done either with the assistance of a weighted belt as Jeremy suggested or wearing a weighted vest or holding a dumbbell/kettlebell with your feet or wearing a backpack with weights in it. I would start with 10lbs. until you can perform at least 5 rounds of 1-5 reps (ascending pyramid 1-2-3-4-5, then start the second round from 1). Once you do this then add some more weight and do it all over again.
-As Jeremy also suggested, one more re option for you would be to use the assistance of a band while you are doing your pull-ups to increase the muscular endurance of those muscles needed to help you perform your pull-ups. When you use this method, set a number of repetitions to do on a given workout and don’t worry how long it takes you. You can start with 50 and then increase the number to a higher one. You can take as many breaks as you need as long as you complete the targeted number.
I have used these techniques with many of my clients and most of them are now in the range of 15-25 pull-ups that they can do in a row. There a different ways to go about this, so you need to see which one works best for you (or you can incorporate all of the above into your workout plan).