Article last updated: January 2020 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
When I started training about 6 years ago my back was one of my weakest body parts.
It was really narrow and undermuscled.
I knew that in order to create a wide looking upper body (similar to that of swimmers), I had to train my back hard. REALLY hard.
And I did so.
I consistently lifted HEAVY on the deadlift and barbell-bent-over-row.
These exercises didn’t produce the biggest muscle gains for me.
But, they enabled me to build discipline and belief in myself.
In 1 year of consistent training I went from doing deadlifts with a small 25 pound plate on each side to doing close to 400 pounds on the deadlift when I maxed out.
After that year, I still looked like crap, and I had no reason to keep going.
However, I saw some progress, both in muscle and strength.
That progress was ENOUGH to keep me going.
Discovering the Pull Up
At some point in my training (around 2011-2012) I realised that heavy weights weren’t producing optimal results for me (or any other skinny-fat guy for that matter).
So I did the opposite: Basic bodyweight training.
I went back to basics and focused on doing 3 exercises: Pull Ups, Diamond Push Ups and Squats.
I did these almost everyday and focused on just one thing: Adding reps to my sets.
In just a few months, I saw better results compared to 2 years of heavy weight training.
One muscle that grew a lot was my back, a muscle that I always had a hard time developing.
The photo below shows how my back looks today, in an XL shirt:
The key exercise to develop my back was the pull up.
When I started training I couldn’t do a SINGLE pull up and it took me 6 months of misguided effort to achieve my first rep.
Now, I can do over 20 clean reps at 205 pounds bodyweight.
…And more importantly:
Thousands of skinny-fat guys are getting stronger on the pull up with my free bodyweight training program with great success.
The program shows you the exact steps you have to take to get your first rep, and later build your strength up to 10 clean reps.
The point is that your best results in training and other areas of life come when you’re about to give up.
2 years into heavy training I was losing hope.
I didn’t think going to build a muscular physique because I had done what the experts advised me to do: lift heavy.
But then when I was about to give up, I decided to give it ONE MORE try and did the opposite of what everyone advised me to do.
It worked and I finally started getting the results I wanted.