Story for AgentD.
As I said previously, I'm a tall, skinny, no muscle guy. Pretty much always been like that.
Back in high school, there was a test where you hold yourself on a bar and you have to raise yourself so your chin rests on the bar then lower back down.
You'd think people with strong arms would be the top scorers... but nay! I kicked all their asses because I had almost nothing to lift.
Chin up tests, up until this year, I would have probably failed each year, but NOW.....I can almost make it to the top of the bar using a commando grip (hands face each other on a straight bar perpendicular to your body). With a bit of effort I can do one to each side, too.
I've forgone the whole gym thing and just work out at home now. I used to go regularly, but kind of stopped the last few years. I'm not what you would call out of shape, I probably carry about 3 pounds more than I would like (around my belly!) and am fairly active playing hockey at least 1-2 times per week. Prior to this program, I could do maybe 10-15 pull ups (palms out) consecutively before being very fatigued.
I followed the guidelines set out in http://www.50pullups.com
and got to a max of 45 consecutive pull ups, that is, palms facing out at about just past shoulder width grip, before I got side tracked, went travelling and couldn't maintain my pull up schedule and kind of stopped for the better part of the year (you know how it goes).
For what it's worth, I think I started at the 10 pull up level. Following this program, you really have to stick with it and do the stretches before you do the pull ups. Even though I haven't done it in a while, I can still hammer out 25-30 with some strain. I think with regular/semi-regular adherence to this particular program I know I can do much more, probably in the 40 range.
I graphed it out over the 2 months I did it, and at a certain point my progress skyrocketed.
It's really nearly a full body work out (minus legs) and doing it I went from a 32 waist to a 30 and have kept it that way(not that I'm overweight or need to lose weight by any means) doing only pull ups and playing hockey (ice) once a week. Eating habits stayed about the same (average, nothing insane) and I stayed at around 155. Strength has increased tremendously, and it's really given my upper body more of a triangular frame with wider shoulders. I'll sub in some free weights here and there with some core exercises, but if I could only do one work out, it would be pull ups.
If you need to ease your way into doing pull ups, this is the way to do it.