Today is the first time I'm gonna talk about a second step in a progression series of "Convict Conditioning". I had to decide with which second step I should start...and the winner is...
The Horizontal Pull
I start with the second step of the pull up progression because it was the first series where I progressed. After 3 sessions with vertical pulls I already hit the target (3 sets of 40 reps) 3 times in a row, which was my personal requirement to move on.
Horizontal pulls are really a good exercise for your upper back, biceps and shoulders. But I have to admit that they are much, much harder as the vertical pulls so you really should be able to perform vertical pulls with ease before you progress to the horizontal pulls. Btw: Don't be ashamed when you can't perform more than 10 reps (or even less) at the first times you do the horizontal pulls...the work load is seriously much more demanding! That's how it is...if you want to gain incredible strength you have to perform harder exercises once you're able to accomplish a previous step easily.
Let's start with the how-to-perform explanation:
Find a horizontal bar, table or other base that is stable enough to carry your bodyweight. This base should be at least as high as your hips (the higher the easier). Get underneath that base and grab it with an overhand grip (like you can see in the video). If possible (depends on your base) your hands should be shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up a bit so that your back is off the floor and your arms are slightly bent. Keep your body under tension and locked straight the whole time, so that its weight goes only thorough your hands and heels. Now pull yourself up slowly as high as you can for 2 seconds (ideal would be if your chest touches smoothly the bar/lip of the table). Hold the finish position for 1 second and then lower back to the start position (again 2 seconds). Repeat the movement without a rest. If you can't manage to meet the target instantly (which is probably the case), do as much reps as possible each set until you can do the requested amount.
Remember to keep your shoulders tight all the time (as mentioned in the post about the vertical pulls)!
Target: 3 sets of 30 reps
Paul recommends to do the exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan - Part II").