A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pull Ups!


There are many reasons to like pull ups. One of the major reasons is because they work so many muscles! You get a lot of bang for your workout buck when you do pull ups! Back, shoulders, biceps, core... they're all used. I actually consider pull ups a full body exercise because I really feel like I need to have every muscle in my body (including my brain!) at the ready when I perform one.

I try to do pull ups at least once a week on the day I lift back. Normally, I do assisted pull ups because I like to do about 6-8 reps at a time and 5 sets. I can't do 5 sets of unassisted pull ups. These days, I can only do one set of 3-5 and then I am absolutely spent.

To try unassisted pull ups, I really have to be in the mood. They are so freaking hard. My bucket list goal is to be able to do 10 in a row. The most I ever did in a row was 7. That was two winters ago when I was lifting a lot. Right now, I am not lifting enough to improve my pull ups.

When I started lifting, I couldn't do any unassisted pull ups. It took me a little over a year to do just one. A year after that, I was doing 3-4. A year after that was when I hit 7. (I was really focused on lifting for several months.) I guess my point in telling you this is to convey how much TIME it took for me to progress on the pull up front.

This is what I did to get there, and what may help you if you have the goal of doing unassisted pullups!

1. Have a consistent full body strength training routine. I lifted full body at least two times a week CONSISTENTLY. I did not take time off.

2. Lift heavy, or should say, heavy for you. This isn't about low weights and lots of reps. This is about how heavy can you lift?

2. Do pull ups. This requires as least a pull up bar and most likely some sort of assistance- whether it's a resistance band, a chair, or a straight up assisted pull up machine. I use the assisted pull up machine at my gym and my bar at home with a resistance band or chair to help.

3. Do other exercises for your shoulders and back like lat pull down, row and shoulder press.

4. KEEP GOING! It may take awhile to even be able to do just one unassisted pull up. But once you can do one, it will probably take you less time to add a couple more.
Do you do pull ups?
Any tips for us to improve our pull ups?
What are your favorite strength exercises?
Do you have any lifting goals at the moment?

28 comments:

  1. I have the same goal: I would LOVE to be able to do 10 unassisted pull ups in a row! Talk about badass. That being said, I do pull ups 3-4 times per week (on the machine). I am slowly getting better....(slowly). My favorite muscle group to work out is my shoulders then back then chest (bis and tris = meh). I am getting more into enjoying working glutes. I am on a 5 day per week lifting plan. 3 days upper body, 1 day lower body and 1 day I do both. I love it and lifting has definitely become just as important to me as cardio! I never thought that would happen.

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    1. What kind of machine do you do them on? Is it one you stand on or one you kneel on? Ours was standing but they got a new machine in which you have to kneel and it is SO AWKWARD and it hurts my lower back. Even a guy at the gym told me it's a horrible machine and to use a resistance band on the monkey bars instead.

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    2. Both, depending on which gym I go to!

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  2. One of my goals for the summer was to do an unassisted pull up again... and then I got sick so yeah, that didn't happen!

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    1. Oh man that stinks. :( My lifting suffers so much when I am sick. I can still muster up energy to run, but lifting is another story.

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  3. I haven't done aa pull up in years! Even then I only did a few at our local park just to see if I could do it. It's not something I considered putting in my routine but now I think I should. Thanks!

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    1. It's an awesome upper body exercise! I read somewhere if you want nice shoulders, do pull ups. So I stopped doing little isolated shoulder exercises and did pull ups instead.

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  4. I can't remember if I ever could do a pull-up. My college team did reverse pull-ups, where we'd have help getting to the arms bent position, then we had to slowly sink down and straight our arms. But no actual pull ups.

    I've actually started doing push ups almost every day so far this month. Those are always tough, and when I think I'm making progress, Pure Barre reminds me that no, I'm not.

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    1. Reverse pull ups are a good exercise to work up to pull ups. Push ups are great as well! If I had only 3 strength exercises to do for the rest of my life, I would choose pull ups, push ups, and squats. That covers you.

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  5. I'm working on that goal of unassisted pull ups. They are so freaking hard, tho! But I'm swinging from the monkey bars, so pull ups should be next, right?

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  6. I can't do a pull up... heck, I probably couldn't even do an assisted one. The last time I lifted upper body was a few weeks ago in BodyPump; it's just not something I do consistently. I really need an upper body routine or someone to help me in the gym because I always feel like a clueless runner there.

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    1. I wish I could go to the gym with you and show you what to do! I never liked lifting until I knew how to do it correctly.

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  7. This is an interesting post because pull-ups have been on my mind lately. Okay, so what's your take on this: I have never been able to do a single pull-up in my life until after I had Callum. We took him to the park last Spring/Summer and I tried it and lo and behold, I did one. And then another one. I can do two, and that's it. I don't do strength training or anything so I'm not sure why all of a sudden as I got older I could do one! It's so weird. Now every time we go to the park I do two. I can't do more than two though.

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    1. I have no clue why you could suddenly do them! Do you weigh less, hence it's easier to pull yourself up?

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  8. I used to be able to do lots of pull ups...I had to climb on stuff all day for a job I had. I could even do the 'one armed' kind that really uses two arms just one is holding on to the other instead of the bar. I don't know if I can do any now. I should really invest in a bar. I have thought about it many times and looked at them several times. But I have never actually just done it.
    This post might have been what I needed to actually go through with it!

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    1. Wow one armed pull ups are no joke! I am pretty sure I would pull a muscle if I tried that! My pull up bar was only like 30 bucks off amazon. Good price if you're looking for one!

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  9. I am that person who set the pull up record in school and could stay in the flexed arm hang forever, so I do think body type and musculature comes into play. When I started lifting heavy in my 30's pullups came back to me, but yes, it takes work and time and consistency.

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  10. strength training is something i've been wanting to do (and like legit do) for a while. i'd love to do a 'real' pull-up someday, lol!

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    1. Lifting is the best thing I ever did for my body. When you're done with your marathon, you should start!

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  11. I was finally making some progress with getting closer to doing a pull up before my bar broke! I need to figure out another way to work on them because I agree its such a great exercise!

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    1. I'm so afraid of my bar breaking or the door frame breaking. How did yours break? I hope you weren't on it! That and my stability ball bursting are my worse fitness fears!

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  12. I had a goal this year of doing 3 pull-ups by the end of the year, but then I lost my concistency with the weights and pull ups some time in April, and all went out the window !

    I'm making it a goal to get back to
    It!

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    1. I forget, which gym do you go to?? I feel like I should know this!

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  13. I was getting closer then my stupid shoulder started hurting...then I dropped back, and now - ugh. I was puling half way up LOL sevral times in a row before all that but I was trying.
    I do not like the assisted machine at PF, I liked the one at my old gym better, but I suppose one of these days I will start adding them back in :)

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    1. Injuries suck! One of the reasons I don't lift lower body. :( Paul has been having shoulder troubles. He tweaked his during one of his seizures and it bothers him when he lifts.

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