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Lucky Star 06-10-12 01:41 PM

? re: bodyweight and pullups
I am starting to get more into bodyweight training. I've been enjoying HC ('beginner' w/o's only so far which I find plenty challenging!) along with some Pilates, yoga, CS, etc. I realize I'm late to the party but lately I'm enchanted with the idea of equipment-free functional fitness training. I also like short bursts of interval exercise. (Baby-step Tabatas?) :) I'm renewing my interest in Firm Express and am looking into Pace Express and am also curious about Mindy Mylrea's 6 Minutes to Slim It set - awful title isn't it?

So this brings me to the subject of the pullup, which has always been a pie-in-the-sky exercise to me. :o If I were to focus on horizontal pullups (a la the Equalizer) would that be a good enough goal for someone with weak upper body strength like me? I'm not planning on becoming a superwoman, just functionally strong and balanced. Do you think horizontal pullups would accomplish that to some degree? And is there something more affordable than the $100 Equalizer that's equally versatile - maybe a 1-piece unit, or something that screws into the wall?

As always, your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated. :)

Kyra 06-10-12 03:03 PM

Horizontal pullups, if I'm correctly imaging what the instructor means, are also called inverted rows - because they're more akin to a row than a pullup. They do work a lot of the same muscles as a pullup, but in a different plane.

Whether they're "enough" is really up to you. They're one of the few vertical pull exercises out there (as opposed to rows, which are horizontal pulls). I like to include v. pulls in my program but there's no law saying you have to. Different people have different ideas on how to regress/progress them; two of the more popular include using bands (which I've done successfully) and using negatives. Negatives would keep you equipment free (aside from the bar) and are plenty challenging.

I use a door gym at home (cheap, but plain bars are even cheaper if you can put them in your doorframe). You can also do pulldowns using bands if you're not up to trying pullups, but again you're into equipment, and I personally have found that pulldowns do not equal pullups, in terms of total body effects.

I don't know if that's helpful; I hope so! My short answer is it's up to you if inv. rows are "enough" but there's no reason NOT to try pullups in some form or another, assuming you have no physical limitations that dictate otherwise.

desie 06-10-12 04:38 PM

A horizontal pull-up, don't you just lay a broomstick across two chairs and lie down under it? Like an upside-down push-up? I think a vertical pull-up is much harder, but my gym has a low-tech way to make it easy, that can't be that much money. they just throw a rubber band over the pull-up bar, tie the ends that are hanging down, and then you put your foot in the band to hold up some of your body weight while you pull up. It's actually quite sproingy and fun to do pull-ups with your foot in the band. Desie

Donna D 06-10-12 04:51 PM

The Fluidity bar can also be used for pullups.

Lucky Star 06-10-12 06:21 PM

Thanks for the comments so far.

Originally Posted by desie (Post 2049217)
my gym has a low-tech way to make it easy, that can't be that much money. they just throw a rubber band over the pull-up bar, tie the ends that are hanging down, and then you put your foot in the band to hold up some of your body weight while you pull up.

Yup, that's pretty low-tech! :) I'm not sure I can do that in my doorways; might be worth a discussion w/DH.

I was thinking horizontal pullups because frankly I'm not confident in my ability to ever do a vertical one. But I guess that just makes it a goal to work towards.

zippity 06-10-12 06:33 PM

A broomstick and two sturdy chairs might work for horizontal pullups.

Lucky Star 06-10-12 06:58 PM

You're right, and desie mentioned that too -- even lower tech!

Edie 06-10-12 08:08 PM

I do pull ups on my fluidity bar. Sit cross legged with bar high enough above my head and pull myself up. I used my fluidity bar to do P90X chest and back and it worked well. Love that workout - mainly various forms of push ups and pull ups, so fits the body weight category quite well.

bee1forfitness 06-10-12 08:48 PM

I bought a assisted pull up station, it helps a lot, maybe too much, so I really need to stop using it as a crutch. You can also use your suspension trainer (if you have one)

Sharaz 06-10-12 10:22 PM

I agree that the vertical pull up is a different monster, but the horizontal variation is a great option to built strength. I have the Equalizer and I believe is more difficult than a pull down. The Equalizer is tough too. To built strength you can start with the bend knee variation and turn to full leg horizontal extension to increase difficulty. Lucky Star- I think the Equalizer or any cheaper alternative will be effective, but if your final goal is to perform full pull ups maybe the assisted pull stations is a better option and you will not need to invest on two piece of equipments.

To built strength I will progress trough this exercises; pull downs, negatives pull downs, knee horizontal rows, full extension horizontal rows, assisted pull ups, pull ups :)

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