I took nearly 8 months off of serious pull up training due to a) focussing on my strong first level 2 kettlebell certification and b) going through some wacky and WILD situations back in Pittsburgh that had taken a stressful toll on me personally. Believing that I could just step up to my home pull up bar and bang out rep after rep, I attempted to do just that at the beginning of February.
I got nothing. Literally. No pull up whatsoever.
“Well then. . .SHIT!” was my initial reaction to this attempted practice (which then lead to a series of panicked stricken messages and phone calls to a number of my Strong First kettlebell colleagues all around the globe). Knowing I was once capable of seriously heavy weighted pulls ups (link to youtube), I wondered why on earth I had lost my ability to get my chin above the bar. I could get into some nerdy details about all this, but to keep it short and simple today, I came to realize that . . .
1). Failure to train proper movement patterns for specific skills, related to pull ups here , will result in some sort of down-regulation of your strength. Practice and consistent practice of any skill will lead to personal mastery and increased strength. I simply forgot to plug in pull up training during this past 8 months, which was also relate to . . .
2). Extreme psychological stress (in some cases, traumatic stress), actually HINDER your ability to train effectively or recover effectively from your workouts. Consistently high and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol will make your recovery form training difficult, and if you have gone beyond your own personal stress threshold and burnt out your cortisol reserves, getting out of bed in the morning to train in the first pace will be equally as difficult. For more on this with scientific articles to back it up, please click this link.
So. . .what’s a former weighted pull up master to do? Back to the basics we go!
For those of you reading this post that are just starting out with pull training, and are looking for how to master your very first pull up, I have three very EASY and very beginner friendly movements you can practice for proper core stability and lat strength, the two most importance factors you will need to work your way up from the ground up for pull strength. Today, I will be releasing those very exercises in this post.
- Planks. You can choose to do hardstyle planks that require MAXIMAL tension for a period of 10 seconds for up to 3 to 5 rounds. My personal favorite is to practice basic planks for a period of 30 seconds, six times through. Masting core tension will actually help you master the proper tension you need to keep your body stable when raising yourself above the bar for your first pull up. Give planks a solid go ! Again, my recommendation is to work up to 30 second plank holds with 30 seconds of rest 6 times through for sheer mastery!
2. Inverted rows. This lift is commonly referred to as “Australia Style Pull Ups”. Carrying over your plank training to this lift, you will maintain abdominal tension while pulling your chest to a lower bar from the floor up. Be sure to inhale on the pull upward, and exhale on the release. Start with three total reps for 5 sets and work up to 5 reps for 5 sets over time.
3. Kettlebell cleans. This is a fairly basic, single kettlebell exercise i recommend for full on grip and lat power. Grab a kettlebell (ladies, start between 8kg and 12kg and dudes, 16 to 20kgs to start). Begin by hiking your kettlebell back and carrying over your initial plank technique, stand tall to allow your weight to land in the racked position, Start with 3 reps on both right and left sides for a total of 5 rounds and work up to 5 reps right and left sides for 5 sets over time.
Starting next week, I will be talking about my new and super improved pull up program that will literally walk you through a number of other exercises, including the ones mentioned above, to gain your very first pull up rep with ease. I am using this protocol as a precursor program to work your way up to Powerful Pressing, which requires a lot of hang and pull up training itself. That means I WILL need a handful of people to test this program out, and more will be announced on that next week! In the mean time, for more on Powerful Pressing and gaining a massive one rep max on your Military Press, click this link!
That’s all I have for you today! Have a great weekend and I will see you all on the blog next week. Stay tuned for updates on instagram and facebook regarding upcoming programs, training, and much much more.
Let NOTHING stand in your way!