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BARBANNA SparkPoints: (108,379)
Fitness Minutes: (85,068)
Posts: 3,415
1/24/13 7:43 P

I have a bad right shoulder, but I am sure I could do them, but it's too much of a risk. I have used therabands to do them with less resistance, by adding the band to a bar so you have something to support you while you pull up.

FIELDWORKING SparkPoints: (29,946)
Fitness Minutes: (64,745)
Posts: 748
1/24/13 7:23 P

Good luck with that. I've never been able to do pull ups. When I was in elementary school and we did those fitness tests we had to do pull ups. The teacher kept telling to do them and I told her I was trying. Unfortunately, I was just hanging on. I was normal weight too.

BERRY4 SparkPoints: (230,143)
Fitness Minutes: (104,447)
Posts: 10,712
1/24/13 4:37 P

I will most likely NEVER be able to do a full pull-up. BUT that doesn't stop me from trying!
I am working on an assisted pull-up machine, almost every week. I'm up to "lifting" 40#'s of me..."up" from a starting pt. of 25#'s. Maybe, eventually, I'll be able to get to half my weight! I'll keep on keepin' on!

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
1/23/13 5:54 A

The lighter you are, the faster you'll get there. A 180 lb woman would probably need the better part of a year. A 120 lb woman should only need a few months. It would depend on what your current strength is, but I'm guessing that if you're already in decent shape, you should be able to do one in about 2-3 months. I think for most women the sticking point happens around 145 lbs (i.e., lighter than 145 lbs, pull ups are not that big of a deal, work the program, and you get them; over 145 lbs, it becomes more of a slog).

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,332
1/23/13 5:00 A

Try the Spark article You Can Progress to a Pullup


REYNINGSUNSHINE SparkPoints: (20,387)
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
Posts: 523
1/23/13 3:49 A

Thank you!! I'm actually at a really healthy weight right now (122ish lbs, BMI of like exactly 21) and am looking to build up muscle while maintaining my weight (so, I guess, fat loss still) and I thought this goal coincided nicely.

The pull up bar I have available for me does have that neutral option, and the roommate whose bar it is did tell me those are easiest for him.

Do you know when a good "goal date" would be? I'm thinking it's a long-term thing, multiple months, but I'm just not sure HOW long I should aim for. I don't want to say 3 months and then be advanced only to do halfs, but at the same time, I don't want to say by the end of 2013 and then see myself as able to slack. It doesn't matter to me that it's right on, I just want some kind of estimate- like, 6 months, where I can be close to it or something, to push me!

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
1/23/13 3:20 A

Training for pull ups is an arduous process. Here's how it's done (okay, there are obviously multiple ways. Here's one good way!)

1. Lose all excess fat on your body. The object of the pull up is to leverage the entire body weight by the lats (primarily), and the less useless weight you have dragging you toward the ground, the easier. People who need to do pull ups are always advised to reduce body fat as much as possible. You can do this concomitantly with the rest of the program.

2. Get a pull up bar - you'll need it. Learn to hang from the bar. Jump up to the bar, hold it with a comfortable (not too wide, not too narrow) overhand grip. Engage your shoulders by pulling up a little, and hold. Time yourself. Aim to be able to hold the bar for a few more seconds each time. A good goal for this is to hold on for 30-45 seconds. Try to keep your body still (not swinging around).

3. Stand on a chair under the pull up bar. Jump up so that you are over the bar, and try to control your descent. Do a few sets of these, several times/week. After a few weeks, jump up so that you are over the bar, then hold on for dear life. This is called a flexed arm hang -- your chin is above the bar. Hold on as long as you can. Continue with the controlled descent negatives as well.

Over time, you should be able to jump up with less and less force until you only need a little jump. Eventually, you won't need to jump at all.

4. It is possible to learn to do pull ups without a gym but if you have access to a gym, you can progress more quickly by using the lat pulldown machine and the assisted pull up machine to increase the load on your lats through the same range of motion required during an actual pull up. I like to do many different versions on the lat pulldown - personally I only do one set each time, and only do it twice a week, because I do pull ups and other lats exercises - but you can decide what feels right for you. I alternate between seated overhand grip, seated underhand grip, seated wide grip, seated neutral grip, standing overhand grip, standing underhand grip, standing wide grip, and standing neutral grip. On the assisted pull up machine, counterweight yourself to the point where you can do the entire exercise all the way down to completely locked out elbows and then pull yourself well over the bar. Then start to reduce the counterweight over time. It's a good idea to do the negatives on the bar even if you do these gym machines.

Depending on the type of pull up bar available, you may have the option to do neutral (also called hammer grip, also called facing grip) pull ups - where your palms face your ears - these are much more comfortable for most people and easier than the traditional military-style pull up. Chinups, where the palm faces the face, are usually considered easier although personally I find neutral grip pull ups the easiest of the three. Wide grip pull ups where your hands are on the ends of the bar are the hardest of the simple pull up variations.

REYNINGSUNSHINE SparkPoints: (20,387)
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
Posts: 523
1/23/13 12:16 A

Perhaps I will try that in a couple days! Tomorrow is way too soon lol. I think even doing my few quarters killed my arms. Thank you!

GAMEDUTCHESS SparkPoints: (781)
Fitness Minutes: (723)
Posts: 93
1/22/13 11:59 P

Not sure if this is correct but I was told once by a guy who does tons of pull ups that a good way to start is to get up on the bar in the top position like you have already done one pull up. ( will need someone to get you there most likely) Then just lower yourself a little like you are doing a pulse move almost and then pull yourself back up. Try to do that a few times and each time try to go lower...

I can barely hang on the bar o.O

REYNINGSUNSHINE SparkPoints: (20,387)
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
Posts: 523
1/22/13 11:47 P

This came up in a group of friends the other day: pull ups. They could all do one... and then somebody asked me, "So Lex, can YOU do a pull up?"

I was the only woman in the group (as is often the case), so no surprise that I'm not as muscular as they are, but I DEFINITELY want to keep up with them at least a little bit. I've never had big "muscle goals." So, besides "be able to do a push up," this is the first muscle goal I've made for myself.

Any tips on how to get there? A roommate of mine has a pull up bar that he said could be for communal use. I tried to do a chin-up and got about 1/4 of the way there before falling. Did that a few times today and now I HURT. It's a good hurt... but I'm wondering if there is a specifically good way to train.

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