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Old 10-25-12, 06:13 PM  
Tanja
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Northern Alabama
I am 5 ft 10 with long, skinny limbs. I have a very hard time with push ups and pull ups. However, simple physics (levers) explains why long levers have less force than short levers.

I am not worried about it and focus more on endurance training. I am going to the gym for machine weight lifting (Cybex machines) and I can pump out pretty good sets. For example, I am rotating every month between 4 sets of 8 - 12 reps, and 2 sets of 30 reps. Currently, when I am doing a chest press for 4 sets, I am using 90 pounds and if I do the 2 sets, I am using 60 lbs. I am fried after my workout and I am having good muscle endurance with sufficient strength gain.

Long and lean body types are better for endurance and I have to accept it.
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Old 10-25-12, 07:49 PM  
daisyduke
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
I have done several rounds of P90X. It took me awhile to do one unassisted. I used Iron Woody Bands in the beginning. Now I do as many as I can with 5 lb ankle weights on without the Woody Bands and then when I reach failure I do them with the Wood Band. When I take the weights off, I can crank out a few!
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Old 10-25-12, 08:49 PM  
leslie w
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Join Date: Jan 2002
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I agree with those who believe it's a weight issue. When I weighed 110 lbs I had no problems with pullups. Now that I'm 135lbs, forgetaboutit! I can do them with my Iron Woody bands, but I can only do a few at a time. Otherwise my elbows start talking to me!
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Old 10-25-12, 09:07 PM  
gymmom
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
I was surprised as well that that article did not mention core strength. Being the mother of a gymnast I've watched countless girls progress on the uneven bars - building core strength first, and then upper body - and all without lifting a single weight - other than their own body weight. As the girls move through the levels they work on skills that use the muscles beginning at the base of the core and later moving up the trunk. Without that solid base they simply can't progress to the harder skills. I would think it would be the same progression for a non-gymnast as well. What a flawed study methodology.

At 13 my daughter did more pull-ups than any student in her 8th grade class of 300 students (boys and girls) - in fact they made her stop before she even fatigued. She is my inspiration!
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Old 10-25-12, 10:48 PM  
lila_says
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gymmom View Post
I was surprised as well that that article did not mention core strength. Being the mother of a gymnast I've watched countless girls progress on the uneven bars - building core strength first, and then upper body - and all without lifting a single weight - other than their own body weight. As the girls move through the levels they work on skills that use the muscles beginning at the base of the core and later moving up the trunk. Without that solid base they simply can't progress to the harder skills. I would think it would be the same progression for a non-gymnast as well. What a flawed study methodology.

At 13 my daughter did more pull-ups than any student in her 8th grade class of 300 students (boys and girls) - in fact they made her stop before she even fatigued. She is my inspiration!
It's interesting that you should write that Gymmom. As a prepubescent & in my gymnastics days I could do chin-ups, pull-ups, etc. Now I can't even do one of either. I think I'm probably as fit now as I was then however, I have at least 30lbs more to me than I did then too --- breasts, butt, as well as other muscle & fat that has added up over the years. I suspect I'd have to be 100lbs or less to be able to do those now
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Old 10-26-12, 04:19 AM  
Lannette
 
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Three days a week for three months, the women focused on exercises that would strengthen the biceps and the latissimus dorsi the large back muscle that is activated during the exercise. They lifted weights and used an incline to practice a modified pull-up, raising themselves up to a bar, over and over, in hopes of strengthening the muscles they would use to perform the real thing. They also focused on aerobic training to lower body fat.

If you want to be able to do pull-ups you need to practice pull-ups. Seems to me that they approximated pull-ups without ever having them practice the upright true and honest movement.

I can't help but wonder if the outcome would have been different had they actually incorporated modified upright pull-ups progressing to less and less assistance. Three weeks is also not a very long time to build up the kind of upper body and core strength you need for a pull-up.
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Old 10-26-12, 06:23 AM  
Kyra
 
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I would like to read the study before commenting on it (maybe over the weekend). However my own opinion on the matter is that bodyweight DOES matter, as do lever arms, among other things. I have long arms and somewhat hypermobile shoulders, and I have found that two things influence my ability to do pull ups; 1) my weight and 2) doing pull ups. I have to do them to be able to do them. If I haven't been doing them consistently I have to default to negatives or bands to bang out any kind of serious numbers. After doing that consistently for a good while, I can do sets without.

As for lat pulldowns - I don't think they're a strict analogue for pullups. As Ivy stated (and as you will figure out if you even do a set of slow-ish negatives) there is a LOT more core involvement than you might think. I recall doing negatives for the first time some number of years ago and having the WORST ab DOMS for days after!

I think if your shoulders are healthy enough to do them they're a worthwhile addition to your training arsenal - even if you have to work hard to get there.
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Old 10-26-12, 06:40 AM  
cherimac
 
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Location: Georgia
Interesting thoughts from everyone. I knew the educated crowd here could give some good input to the article. Thanks!
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Old 10-26-12, 07:10 AM  
casey
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
I went from no pull ups to doing 2 sets of 12 pull ups and a third set of 5-6 pull ups. It wasn't a big plan but what I was doing was first, 12 weeks of NROL4W, then 4 1/2 month rotation of Cathe's STS program. When I couldn't do pull ups, I did lat pull downs with my hands in wide, narrow, palms up, palms down positions, negative pull downs on my pull up bar, pull ups starting on a step stool with my tip toe of one foot on it etc. I do feel strongly that all those variations of push ups that Cathe does in STS chest work did help condition my body for pull ups too.

I agree that pull ups totally worked my abs and the whole front side of my core. If you can't do pull ups, try chin ups, which are much easier.

My DD is another one who could just bang out a million chin ups and pull ups. She could outdo almost every, if not all, of the boys on her swim team. She has long arms and legs, as does my dh and I. My DH is 6' but his arms measure 6'2" from end to end. My DD is 5'7" and her arms measure 5'9" from end to end. My arms are longer than my height too, I just don't remember what they measured but I'm almost 5'7". Maybe I don't care about my arm length so much because I'm a runner!
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Old 10-26-12, 08:17 AM  
WWWendy
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After about 3 rounds of P90X I think my personal best was 5 unassisted chin ups and maybe 3 unassisted pull-ups. It was a great feeling to get to that point, but it took a lot of work and many weeks to get there. A few weeks definitely isn't enough for most people, I expect.

Also, unless I'm training chin-ups/pull-ups regularly, I lose the ability VERY quickly, so I am not surprised that women who were not specifically practicing pull ups couldn't do any.
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