Pull Ups - Are you up to it? (From the Article Archives)

From the moment I came onto this earth, I have been your stereotypical Hardgainer. Being 6'3" and only 80kg, my physique has always been a battle. I loved playing football (Rugby League and Union), and was pretty good as a young bloke. However, once puberty kicked in the other kids got bigger, much bigger. And no matter how much I ate and all the early morning gym sessions at the South Grafton Pool and Gym, I could never put on muscle. I was facing a David & Goliath like Battle every time I stepped onto the field, and my body paid for the brutal hits.
But... my body was strong! Having a good atmosphere and experienced gym junkies around me, I learnt the ropes and worked the basics - Bench Press, Push Ups, BB Squats, Leg Press etc. But the one thing that I found got me astoundingly strong above all else, was the Pull Up!

Ever since I can remember I have loved Chin/Pull Ups.When I was growing up, my dad put a steel bar up between two beams in our garage, and my brothers and I put it to good use. We also use to do them off of our tree house and regularly climbed trees (we have scars and dings to prove it) in our neighborhood.
When I moved away to university, my cousin and I installed a gal pipe in a doorway. It was about this time that I truly got serious about my training and started to incorporate variations and extra resistance into my Pull Up program. To be honest with you, there may have even been a few late night Chin Up challenges held in the house.
This isn't me! I don't wear sweat pants haha
Over the years my appreciation for the Pull Up has grown greater and greater with every rep I do or get my athletes to perform. It's not just another 'Any-Old-Exercise' that should be placed amongst BOSU Balancing, or Tricep Kickbacks. If bodyweight exercises were royalty, the Pull Up would be King or Queen (Pistols and Push Ups could be argued). For most males it isn't that much of a task to get some reps done, but for females (through my years of coaching experience) it can be extremely hard or damn near impossible.

The MBT program over the last 6 months has been about changing just that, getting most if not all my athletes performing good quality pull ups. My female athletes, all of which are now on the cusp of completing one or multiple reps, are seeing the an amazing strength increase and cross-over effect. Push Ups are now becoming easier because their Lats are now stronger and performing their role as the antagonist to the Chest muscles. Grip strength is now improving which is seeing numbers for the free weight lifts sky rocket - And how could we forget the compound movement pattern of the pull up challenging most if not all muscles and forcing more cals to get chewed up than say a lat pulldown where you are seated.

Nothing brings a bigger sense of achievement for me, than when I see one of my athletes nail their first pull up - especially a female athlete. For my athletes at the moment Pull Ups are the holy grail in their training goals. So for a bit of inspiration here is a small selection of videos of females smashing out Pull Ups, while the form is red hot in all of them. The sheer fact that these ladies are dominating bodyweight training royalty, is enough to look passed the odd dodgy ROM.

50yr old - Chin Ups

Rep Madness - Try 39

Renegade With Top Form