Pull ups: Hard to perform and embarrassing to learn

James - Diet Week 12 - Current Weight: 225.7 lbs - Total Weight Loss: 8 lbs

Pull ups look awesome! No question, hands down the coolest looking exercise there is. As well as looking great they are fantastic for achieving so many of our goals. The scapula control developed is superb for posture. Want the classic V? Get lats, do pull ups. Grip strength? Pull ups. Core control? Pull ups. There really isn’t much they don’t help you develop in some way.

The catch

The catch of course is well, they’re hard! Like, really hard especially if like me you’re a little on the chunky side.

I’ve never really managed to a single pull up I’m honest. Chin ups yes, like so many teenagers I had the pull up bar on my door frame growing up, and would crank out a few every now again. But to say my frame was different as a skinny teenager to how it is now would be an understatement. But I never did the classic over arm pull up (or at least not so regularly that I remember).

So I’ve resolved to practice the pull up and given it a special place in my training program with a suitable regression. So here’s catch two. Building up to your first ever pull up is quite frankly an embarrassing state of affairs to be engaging in in public. I can’t do a pull up, fine. Turns out actually I can barely hang from the bar either! I can manage maybe 15 seconds holding my 226 lb body suspended before my hands hurt, grip fails and I plummet back to the gym floor. So I give it a moment and hop back up again, only to lose my grip even faster than I did before.

Getting over myself

Its no secret that when I walk into a gym I’m far from the most “in shape” person in the room, I’m ok with that, I know where I am. For the most part I can hide away at a squat rack or some other area and convince myself that no ones paying much attention to what I’m doing. The pull up bar feels different though. It’s probably not the case but even as I walk up to the bar I feel like there’s eyes on me. This leads to me to always try to rush the work I’m doing as I just want to get away from the thing. It occurred to me that I’m probably not alone in feeling this way. Rarely do I see anyone else hanging clumsily from the bar, I only really see people either doing pull ups or not at all and I cant believe that everyone else has mastered that difficult move. So from now on I’ve decided I’m going to be shameless in my pursuit of the almighty pull up. I’ll hang and perform clumsy negatives for as long as I need to then run off the cable pull down to finish myself off and hopefully soon I’ll be one of “those that can”.