Author Topic: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?  (Read 15348 times)

Offline Haiiro

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WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« on: May 01, 2007, 09:38:55 AM »
Alright, now I'm in pretty good shape. I can do everything in the WOD with relative ease (except handstand pushups, but that's not my concern) but I can't even manage one single pullup. I have pretty decent upper body strength yet this remains impossible for me. My coach told me to sub pullups for bar hangs and I would eventually be able to do them. However 2 months later, I still can't manage one. Now in about 18 months or so, I have a competition (not parkour related) that requires me to be able to do pullups. Does anyone have any strength building excercises that can give me the ability to do these? It is vital that I be able to do these.

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 10:41:08 AM »
Jump up to the top position and lower as slowly as possible through to the hang. Five sets of five reps with around 1:00 rest between sets usually works well. Eventually you will be able to slow down and stop completely at any part of the eccentric motion. At that point you will be able to pull from the bottom. Bar hangs do nothing other than work your grip. To balance out the strength you are gaining in your pull muscles, do the same with the handstand push-ups you aren't worried about. Start at the top support and lower down. Drop to your feet, kick back up and repeat. This will help assure balanced muscular development, without which you are opening yourself up to various injuries. Good luck.

Offline naroz

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 12:40:48 PM »
Like gear said, negative reps(just going down using your muscles as stabilizers) work very well.
Also, try door rows for back strength; open a door and loop a towel(or whatever) around both doorknobs. Grab onto the towel so it's jammed between the door knobs, and you have a row machine.
Being 'as good as you can get' means you never stop learning.

Offline demonicfire

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 03:16:23 PM »
I hate when their are pull ups in the WOD. Not because I can't do them, or I don't like working out, but because I don't have a pull up bar XD. the closest thing I have are a kids version of those gymnastics ring things, and I hightened them, and I use them to do pull ups on. I find this twice as hard as normal pull ups, probably because I have to worry about keeping them steady.  XP

Offline The Logic Theorist

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 08:39:33 AM »
I hate when their are pull ups in the WOD. Not because I can't do them, or I don't like working out, but because I don't have a pull up bar XD. the closest thing I have are a kids version of those gymnastics ring things, and I hightened them, and I use them to do pull ups on. I find this twice as hard as normal pull ups, probably because I have to worry about keeping them steady.  XP

Door frames work well for pull ups if you don't have a bar.  They're slightly harder because of the different grip, but not nearly as hard as ring pull ups.

*edit*

Let me add to that:  You'll want to apply your weight gradually to the molding on your door first to make sure it'll hold.  I live in an old building that's got plaster walls and is very sturdy, if you're in a cheaply built new condo you might rip the molding off the wall.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 09:43:49 AM by The Logic Theorist »

Offline chipset

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 09:21:18 AM »
There's also might be a wall with open top in the house: you can use those too although it's much harder than pull up bar to hang on.
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Offline SlickNic

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 01:02:54 PM »
sry to steal your thread, but when doing pullups, i notice i can do them underhand (palms facing me) alot easier than palms out.  whan yall do pullups do you do both? or which way.  i am starting to try palms out more because thats what alot of situations are (climbing up a wall)

Offline Zeus

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 02:05:10 PM »
Facing away are harder for me too.

I think that is different for everyone but I try to practice palms away, facing, and a combo of the two (one hand facing the other away).

Offline ComebackKid

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2007, 05:40:08 PM »
Two or three months ago I couldn't do a single pull up.

Then every morning i started just strangling out the most pitiful thing i could. Our bar happened to be above a door so i would try to do a pull up and aid myself with my feet pushing off the door frame.

Now, 10 pull ups. It's more or less known as Greasing The Groove but that's not really important.

Whether you do negatives or help yourself up some other way you'll get better with time. I promise if you do them every morning you'll see improvement.

If you dont have a bar or something to do pull ups with let me know there's tons of other ways I could explain.

Offline Sat Santokh

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2007, 06:43:44 PM »
If you do pullups with palms facing towards you it doesn't really do much for you besides work your biceps.  Pullups work lots of different muscles that you will use in parkour.

Offline ngryfsh

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2007, 07:26:13 AM »
There's also the possibility that you're working out too hard so that your muscles are too exhausted to do the pull ups.  Maybe take a couple of days rest and try again?

Offline James

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2007, 01:37:49 PM »
If you do pullups with palms facing towards you it doesn't really do much for you besides work your biceps.  Pullups work lots of different muscles that you will use in parkour.
What he said is pretty important, i remember a while ago talking to a personal trainer that i know and she told explained to me that the bicep is very important with pull ups. Also the way your hands(palms) face if they face towards you it should be easier, compared to if they face away. This is because when your hand face away the muscles on your forearm are crossing cause you to use more effort. So if you follow what most of these post you should be able to do it over time.

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2007, 05:10:10 PM »
I feel your pain. I have never been able to do pullups easily. Even when I was seriously bodybuilding in college, the most I could do when I was at the top of my game was 5.

I went out to the park today to do my first "real" parkour workout (up till now I have just been doing conditioning). I planned to do rolling and landing drills, as well as the WOD. Today's WOD includes pullups... 50, I believe, or maybe 100. This made me laugh, but I was gentle with myself being a beginner, and thought, "My goal today is to do *ONE* pullup. That's all. If I do one I will try for two. If I do two I will try for 3, etc; but as long as I get ONE I will be satisfied." Since it's been a long time (over 10 years) since I've done pullups, and since they have always been hard for me, I figured this was reasonable.

