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HIIT and Improved Pull-ups -- Coincidence?

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  • HIIT and Improved Pull-ups -- Coincidence?

    I've been struggling to get to unassisted pull-ups for a time, but it's been slooow, hard work. No criticism about this; it will be a wasted of time. I know how many of you feel about using machines. I don't see any difference between using machines and using bands or using a chair and my leg, so that's what I've been doing.

    About two weeks ago, I made the decision to drop 15 pounds of assistance. And oh, how I have struggled! I just couldn't get past doing a couple at a time, with probably 5 minutes rest between intervals. Then I started doing some thinking. Somewhere in the far recesses of my head, I seem to recall either Mark S. or Robb Wolf or someone mentioning that HIIT releases some sort of hormone that helps build muscle. And I decided on a little experiment.

    I'm doing my normal workouts/rest days, but I've added 8 HIIT intervals to the end of every training session. I've been at this for about a week now, and I really surprised myself with my pull-ups today. I was doing the same workout I've been struggling with, but today I managed to do 15 assisted pull-ups, then did my squats and overhead presses, came back and did 15 assisted chin-ups.

    So, opinions on whether I'm imagining that the HIIT is helping, or was today just a quirk?
    Motherhood: When changing from pj pants to yoga pants qualifies as 'getting dressed'.

  • #2
    Well there are a few possibilities:

    1. The HIIT made you lose weight, be it fat, water or a combination of both, which reduced the weight you had to lift (when I lost 10 lbs the amount of pull ups I could do doubled!)
    2. Placebo effect - you thought the HIIT would make you stronger, so it did
    3. You were just having a good day - I have days where I just feel like a badass and can bang out pull ups super easily, then I have other days where I feel like a weak blob. Maybe that's just me though.
    4. You were actually right and HIIT made you build more muscle/strength!


    • #3
      i don't know too much about HIIT, and how you're doing it in particular...

      but i want to say that the assisted pull-up machine deserves to be thought of differently than most machines. it's very worthwhile, if you're unable to do actual pull-ups or chin-ups! very worthwhile. and compared to lat pull down machines, where the bar is attached to a high cable, they win - hands down! so don't stress it. and congrats!


      • #4
        HIIT increases the production of both growth hormone, and, I believe testosterone as well. So yes, it would make sense that it might have improved your pull up performance.
        Last edited by morganpmiller; 04-19-2012, 10:26 PM.