"The goal is keep the goal the goal" Dan John
Fingerboards, rock-rings and the elbow destroying Bachar ladder have also helped climbers mold the pull-up into a more sports specific exercise. But it wasn’t until the uber-strong German Wolfgang Gullich further mutated the pull-up when he developed “campus training” that real progress was made. No serious hard free climber should ignore the benefits of campus training. Finally, the pull-up fully evolved when Eric Horst unveiled his “hyper gravity isolation training” or H.I.T. in the mid-90’s. This is the most sport specific “pull-up” yet. In addition to working the pulling muscles of the upper back, H.I.T also focuses on isolated finger and grip strength as well as climbing movement. You can checkout all these methods in Eric’s excellent book "Training For Climbing"
Steve Bechtel of climbstrong.com recommends doing pull-ups in a more horizontal plane, also called the inverted row. He also recommends locking off or holding the body up at the top of the movement with one arm. Excellent. At garage gym we sometime do “Burpee pull-ups”. This exercise combines two great exercises into an anaerobic dogfight. You can also combine Burpee pull-ups with the barbell push press, also known as "Jonestown sprint", for a more challenging fight. Make sure you time yourself so you can try and beat it next time!
I remember reading in Wolfgang’s book that he once lost a pull up compatiton on a German talk show because he insisted on using perfect form. So should you. According to Gym Jones a quality pull-up “requires the elbows to pass behind the midline of the body, if this happens the entire head raises above the bar, and keep an active shoulder position at the bottom as opposed to a dead hang”. Don’t injure or embarrass yourself at 24 hour fitness straining to get your chin over the bar for one more rep.
Pull-ups are the king of upper body exercises, much like the front squat for the lower body. Pull-ups for climbers are best utilized during a foundation-building phase or for training work capacity (more on this later). As a method for improving maximum strength for rock climbing, pull-ups are a bit limited. I would recommend inverted rows and lock-offs, H.I.T. laps and campus training as a more enlighten program to improve your climbing performance. Remember, the goal is to keep the goal the goal.