I was not able to do one today. So I thought I would do as many negatives as I could. Boy, those were hard for me too! I did one relatively slow one, but I still descended pretty fast. The rest of them I got up on the bar and *whoosh!* was at full extension in nanoseconds. It was very discouraging, because even the "easy" ones (negatives) were really a challenge for me.

I tried to do kip-ups as well, and these were just downright comical. :)

So now I have a new goal. I will try every day to do ONE pullup. I will start with trying to do one pullup and if that doesn't work I will try to see how many negatives I can do smoothly and slowly. I'll let you know how it goes.

But yeah, I feel your pain, it can be frustrating.

It occurred to me too, since you are in shape and you train a lot, that a lot of your challenge might be mental. You may have built up pullups into this huge nemesis in your mind. Try taking a look at your psychological game when you do them and see if you can make some positive adjustments in that regard.

Good luck! We can be pullup buddies, if you like. I guarantee you'll beat me to one, but I'll cheer you on nonetheless. *waves pom-poms* :D
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

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Offline The Logic Theorist

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2007, 06:37:24 AM »
I might be nuts, but if your palms are facing towards, you... isn't that a chin-up?

Offline Steve Low

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2007, 06:39:55 PM »
MoF -- never met a woman BBer before. Did you ever get pretty big? :P

Anyway I feel like I should post something on the topic:
1. negatives
2. gravitron/assisted pullups/theraband pullups
3. jumping pullups

Effectiveness is probably in that order...
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2007, 07:21:26 PM »
lol. No. I am petite anyway (5' 2" and about 110 lbs); when I was bodybuilding it was never my goal to get big, just strong and ripped. One day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror before I got in the shower and thought I looked kind of "mannish," although I wasn't super huge, and that's when I kind of decided to chill out on the bodybuilding. I am just always really driven by achieving excellence in whatever physical discipline I happen to be doing, and during college, weightlifting was it. :)

Thanks for the tips. I am going to try to do them with my feet on the ground, and gradually add more and more of my bodyweight as the weeks progress. Negatives don't feel like they're doing the right thing for me. I may also do lat pulldowns on a machine just so I can get the muscles moving through the range of motion with some resistance behind it, and work up to pullups on a bar.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

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Offline Steve Low

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2007, 12:29:18 PM »
Yeah, lat pulldowns are probably the worst thing you can do... the neurological activity in your CNS is very important for learning pullups which you won't get with lat pulldowns because you're not moving your bodyweight rather an external weight. This is one of the primary reasons why bodyweight movements are almost always more effective than their weight counterparts. For example, handstand pushups vs. overhead presses.

Very slow negatives will get you there the fastest.. there's just something about eccentric exercises that helps a lot. If you have access to a gravitron, that works as well.. if not the therabands or assisted pullups. There's tons of options that don't include lat pulldowns. :)

The main problem that you're going to run into is that since you're a woman your testosterone level is lower which means your muscles are going to be weaker than males' are for the amount of muscle mass you have. That's probably why your gains are going to be much slower than a male's.. but push through. :P

BTW, women who seriously weightlift are hot. I don't know what you would call "mannish" but if it's not like the women who are *serious* BBers.. you're fine. Heck 5'2" at 110 is nowhere near mannish based off those stats. This is a bit off topic but something like these women are definitely smoking:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2006/bg74_800.jpg
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2007/bg119_800.jpg
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 12:30:55 PM by Steve L »
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2007, 07:21:43 PM »
Heh. I knew you were going to say that about the lat pulldowns. :-/

All right. Negatives it is then. *sigh* I just have to be patient. I have a much stronger will than the stinking pullups anyhow, so I'll get there eventually. I used to be able to do about 5... but what a struggle to get there!

Regarding the ladies you posted, yeah, I guess it was about like that, although I wasn't anywhere near a "pro" level. Now I am 10 years older and much "squishier," sadly. :(

In any case, back to the topic at hand, have we heard back from Hairo on his/her pullup progress?
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline philosophe

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2007, 01:28:23 PM »
I couldn't do pullups at first and then I found out that I was holding my hands too far apart. Make sure your hands are at shoulder width apart on the bar.

Offline hanuman

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Re: WHY CAN'T I DO PULLUPS!?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2007, 01:13:35 PM »
 Due to having a very uninformed iron palm teacher when I was in my teens and early twenties, I had developed a major challenge concerning grip and pullups, but I've had great success using rubber strands. I stood on top of the thickest strand and used it as a spotter while I went through the whole range of motion. As things got easier I reduced the strength of the band. When I became more aware of when the band was helping me, and when I had built enough strength that I was actually doing it on my own, I focused more on just working on the assisted portion of the excercise, until I was finally able to come into the gym and crank out 5 sets of 10-15 reps. Nothing to right home about, but a far cry better than the 5 "flung" reps that would leave my hands useless for days.
 I've used this method with with dips, muscle ups,push ups, even kneeling back bends. All that's required is a dip/pullup station that can be bought anywhere and set up easily in your home, a basic set of bands from Iron Woody.com, and a clever imagination. Now I need to figure out how I can apply this to my handstands.
 Anyway, good luck to anyone that can use this.
  Namaste