Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Die Hard Pull-ups


Pull-ups are one of the most difficult forms of strength and conditioning because it’s the one basic exercise most people have trouble doing. It doesn’t have to be a burden to learn how to do pull-ups. Once you learn the basics an can do a few reps what’s next? Just doing a few reps alone makes you a strong person at that exercise but it’s really the quality of the reps that count and not so much the quantity. Repetitions in any exercise up to a point can be boring like the 500 push-ups or the 1000 Hindu squats or even the military goal of 20 or more pull-ups to get 100 points on your PT Test. I like doing reps but I get bored easily so to enhance my interest I change grips and do them as best as possible. To get the greatest benefit in your reps, work different parts of the pull-up and try different tempos in speed and precise movement.

 One of the most common neglected parts of the human body is training your grip. Without grip strength, how will you hold onto something such as a baseball bat, opening a jar of pickles, picking up heavy weights or squeezing a Captains Of Crush hand gripper? Working your grip has more of an impact on your training than doing a bicep curl, a press or swinging/juggling a kettlebell, think about it, how would you be able to do those exercises if your grip can’t even hold on? Grip strength is essential to your training and the more likely your grip strength is the better your lifts and feats will become easier. If you don’t believe me than learn from two warriors of pure unadulterated gripping power and that’s Arthur Saxon and Slim The Hammer Man.

 A lot of people have this notion that pull-ups and chin-ups are just for the Biceps and Back, obviously they haven’t done much research because when you really get into doing this exercise, the back and arms are just the tip of the iceberg. You are working the upper body in ways not many other things can do and eventually you’ll be working the whole body. When you use certain tools to put more into your pull-up training, you’re learning the key secrets to challenging your grip, mind, body and your coordination to keep tight and tough in order to make the quality reps.

 If I had to pick one of the strongest pound for pound athletes in the world, it’s a guy you don’t hear of quite often unless you live in Vegas and know something in Gymnastics and that is Dutch Gymnastics Champion and Performer Cees De Kok. I once saw this old school gymnast do a show in Vegas called Bite, a vampire type production where heavy metal is blasting and a Circ De Soleil type action styled performance happened. In one of the epic scenes of the show, Cees wrapped a chain around his wrist and started flying around the audience and out of nowhere grabs his wife in mid air and twirls around the stage like a figure skater in space, it was unbelievable and one of the most awesome displays of strength and agility I’ve ever witnessed. This guy was just incredible and he has the mastery to even teach you the secret andmost impressive ways to build pull-up strength.

 Who are the strongest climbers in the world? Not humans sorry guys it’s the mighty Apes. Animals like Gorillas, Orangutans, Chimps and Gibbons are the most powerful species of this caliber because the way they need to move either on the ground or in the trees takes grip strength to a level only rock climbers have come the closest to and yet we still can’t match their strength and agility. Training like an Ape however is a key to opening a new door of strength and fitness that can only be explained by experience and experimenting. I’m not a climber nor am I a tree swinging jungle man but I have practiced brachiating, hanging and pull-ups from many different angles and at 240+ lbs. I’m surprised I can actually do it. Training this way works your tendons and muscles to their very brink and if you truly want to feel real gripping strength, hold onto a pull-up bar with one arm and see how long you last.

 In many areas of fitness today, we don’t do much in the way of pulling movements unless it was a curl or pulling on a cable and deadlifts aren’t really that big anymore but yet pulling movements that work major muscle groups even out the front and back portions of the upper body since most gym rats focus on what they can see in the mirror as oppose to neglecting the back. If you can’t pull yourself up than you’re in trouble my friend. It is important to work your body from as many angles as possible while working as many muscles in one or more motions as possible and when you work on your pulling strength, it’s going to help you in other parts of your life you may have not realized and I’ll let you figure that out on your own.  

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