Miscellaneous Updates – Jan. 2019

Miscellaneous Updates – Jan. 2019


I hope you are well and you are getting fitter. A few updates:

Max Capacity Training – Again

I have yet again started my favourite workout plan: Max Capacity Training. I completed Week 3.

Max Capacity Training Week 3 Done screenshot
Max Capacity Training, Week 3 – Done

It was a sweaty affair.

Sweaty after working out

Ab Wheel/Ab Roller

Earlier this month, I was walking along Moi Avenue when I saw a box on display. An ab wheel/ab roller for 500/-. I knew that a single wheel roller goes for about 945/- at the supermarket and that one is a bit thinner.

I had been contemplating making my own, by buying a trolley wheel for about 615/- then getting a rod inserted. This ready-made wheel was definitely a bargain, so I bought it without hesitation. So far, I am satisfied with it.

Ab wheel/Ab roller

The shop is called Nairobi Sports House Discount Store or something similar, and it is diagonally opposite the original Nairobi Sports House on Moi Avenue.


I have been doing pull-ups about 3 times a week, but I have not been strict with the time between sets. I think this has stalled my progress and I seem stuck at about 15 pull-ups in the first set.

Meanwhile, the Recon Ron plan is no longer available on the page where it used to be. However, fear not. You can get it on other sites, including right here on Get Fit Simply, of course.

Intermittent Fasting

I have also been fasting from time to time. Sometimes going 16, 17 or 18 hours between dinner and the first meal the next day. I find that the mental desire to eat is more than actual hunger.

Here is an article on Intermittent Fasting for your consideration.

Keep learning and keep working out!

Pull-Up Rest Between Sets

Yesterday, I continued my pull-up workout. I decided to go to Week 13 of the Recon Ron Pull-up program, which specifies sets of 14, 10, 8, 8 and 8 pull-ups.

I managed to do the first 14 successfully, without getting off the bar. I was pleased with that, since at my last attempt, I had managed 13. So this was progress.

My timer was set to about 2 and a half minutes of rest. The next set did not go too well. I did 6 pull-ups, then 1, then 2, then 1 more, to make up the required 10.

I paused the timer at some point and went to do other things, which meant that I rested longer than the set two and a half minutes.

When I came back, I was able to do the required 8 pull-ups straight, plus an extra 2. My grip had one hand facing me and another facing away.

In the next set, I did the required 8, then added two more to match the previous set, since my grip was now the reverse of the previous set.

In the final set, I did 8 pull-ups.

These events made me interested in how much rest I should have between sets and I did a little research on the Internet. You can read the articles in the links below, but in summary and generally speaking (and in the context of pull-ups), I found that for strength, you need longer rest ( 3 to 5 minutes) between sets and for muscle growth, you need shorter rest (1 to 3 minutes).

I then adjusted my timer’s rest periods for the pull-ups workout to 3 minutes.

Keep working out!


How Long To Rest Between Sets & Exercises – Workout Rest Times

Renewed Goal of Twenty Pullups

I have decided to again go after my goal of 20 pullups. I intend to achieve this goal by the end of December 2015. I think the reason I did not succeed the last time was simply that I did not have sufficient motivation. This time, I have two things motivating me:

One is the realisation that time is passing by and I should not keep on putting off my goals, or else I will one day realise that the window of opportunity has closed or narrowed considerably. (This realisation seems to dawn on many people when they turn 40, like I did in 2014).

The second thing motivating me is that I’d like to blog more on pullups and I think actually getting to do 20 pullups myself will give credibility to what I say.


So I have been doing pullups, following my favourite program, the Recon Ron Pullup Program. Counting backwards from the last week of December 2015, I saw that I would need to start at Week 7 of the program, so I did. That was the week of 21st September.

Today, I was able to do the sets for week 7 as specified (10, 8, 6, 6,6). I’m supposed to be on Week 9, but I was still quite pleased.


Recon Ron Pullup Program

You may know from my previous articles (like this one) that I like the Recon Ron Pullup program, mainly for two reasons:

1) It is simple to follow – you just read and do.

2) It is realistic in that the first set in a workout has the most pull-ups and the number decreases as you do the subsequent sets.

The program can be found here as a web page [Jan 2019 Edit. Page seems no longer available]. I recreated it here for those who may want it in a vertical format (with the weeks coming one below the other, rather than across). There is also a copy similar to the original one here.

I also extended the program by a few weeks.

For the sake of clarity, here are the links again. (Links will open in new window).

Vertical (Portrait) version of Recon Ron Pullup Program.
Horizontal (Landscape) version of Recon Ron Pullup Program.


