Ok so back on the 3rd of January I published my blog ‘Get a grip Catherine’ and explained how I wanted to get my first pull up in my gym (Crossfit Galway)
I had the serious chat with the coach (himself) and we came up with a plan. He assured me that if I brought the determination and put in the extra work it, it would happen. We are talking about doing 10 minutes extra after class 3 times a week (that cant be that bad surely, can it?!) and I was to follow this plan.
So on that first week, I mentioned it to one of the girls in the gym,who also wanted to get that elusive first (monkey bar) pull up and she said she would do it with me.
While I was doing this for myself, it is always great to train with someone else (who has the same goals) because not only does that help motivate you but on those days when you will find every excuse in the book to avoid the bar. They are there, encouraging you to train. For example, there was times during January after a tough class when one of us was lying on the ground, looking at the ceiling and contemplating life (me!!) when the other one would just say ‘com’on lets hang (on the monkey bars) for a while’. (Her!) 🙂 and so we would.
I generally would do my pull up training practice after my Crossfit class (after the 8pm class) and yes even though my hands might be sore from what ever we did in class that day. I found my shoulders were well warmed up at that point and it actually made it alittle easier to do. Especially when it came to the ring rows and assisted pull ups. (And boy were there loads of those?! 😦 ) urgh!!
Yes, my hands got calluses but I always made sure I used hand cream every day and those exfoliating gloves atleast twice a week. I even busted my poor gloves a few weeks ago 😦
We also hung out on those bars a lot. Just dead hanging. And accumulated time on the bar that way and this really helped with the grip. Some nights this wasn’t the easily thing to do. But this is where a partner helps because if the 2 of you are hanging there for “time”,that competitive person in you doesn’t want to do the first one to drop.(it was generally me first!!)
My times improved as the weeks went on as you can see from below:
I went from
Week 1 – 40,30, 20 seconds
Week 2 – 40,40, 35 seconds
Week 3 – 50, 40, 51 seconds
Week 4 – 68, 59 and 50 seconds at home
Week 5 – 53, 43, 38.(I decided at this point to see if the gloves were helping or not and I took them off )
Week 6, 72, 62 and 56 seconds (no gloves)
But the thing that helped me the most was the movement that I probably disliked the most and that was ‘the segment and eccentric section ‘ basically the negative pull up.
4/5 sets of 3/5 reps where you take 3-5 seconds to descend to a dead hang. This was no ‘fun’ at all. And fighting against the temptation to just drop like a stone is very very hard at the end of any day. But I kept getting back on that monkey bar and doing another one and another one . Just hoping that the coach was right, if I put in the work that pull up would come.
About 3 weeks into January during one of my many mixed grip negative pull ups, I decided that I test my chin up progressive as I would have always found that an easier “pull movement”. This was better but I was still well below the bar and getting stuck on that last third of the pull.
When I wasn’t in the gym, I made use of the chinup bar that himself has at home and at the weekends, I would do afew dead hangs and work on the chin up. Getting himself to record me in the phone and then really work on keeping the core tight, the elbow straight and the chin down.
Then roll on 5 weeks and I was doing this chin ups practice at home and I came so so close to my first one. That made me even more determined. I wanted to get s chin up by the end of the week.
So in last nights (Thursday) pull up practice, my partner in crime wasn’t there and I needed someone to time my dead hangs and so I asked himself to hold the clock and he persuaded me to try a chin up on the monkey bar.
And low and behold (to my own disbelief) I did it…
It really felt like I was been lifted up as it felt (dare I say) easy.
I was so happy I was jumping for joy!!
Then he suggested I try a pull up and I was all ..’no, not ready yet, its not there’. I was happy with my chin up but he wouldn’t let me go home without atleast an attempt.
So I got up and again I just floated up….ok it was a little slower than the chin up but I did it and I couldn’t believe it..Thankfully it was been recorded and watched by another person ( who you can hear in the background) or I wouldn’t of believed it. I swear to God I watched it 100 times since!
I’ve done it, I did my first Pull Up.
After class this evening, I was nearly afraid to go near the bar again just in case it was a once off but no I did it again. (Twice)
This just shows that anyone can do whatever they put their mind too. Once you have a goal, the right support and a good plan!!
Stay holistic 🙂