731 W. Hargett St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

The Pull-up Renaissance

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[caption id="attachment_3545" align="aligncenter" width="775"]I'm sure it's just the lighting that makes her look so ripped I'm sure it's just the lighting that makes her look so ripped[/caption] On Monday on of the members asked me if we could do pull-ups in the Tuesday fitness class that I teach. Little did she know that we just recently entered something of a pull-up renaissance. Because now that everyone has mastered pushups, it's time to move to the complimentary pulling motions. And the King and Queen of all pulling motions is the body weight pull-up. Leaving aside the question of why "pull-up" is hyphenated and "pushup" is not, they are two great exercises that taste great together, with the unfortunate complication that pull-ups are way harder than pushups. For one, in a pull-up you have to deal with your whole, loathsome bodyweight. With pushups a certain amount of your weight is supported by the ground - about 25-33% by my highly scientific experiments of doing them on a scale - but there's no help on pull-ups. Also everyone can get in pushup position and do a short, sloppy rep, or at least collapse slowly towards the ground, which can still help you get stronger. With a pull-up, if you can't do one, you're just going to be stuck hanging at the bottom of the bar squeezing for all your might with no movement. And finally pull-ups take equipment. Everyone can practice pushups 100% of the time unless they're an astronaut, but pull-ups usually require some planning, or going to a gym, or even putting one of those clunky things in your doorway, so that you can fail to close your door in addition to failing to do a pull-up. So it's a steep hill to climb. I think that doing your first pull-up is one of the hardest feats in working out, but it's not insurmountable. And since we're adding more pull-up bars at Krav Maga Raleigh (thanks to some help from our student of the month!) you'll be able to see some real improvement. Pull-ups can be very frustrating, but once you get better at them you will come to love them, hyphens and all.

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