Almost a month ago, I began my quest for the Holy Grail: a single pull-up. Time for a progress report!
In case you haven’t yet found a frame with which to hang that post on your wall, here’s a refresher:
– I can’t do a single unassisted pullup.
– I want to do a single unassisted pullup.
– I’m using a 4-phase approach recommended in a Sparkpeople article.
– I started in phase 2, which uses standing lat pulldowns, “working to 2-3 sets of 12-15 good form reps at 50% of body weight.”
Progress to date:
As of Sunday morning, I did 2 sets of 15 reps at 60% body weight and one set of 12 reps at 60%.
I’m pleased with my progress, especially since I missed two strength workouts due to my Blissdom excursion. So pleased that I’m going to consider myself in phase 3, which is the same as phase 2, but I have to work up to 80% of my body weight.
Whew! *sweats* Good thing I lost a hundred pounds already or that would really be a lot of weight!
Whether or not I ever do a pullup, I’m enjoying this aspect of my strength workout, especially since I read a tidbit in one of my new favorite books, The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises!, that claims standing cable pulldowns “work your abs harder than the classic crunch.” I have no idea if that’s true since the book refers to some anonymous Finnish study, but I like it (and can definitely feel the ab involvement) and am going to use it as a mantra while I’m working to 80%.
If you’re curious about this alleged crunch-besting exercise, here’s a good video demo of the straight arm lat pulldown that has me so besotted:
No, that’s not me, but it’s almost exactly how I would look doing it. If I was 30 pounds lighter and 30 years younger. *sigh*
But then again, I’m lifting a lot more bars than she is, so it all evens out.
You’re tempted now, right? Well, there’s no time like the present to give them a try. There are bunches of variations you can use, just to keep it interesting. You can vary the position of your hands on the bar–closer together, wide-grip, etc.–and change your stance or body position. (I’m also partial to sitting on a balance ball while doing them.)
No gym membership? No problem! Grab a broom stick and use that. Just make sure you’re clear of the kitchen counters.
I’m no trainer, but two things my former trainers
nagged about advised:
– The movement should be slow and controlled. (No flappy arms!)
– Your back/core should be still, shoulders relaxed.
Okay, so now I’m really looking forward to today’s workout! Phase 3, here I come!
What’s your favorite exercise of the moment?
Side note: If you haven’t yet entered the MultiGrain Cheerios/Biggest Loser Club giveaway, there’s still time! Tomorrow could be your lucky day!