"Why Women Can't Do Pull Ups"
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Why Women Can't Do Pull Ups" is an article that I ran across in the New York Times in October.
I was about to skip over it, thinking that I wouldn't learn anything new. For the most part I knew that most women couldn't do pull ups, for that matter most men can't either. But I did wonder why it was being presented again. It turned out to be a good article and provided somethings I knew but had no real proof.
When I was in high school we had those fitness contests in the late fall to see how many push ups you could do, number of pull ups, shuttle run, broad jump, 300 yard dash and rope climb. I had a buddy name Paul, he stood about 5'4", he was built like a gymnast, with extremely large arms.
He could do 75 push ups and 15 pull ups. I never came close to those numbers. When we bench pressed as part of out workouts he seems to just increase his poundage a lot faster. I also noticed one other thing, most of all the body builders I saw in muscle building magazines were short. It sort of occurred to me that one reason why Paul seemed to be able to do so many more push ups and pull ups. It was just plain physics, I was 6'3" compared to Paul at 5"4" and he was only at 145 lbs, I was 215lbs. If you look at the arms and how they work in each of the exercises I mentioned, you would see that I had a long distance to complete it and weighed more than Paul. On the other hand, when we worked out throwing the shot put, the reverse was true for me. Having longer arms and more body strength in my legs helped me out throw him in the shot put, discuss and javelin.
They made a point in the article to show a group of women were asked to see how many pulls they could do, most of the women could not do any. The group was given time to work out for a number of weeks only to be disappointed that out of the group just one woman could do only one pull up. I think that a lot of this is that women are not given experience
to develop those muscles and use them. For that matter most males are not given that experience to develop those pull up muscles. When my son knew he was going into the Marines, he looked at all of the physical tests he would need to take and pass while in boot camp. The two that he worked on was the 3 mile run and Pull ups. To this day he still does pull ups--12 to 15 at a moments notice. I still can't and at 65+ I really don't care but at least I know why it is difficult to do pull ups.