Throwback Thursday…. Dear Mother Plucker
This week I’m throwing it back to an old blog of mine.
Dear Mother Plucker… Why Can’t I Do Pull-Ups?
My friends, I understand the struggle and get this question all of the time! Pull-ups may be the most coveted movement at the gym. We ALL want to be able to do them and do them well. It looks so cool when someone grabs the bar and starts to string a bunch of pull-ups together. So did those members just walk into CPM with the ability to do that? Maybe a few people but most did not. So how did they get there? Let’s first discuss reasons why they are unable to do them.
*Important Note – I am not about to get scientific with you. It’s not my thing and I know about half of you will stop reading. If you want the low-down on what muscle is too weak, etc. we can chat about that at a different time. Or just talk to Chris 😉
➡️Lack of strength. This is an obvious reason. A strict pull-up requires a significant amount of upper body strength. Most of us were not working the right muscles to give us strength to do a pull-up before we walked into CPM. It can be embarrassing to try them in front of people when you have no idea if you can actually do a pull-up. Trying them at globo gym… no thanks!
➡️Need to lose weight. Let’s be honest. It’s a lot easier to do a pull-up when you are 20 pounds lighter. I even notice a big difference when I’m 5 pounds lighter. So if you are overweight, pull-ups are going to be very challenging.
➡️No technique. This one applies more to the kipping pull-up. Several members can do strict pull-ups but they haven’t worked on the technique to kip their pull-ups. That makes a workout of 50 pull-ups VERY difficult. On the flip side, there are those that can kip a pull-up but can’t do a pull-up using only their upper body.
So what can you do to get your pull-ups?
➡️Do more pull-ups. Get on the bar and see how close you are to a strict pull-up or, if you can do one, how many can you do unbroken? If you are unable to do a pull-up, grab a band. Find the lowest band needed to do a pull-up and start to build up your reps with that band. Ring rows are another great movement to build strength but I truly believe you need to do pull-ups of some form to actually achieve pull-ups. Ring rows are not the same!
Watch videos. Especially those of you who are working on your kip. Videos are awesome. I love Carl Paoli. I think he’s only 5 feet tall but I still love him. He has great tutorials for pull-ups, muscle-ups and all of those gymnasty movements that we do in our CPM workouts.
➡️Be consistent. We have a GREAT pull-up progression that many of us have used at the gym. It consists of 3 sets of strict pull-ups, 3 times each week. I like to throw in some sets of negatives too. Let me know if you are interested. All you need is 5 minutes before or after class!
Don’t be afraid to try and don’t overthink it. SO MANY members are afraid to try a pull-up in front of people. I get it. It’s intimidating. But if you really want to learn, you have to try. Ask a coach to help you out. We can find you the right band and give you the tools you need to achieve your first pull-up.
Clean up your diet. This isn’t rocket science. The less you weigh, the easier it will be for you to do a pull-up (unless you are fortunate enough to have no fat on your body!). Eat clean….Whole Life Challenge…. hint hint!
Hit me up if you want more information on the pull-up progression or just some tips. I’ve been through it and I want to help you get your first pull-up!
Part A: EMOTM 10
Odd: 6 Renegade Row (ea arm)
Even: 3 Bench Press
Part B. EMOTM 5
8 Front Squats
8 Ring Rows
**Rest 3 mins**
8 Back Squats
8 Burpee Bar Hops