Friday, June 10, 2011

Bronzed, Shiny, Bulging Muscle With the Strength of an Ox

  So I do karate. And I'm into kettlebell. And I like to rollerblade and ride my bike and walk. All good stuff. So, you might think I'm some sort of fitness godess, all bronzed, shiny, bulging muscle and the strength of an ox. Of ten oxen.

 Well, you'd be wrong.

There is no bronzing here - unless it happens naturally because I forget sunblock. There are a few muscles, but I'd hardly call them bulging. And as for the strength of an ox? Well, not so much. I'm working on it though. Read on.

What I'd really like to be able to do is a pull-up. That's right. A pull-up. A single dog-darned pull-up! I've never been able to do pull-ups. And in all honestly, I don't think I ever really tried very hard. But it's one of those things that has gotten under my skin. I want to be able to do a pull-up!

And what got the idea in my head you ask? Is it all the fitness stuff I've been doing lately? Did I come across something on the web? Do I crave uber strength? Well, mostly, it's the fact that Sweet Pea - gentle little Sweet Pea, my little peanut - can do wicked pull-ups! You should see her go! She has to do them for a presidential fitness thing at school and every year she's among the highest in her class - beating out most of the boys too! That's awesome! My little girl! I'm so proud!

And while I'm not really competing - afterall she's 30 years younger than me, I went out and got a new pull-up bar for home. It's one those easily assembled things that fit in the doorway - Snickers and I spent about 8 hours assembling it one day.

Then I tried a pull-up. Tried being the operative word. Crap! Not a single one? Come on! But no. Not a one! It went like this:

Mom: OK, I'm gonna try one. Ready?
Sweet Pea: Ready!
Mom: OK, let me warm up my shoulders and lats. (Lots of arm swinging and flexing)
Sweet Pea: (giggling)
Mom: OK, here goes. (pull, grunt, pull)
Mom: Whoo hoo!! I made it half way!

So, I did some research. The proper way is to start from a dead hang, and pull yourself up from there. If I cheat, and start with my arms at a 90 degree angle, I can do one. From a dead hang I'm, well, dead. No go! Nada.

I read about the muscles that go into it (biceps, shoulders, abs and lots of lats - those nice muscles on your sides - under your armpits - you know the ones I mean.)

And, more importantly, I read about some ways to practice and get stronger if you can't even manage one pull-up. (And I'm not alone - from what I read many people, women and men, can't do a single pull-up, so I don't feel too bad). If you don't have access to a fully equiped gym, the key is doing 'negatives'. That involves starting in the top position with your chin over the bar - get there however you can. Have someone lft you, use a chair, whatever. (I use a kiddie step stool and a little hop). From there, slowly (the key being 'S-L-O-W-L-Y') lower yourself to the dead hang position. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So, I made a plan, every 2-3 days I do three sets of however many  negatives I can do. Usually that's 5 for the first and second sets and 3 for the last set. If I'm feeling particularly crazy I'll do a fourth set.

And it's paying off! The other day - I made it 80% of the way! Maybe 85%! (Stop laughing!) It was awesome!! Another couple of weeks and I'll be able to do one! (I said, stop laughing!) And once I can do one, nothing can stop me!

No comments:

Post a Comment