Photo courtesy of: Eastside Strength & Conditioning, Redmond WA
The WEIGHTED PULLUP is not really a movement in itself. It is actually an expression of scaling. However the scaling is UP, rather than down! I did a post on pullups before the PWO#1.
This rant is not to explain how to do Weighted Pullups -- add weight and do pullups. Duh. I'm going to discuss some theory and thoughts behind adding weight to this gymnastics exercise.
Almost ALL exercises, movements, or drills can have weight (or load) added. Pullups are no exception. But for some reason, popular culture puts emphasis on the raw number of bodyweight pullups. "Hey, how many pullups can you do?" I can't recall a single time when anyone asked me what my 1RM (or 3 or 5RM) was for pullups!! (Read this post about 1/3/5RMs.)
I believe in heavy Back Squats just as much as Air Squats, in KB/Plate Situps just as much as plain ol' Situps, and in Weighted Lunges just as much as Walking Lunges. The body adapts differently to the added load. When a load is added, there is more emphasis on strength. When the load is removed, there is more emphasis on stamina and endurance. If you call your program balanced, then it better contain BOTH weighted and bodyweight pullups!
So again, I challenge everyone to find exercises and drills within EACH of the human movement patterns (not just pullups) that can be done for both high repetition numbers and for high weight/load. Some trainers recommend you not adding weight until you are able to do between 8 and 12 bodyweight pullups. I know I didn't wait that long....
On a personal note, this past week I did a weighted pullup workout with lots of sets of 3. At the end of it, I got cocky and hung two 35#KBs from my belt. I grabbed the bar, and proudly pulled my chin over it! That +70# pullup is my current (and personal record) 1RM.