I'm someone that needs goal to work for, or I fall off into slackerhood. Getting ready for my wedding was obviously a big motivator, but now what?
Weight goals are ambiguous. "I want to lose 10lbs". Usually that means we want to lose 10 lbs of fat. But even if I lose 10lbs of fat, it may not give me the results I want.
An example. A professional fitness model who is 5'2 130lbs, versus me, 5'0" 128lbs.
If I lose 10lbs of fat, I still won't look like her. Why? If we assume she has 14% bodyfat, that means she has approximately 18lbs of fat, and 112lbs of muscle.
NEILITHICMAN correctly stated that I forgot to account for muscle, bone, blood and organs:
"A person with 15% fat will have their skeleton weighing about 15% of their body weight muscle will be about 45%, with the remaining 25% being organs, skin, hair blood etc.
So if she weighs 130 pounds then she's got around 58 pounds of muscle."]
I am 128lbs and approximately 28% bodyfat. That means I have roughly 36lbs of fat. 20 extra pounds of muscle makes a big difference on body shape!
I don't care what I weigh, I want to be strong. I can't measure strong on the bathroom scale, so what can I do?
I've got it into my head that I want to do a pull-up. Maybe even 2.
Why pull-ups? I've never been able to do one. It was the bane of those stupid presidential fitness tests when I was a kid. I had to get in front of everyone and just hang pathetically on the bar until the gym instructor said I could get down.
But Janette Goldstein (Vasquez) in Aliens, Demi Moore in GI Jane, and Linda Hamilton in T2 all did them.
Will I ever be able to do one? I don't know. I've read that even some competitive female bodybuilders can't do unassisted pull ups. It's not just muscle, but something specific about how all those muscle groups interact during the pull-up.
Alright, this is going to be tough, but I'm going to give it a shot.
I've been researching what muscles are involved in a pull up to get a better idea of how I need to train.
There are multiple types of pull ups. They all use basically the same muscle groups, but some are stressed more than the others. There's pull-up or chin-up. Both use back muscles, lats, shoulders, chest and core. Overhand grip (palms facing away) emphasizes biceps. Underhand (palms facing toward) emphasize the shoulder muscles. Altering the width of your grip also changes which muscles are working harder. Narrow grip is more bicep, wide grip is more shoulder.
Vasquez in Aliens had a wide overhand grip - shoulders and bicep. Sarah Conner had a narrow underhand grip - bicep-shoulder. I don't remember GI Jane.
All of those muscle groups are used, but the type of pull up/chin up varies which is emphasized.
I've decided on a Sarah Connor narrow underhand pull up. Why? Because Sarah Connor did it! And it seems to be a less common type. I never saw anyone do it until T2.
I can't do standard pushups because of a wrist injury from when I was a kid. I can't bend my wrist back and support my bodyweight. A personal trainer once had me doing pushups with contoured bars.
Because the bar elevates the body higher than a standard pushup, it is harder. You can dip below the bars for extra range of motion, which works more shoulder muscles. Fantastic.
The contour pushup bar also has an extra advantage for my pull up goal. The bar allows for doing dive bomb pushups, which is an intense workout on the core, shoulder, and biceps. Excellent.
I'm an upper body wimp, though. That's going to take a while to work up to on its own, nevermind the pull up.
Here's why everyone should consider at least adding a normal pushup to their routine. It works out your core, arms, chest, and shoulders. It's like exercise multitasking. Do more, in less time.
I'm still working out my full routine. I've got to add a lat-pull down machine in there somewhere. I don't have access to an assisted pull-up machine, which is a major bummer. I have a pull up bar, but I can only hang (it's like being in 6th grade again!).
I'll keep you updated on my progress!