Recon Ron and Max Capacity Progress Updates

Yesterday I continued with the Recon Ron pull-up program. I had reached Week 20, then I slackened and started consistently following the program again around two weeks ago. I started again at Week 11. Last week I skipped week 12 and went to Week 13, and that is going ok.

After the pull-ups, I had dinner, rested a while, then officially began Week 3 of the Max Capacity Training Program that I talked about in this post. I say ‘officially’ because last week I had an unofficial test run.

Week 3 follows the ‘Time Attack’ protocol, where you are supposed to do a specific number of repetitions of each exercise in as short a time as possible. The number of repetitions to be done is calculated from your scores in earlier workouts. It is entirely up to you in what sequence or in how many sets you will meet the target.

I was required to do

  • 129 squats
  • 108 push-ups
  • 108 Lunges
  • 210 seconds plank bridge

I was aiming to complete each exercise in 4 sets, and I mostly did. I finished the workout in a little under 22 minutes.

Keep exercising!

Pull-Up Programs

Pull-Up Programs

The pull-up is one of the main upper body exercises. It is tough and mastering it is an impressive sign of strength.
If you want to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, there are several programs available on the Internet for that.
Here are a few.

1) The Armstrong Pull-up Program
This is perhaps the most famous pull-up program on the Net.
It states “This program was developed by Major Charles Lewis Armstrong. Major Armstrong
developed this workout to prepare him to set a new world record in number of pull-ups
completed in a single exercise session.”
It has five days of training per week, with different instructions for each day.
You will need to keep track of your numbers for yourself, so that you know how many sets to do.

2) Recon Ron Pull-up Program
There seems to be little information on the origins of this plan, but it is often mentioned when pull-up programs are discussed. The program is fairly straight-forward. Each training day, you do 5 sets of pull-ups. The number of pull-ups to be done in each set is specified for you. The next week, the number of pull-ups to be done per day increases slightly. No further instructions are given, but you can get guidelines from other people on the Internet.
I chose this one myself because of it simplicity. I simply read and do. I do the pull-ups 3 times a week, with about 3 minutes rest between sets. I also change my grip from set to set.

2b) Pre-Recon Ron
Please note that the Recon Ron program instructs you to do 6 pull-ups in the first set. Since not everyone may be able to do that, I looked at how the Recon Ron program was written and wrote the Pre-Recon Ron pull-up program, to take you from 1 pull-up to 6.

3) 20 pull-ups
This one was inspired by hundredpushups.com. First you do a test, then depending on the results, you follow one of three columns given, and simply do the number of pull-ups specified, mostly in 5 sets. Rest intervals are also suggested for you.
You are to train 3 days a week. There is provision for those unable to do a pull-up to work towards doing them.

4) Art Of Manliness
http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/08/pull-ups-fitness-routine/ has a pull-up routine as well, that increases the total number of pull-ups done in a workout, by adjusting sets and reps from week to week.

5) Marine Officer Programs
This document (PDF) has 5 programs. The programs seem to have been designed for anyone who simply wants to do pull-ups, not necessarily for someone who wants to increase the number they can do, but you might find them useful in increasing your numbers.

6) Physical Living
This article has a rather elaborate 3-month program that says it will help you rapidly increase your pull-up numbers in 3 months or less.

Like I said, I chose the Recon Ron program because of its simplicity. I like clear instructions. (Maybe I am just lazy 🙂 ). It has certainly worked for me. The first few weeks, I struggled to complete the sets as stated. This was when I was required to do sets of around 5 pull-ups! I have seen definite increase in numbers, and I can currently do at least 10 without struggling, and I can hang on to the bar and complete a set of 18.

One of my problems with programs that do not tell me a specific number of reps to do, is that I may get soft on myself and not push to do one or two more reps, when I actually can do them. If a program dictates that I do 18 reps, then I will try hard to do the 18. But if it just says I do my max, I may stop at 12, when actually I could have pushed to maybe 16.
My other problem is that I do not want to have to write down or remember my performance at various points, then use this information to calculate what I am expected to do at another point and so on.

This is only a partial listing. There are other programs out there. Pick whichever program you prefer, and increase your pullups.
All the best!

Pre-Recon Ron Pull-Up Program – Increase Your Pull-Ups

The Recon Ron Pull-Up Program expects you to be able to do six pull-ups in the first set of the program. Some people may not be able to do the six. This program is therefore designed to help you gradually increase your pull-ups from one pull-up, before starting the Recon Ron pull-up program.

If you are unable to do one pull-up, then you may need to look for a program that starts with negatives or assisted pull-ups. You may also consider doing push-ups (press-ups). You may find that when you can do 10 proper push-ups, you will likely be able to do at least one pull-up.

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