Practice Makes Pull-Up | The Fitness Show

Do you want to pull-up? Is it an exercise that's always alluded you?

In this episode of The Fitness Show, we're going over our recommendations for getting your chin over the bar. What's the secret recipe? Practice and patience!

After that, we tackle some great nutrition questions asked by the wonderful folks participating in Super U!

The Take-Away:

Segment 1: What is necessary to perform pull-up?

The most overlooked factor is body composition. 

With a pull-up, you are literally pulling your own weight.  If fat loss is a goal for you, focusing on the steps necessary to drop fat is one of the most important things you can do to ensure all the hard work you do actually results in performing a pull-up.

From a performance standpoint we need:

1) Grip strength: How can we expect to pull ourselves up if we can’t support ourselves.
2) Good shoulder mechanics; We're hanging from our shoulder system. We can build the strength to get up to hanging, but shoulder mobility will have to be addressed.
3) Pattern specific work capacity: We have to be able to do enough work with good technique in the vertical pulling pattern.

From an exercise standpoint:

1) Build grip strength with farmer's carries. Choose between shorter, heavier carries and longer, slightly lighter carries.  This helps improve grip strength, which is a foundational piece of the pull-up puzzle. Heavy carries with your arms down also builds reinforces motor control and strength at the shoulder. These qualities can eventually be trained in goblet, rack and overhead positions.

2) Build pulling strength. Start with doing a BUNCH of straight leg inverted rows like we showed you last week. Shoot for 15 reps at whatever pitch you’re comfortable with, then move the feet closer to the anchor to increase the resistance. Once you’re at the point you can’t go any further without slipping, you can put your feet on the wall, up on a box or progress to the bent-leg version.

3) Start hanging. Start with straight arm hangs, reinforcing the hollow position. Later on, work on bent arm hanging. If you practice maintaining proper position and tension in both positions , you’re coming very close to being able to put the two pieces together into a chin-up or pull-up.  Once you own the basics of the inverted row and hanging, start to add some variability to your horizontal and vertical pulling

Pull-ups are tough because hanging and vertical pulling become SO foreign to our bodies as we get older. Here are a few of the exercise progressions that we encourage our members to work on, and then it’s your job to go out and PRACTICE!


Segment 2: Nutrition Q&A

Q: WHAT IS CHEESE? A protein, fat or both?

A: It’s both, but we consider it a fat.. unless you get a low fat or fat free cheese.  With the fat and protein in cheese, it’s kinda like the tortoise and the hare. The hare, fat, is going to out-run the protein, the tortoise.

Within our system, our recommendation would be, if you’re a cheese fan, and you’re trying to eat every 2 to 4 hours, cheese is a decent choice to help fill the gap. Over time, we’d like to see that be replaced with something that’s less processed and less likely to cause gut inflammation.

Q: Should I have breakfast before or after my workouts? 

A: The answer is, it depends on how you feel. Do you feel sluggish during your morning workout? Is eating early then working out going to take away from your workout because you feel full? Can you eat something small like a piece of fruit?

If you don’t feel like your workouts are suffering without food, I wouldn’t worry about it but make sure you’re prepared. Will you be able to eat within an hour of your workout? No matter what time your workout is, if you don’t eat soon after, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You don’t have to eat a full meal, maybe reach for a shake and then have a bigger meal later on.

Pre-workout nutrition questions are common. Our standard answer is, unless you’re an athlete or prepping for a specific event, don’t get too hung up on what to eat before. If you’re hungry, eat.  Stick with familiar foods. Note what you eat, and how it makes you feel, and go from there.

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