Success is quite a difficult concept. It’s incredibly personal but whether you measure success by wealth, quality of service, or your relationships with other people, it seems that the ability to stick at a task is crucial. Some people call this grit. In assessing the success or failure of West Point graduates, researches identified “grit” as one of the required characteristics.
Once you have a few pull ups, its ‘easy’ to keep adding to them. The real hard one is getting that 1st pull up. I’ve struggled for 3 months to post a genuine article about getting your first pull up. This is my first public draft.
I hope it helps.
If you have no pull ups, here are some essential things you must do:
Get a pull up bar at home. I’d say this won’t guarantee success, but not having one at home will guarantee failure. Do not rely on getting to the gym, or to us for that matter. Also it’s a private matter between you and the bar: basically you have bar “issues” and sometimes its best to deal with “issues” in private. This pull up bar is often recommended JML Iron Total Gym Upper Body Workout Bar
Understand that a pull up is not a rubbishy exercise like all those silly piltates wiggles and squirms that you do. Pull-ups are a predictive happiness test. If you have no pulls ups (and this is especially true of ladies) no-one of quality will want to marry you. If you refuse to get that first pull up, stop reading this and go and get some cats. That’s all you will be good for.
. Look honestly at your weight. Pull-ups will be harder to get if you are over-weight. That does not mean you wait until you are the “right weight”. Get going now. It will be harder, but as I often say: “you ate it, now hump it”.
(If you are overweight don’t set yourself the task of losing a few pounds before you do anything; start living your life now. If you are overweight, and are miserable because you are lonely and boyfriendless/ girlfriendless/ loverless, put your details up on the raunchiest BBW site that your morality can stand, and hold on to your hat! Big girls and boys are always in demand. You can only lose weight if you are happy. Fending off would-be lovers with a stick is a very practical and measurable marker of happiness. Sitting at home feeling fat and ugly, makes you fat and ugly. Sorry, that not really about pull ups is it.)
Let us begin…
Objective 1: can you hang from the bar with your palms facing towards you (for those in the know, this is the ‘chin-up’ grip that’s a bit easier to begin with)?
Objective 2: can you hang a bit longer?
Objective 3: can you hang a bit longer than objective 2? (can you see where this is going?)
To save a lot of time, can you get to hang on your bar for 10 seconds? When you can, shout “woohoo” (loudly so as to annoy your neighbours) and start on working out how to do your first negative.
Your first what?
Well in highly technical terms, right, there’s the pulling up bit (right?) and then there’s the lowering bit.
At the moment you are not strong enough to do the pulling up bit, like, but if you were kind of already up there, maybe you could, er, lower yourself down a bit?
Does sort of rather beg the question of “how do i get up there?”…
Well here is the Andrew Stemler “Getting it up guide” (apparently this is a good title that always sells):
Jumping. Grab the pull up bar but instead of trying to pull yourself up, jump up so that your chin is above the bar. This can be easier said than done
By standing on something. Just stand on something that is high enough for you to start out in that already-pulled-up position. A bench, a chair, whatever. Anything you can use as a mini-ladder would be perfect. Perhaps even a mini-ladder?
Stand on something “version 2”. Grab the bar and make your loser boy- or girlfriend (perhaps the one you got from the BBW site) grab your ass and push you up
Now, once you’re in that top position, you’re ready to do the negative part of the pull-up. So, lower yourself down as slow and controlled as you possibly can. Focus on keeping really tight. I don’t mean “refuse to lend people money or get drunk”, I mean “have lots of tension in your body”. Squeeze (your own) bottom together. Brace your abs, squeeze your legs together.
Your first lower (we will call it negatives from now on) will either be agonisingly slow and hurt like hell, or you will fall straight through as you discover you have no strength at all.
Once you have lowered yourself, pop off the bar and reflect. Negatives are very taxing. You need rest between each one and you should never do more than 6 to 8 in a session.
So here is you beginner “CHIN-UPS FOR HAPPINESS” programme
Day 1: neg, neg, neg, neg, neg ( 120 secs rest between each negative)
Rest a day ( drink, eat cake, take all sorts of drugs. Smoking is especially good for you these days as it gets you out in the fresh air
Day 2: neg, neg, neg, neg, neg (90secs rest between each negative) It’s the same but with less rest!
Rest a day (put your own joke in!)
Day 3: neg, neg, neg, neg, neg (120 secs between each negative)
Rest one day
Day 4: The next workout needs you to get that loser boyfriend/girlfriend again. Basically they are going to try and help you pull yourself up and down. They get behind you, grab you…somewhere….(experiment) then they assist you to do….three sets of as many reps as you can with 120 seconds between. So they grab you, and haul you up and down as many times as you can. Could be 1, you could do 2 or 6. The set is over when they cannot push you anymore, not when you feel like it. You will want to stop early as it feels as it you are not doing the work: in fact it’s mainly you.
Rest 120 seconds. Do it again 2 more times.
It’s my way of getting your body to see what the actual task is. No, a lat pull down machine is not a good substitution.
But, what if you cannot get anyone to help you? Well thats beyond this article: but ideas could be to go next door and bug your neighbour, call up your ex-wife. Perhaps the guy selling the Big Issue fancies a couple of quid extra. Get creative, and find someone. Join a religious group and offer to host a scripture reading and slip your set in before you start as “movement prayer”
Rest 2 days.
Day 5: neg, neg, neg,neg, neg (90 secs rest)
Rest 2 days.
Now it’s the big test. Get someone to help you do 1-2 easy, supported reps. Rest for 2 minutes. Then do your 1 chin-up (woohoo!) or hang there trying for a full 7 seconds. Then with 120 seconds rest neg, neg, neg.
If you get that pull up come and talk to us about getting more. If not return to the beginning and start again. If you are very weak it could take many passes through to get your first pull up. But this regime works.
Feel free to suggest improvements or funnier/ruder quips to comments.
My Name is Andrew Stemler and I’m a personal trainer in London