MEGA girl crush… its a pun… wait for it!

So I am horrible at discovering new things. It’s a weird genetic flaw. I have no idea why, and this will likely sound insane to most people, but I am legitimately incapable of discovering new authors, bands, music, clubs… you name it, if i don’t already know about, or am told directly by a friend? It’s invisible.

I’ve been working on finding new websites, mainly because i am now completely hooked on this climbing thing. I discovered an A M A Z I N G one which I have to share, in the form of a timely ‘pull up related’ post. Check them out. Go check them out again. I’ve read like half the whole site. I love it. And even bought a bag that I was debating over when their review pushed me over the edge (more on my new bag later).

Here’s the link,, and because I’m retarded and don’t know how to reblog posts from other servers, the text copied.

GO CHECK IT OUT AND LOVE IT TOOOOO these ladies are awesome and rock my socks.

I never thought I would be able to do a pull-up. Like, ever. Squats, lunges, sit-ups? Bring it. But pull-ups? No. Those are for dudes, and their damned higher-muscle-to-fat ratio bodies. And of course for Mary, who, BTW, at a house party two weeks ago, had a few cocktails, and then did 9 pull-ups while all of the the party-goers stared on in awe. But Mary is an exception, because only 1% of women can even do 1 pull-up (let alone 9, while drunk…in a skirt). Blame it on difference in upper body strength, blame it on lower center of gravity, I personally blame it on having a lot of junk in my trunk, whatever. Bottom line is: it’s hard. But, if you want to climb stronger, training this movement will help a lot.  We use the motion of pulling up in climbing a lot, and pull-ups also strengthen not only your back and arms, but also your core (there is waaaaay more core involved than I thought).  Also, by learning how to do pull-ups, you can impress people at parties, so, it’s a win-win.


So, how do we train for this? Well, flailing on a pull-up bar, just trying to pull with all your might won’t get you anywhere.  I’ve tried.  You have to train by doing as much of the actual motion as possible, using your weight, and engaging your core, and all the other muscles involved in this movement.  That’s where that crazy Rube-Goldberg, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse-esque contraption, shown above, comes in handy.  This system was built by Cate’s husband, who was working on training one-armed-pull-ups (see: damned higher-muscle-to-fat-ratio-body).  It involves two pulleys, a milk crate, a rope, a couple of carabiners, and some weights.  I put on a harness, clip into it, and the weight that is placed inside of the milk crate is taken off my own body weight, to assist me as I pull up! SO for example, when I started I had 51 lbs in the crate, so I was only pulling up my body weight, minus 51 lb (so, like 75 lbs, there, I said it, you do the math).

I know, now you are thinking, “But Missy, I’m no good with a power drill, and I don’t have any madman/genius friends who have such a contraption in their own home, so what am I to do?” Well, another awesome way to train is: The Negative Pull-Up.
For a negative pull up, you can use a pull up bar, two jugs side by side at the gym (the campus board at the climbing gym is a good option if they have jugs set up on it), or even the top of a door!  If you are using the top of a door, make sure  you use something to jam the door closed, like a towel or a door jam, so the door doesn’t go flapping open while you try to pull up on it. Here’s how you do a negative pull-up:

This lovely lady jumps into it, which you can do, or I might do it using a chair or stool to get me up there (or use my feet to climb up the jugs on the campus board) and then, as SLOWLY as possible let yourself down.

In terms of reps, I have been doing 3 or 4 sets of 3 or 4 reps.  Keep trying to increase your reps, and once it gets easy, and you are doing say, 8 reps, try to do a full on pull-up, and see where you get.  Try to do this at least twice a week until you  can do a full pull up. It may take some time, and it’s all about incremental increases.

As far as the crazy contraption above, so far, the results have been awesome, so if you can rig this up, it’s definitely worth it.  I started with needing to take off 51 lbs in the assist, then the next time down to 45lbs, then to 40, then to 30, and my current best, I could do 1 pull-up with just 20lbs off.  And that’s just in three weeks time! How cool is that? So if I keep it up, at this rate I will be doing something I never thought possible! And, dear readers, you’ll all be the first to hear about it it!

Climb On!



About adventuresunplugged

The world is a really cool place. I moved to Zurich almost three years ago to start my PhD, and have really enjoyed the different opportunites living close to the Swiss alps offered. This blog is about some of my adventures, climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing, traveling... life in general! Wow, haven't updated this bad boy in some time! While the above is still true I have gone on to finish the PhD, so that is Dr Unplugged to you. I also have landed a job in Switzerland and will be shortly moving to Geneva. Clearly I have some adventures ahead left to explore with you guys along for company!
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