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Old 02-02-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
James Besenyei
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I have been using the Gravitron machine to complete my pullups b/c I can't complete more than 2 right now at my bodyweight of 325lbs (actually down 5lbs in only the first few weeks of CF!!). I'm curious if any of you have used the Gravitron, or resistance bands? In addition, I'd be very interested in discovering how long it took you to progress to the point where you were able to perform a "good amount" (i.e., 10 or more)of pullups? I suppose I want to get a rough estimate of how long I can expect to wait (I know that varies with the individual, but I'm only looking for some very generalized numbers here). Thanks in advance.

--Jim.
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Old 02-03-2007, 12:57 AM   #2
Gorm Laursen
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First I must give you a huge pat on the back for being able to do 2 pullups at 325lbs. That's being pretty strong!

Putting my self in your place and thinking back to how I got from zero to 19 pullups, I'd not even consider using the gravitron (or the reversed curl or the lat pulldown or the ... or the ... not to mention the ...) I'd go for:

Negatives ...

... and ...

... jumping pullups ...

... and ...

... nothing else!

In your case I'd work on 2 things to get those pullup numbers up:

1. Working on more strength so you get to a point where you're strong enough to do approx. 5 pullups. When you're there, you can seriously begin to increase numbers through gtg. And the best method for quickly and efficiently reaching this point, is negatives.

2. Loosing some weight. The less you weigh, the less you pull. How to do this has been manically and obsessively been discussed infinite times before, and I will only give my 2 pence to how I lost a whole lot of weight: Paleodiet and intuitive IF and crossfit ofcourse (you you need to get these points deepened and widened, you just let me know). Another great way to get the weight down is doing things like snatches and swings with kbs or dbs, barbell thrusters, rowing AND JUMPING PULLUPS! Add these in once in a while and you'll be way ahead of the gravitron.

A sample program could be something like:

Monday
3-5 x 3-5 negatives

Tuesday
Gtg pullups all through the day in sets of 1

Wednesday
3-5 sets of almost max jumping pullups

Thursday
Gtg pullups all through the day in sets of 1

Friday
3-5 x 3-5 negatives

Saturday
3-5 sets of almost max jumping pullups

Sunday
Rest those poor lats

I used 6 months to get to my first pullup and a further 6 months to get to the magic 10 and still a further 6 months to get to 19 deadhang pullups. So muster some patience!
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Old 02-03-2007, 07:10 AM   #3
Mitchell Brown
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Hey James! I started Crossfit in May last year and at about 180lb I could do 4 pullups. When I first joined the gym I used to use the gravitron and hated doing the crossfit warm up, taking all but 45lb off my weight for the 3 x 10 pullups.

The last time I went for a PB I threw down 22 kipping pullups pretty easily in the warm up, although I think I might be able to get to 30 if I tried. I now weigh 195lbs as well.

I think that you don't need to worry about whether or not to do the gravitron, negatives, jumping pullups, just as long as you consistently do pullups of any kind! Don't skip the WODs with a lot of pullups, just grit your teeth and bear it. Consistency is key. Learning how to kip is a good idea as well...

Oh and I second Gorm's program, it looks good. Keep greasing the groove.

(Message edited by skitzmixv9 on February 03, 2007)
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Old 02-03-2007, 07:45 AM   #4
Darrell E. White
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James:

You and I couldn't have more different physiques (5'8.5" vs. 6'10", 155 vs 325 lbs.), but we actually have a very similar CF beginning. 13 months ago I could do one, maybe two PU. Now I can get 15 or so, and I can't really do much of a kip due to a shoulder issue. I did it by doing all of the WOD's that called for PU, and by doing whatever it took to do 3 sets of 10 PU as part of my CFWU. In the beginning I needed 1/2 body wt. on the gravitron or a huge jump on a jumping PU. As soon as I could feel OK doing 10 straight with a certain weight on the gravitron I reduced the assist. Now I do 11 unassisted PU x 3 in my CFWU, working my way to 15 in the warm-up. It's really whatever it takes; there's more than one way to skin this cat, but you simply have to do tons of pull-ups.

Regarding weight loss, spend some time on the "Nutrition" section. Look up Zone stuff, paleo stuff, etc. Although Gorm's method is pretty much fool-proof, it does involve quite a lot of change in almost anyone's diet and might be pretty rough to do all at once.I found it hard enough just to change to the Zone, especially since no one else in my house eats that way. Walk before you run...

Bill Russell and I are going to get together the week of 2/12, probably at the 5 Seasons in Westlake for a work-out. Likely a bodyweight exercises or one of the classics (Fight gone Bad, Annie are you alright?, maybe "Angie to the Max").
Low key, no competition. Think about it.

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Old 02-03-2007, 09:05 AM   #5
Nicholas Burgett
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James,

When I started in Feb 06 I could do 1 pull-up. At 6-2, 225# I started by using the gravitron like yourself. I didn't really do the CFWU much when I started (mainly because I didn't know about it). I just worked on getting the assist down as the workouts progressed. Every once in a while I would add in jumping pull-ups but I never did negatives as Gorm mentioned because I didn't know about them.

I started CF on 20 Feb 2006, and by early April I was ready to try and make a break from the gravitron. "Fran" came up on 4 Apr 2006, and that's when I decided that "I don't care how long it's going to take me, I'm doing all of these pull-ups legit!" Well, I did them in batches of 3, 2, and 1 and I'm sure it wasn't very pretty, but doing that whole workout without assistance was a very strong mental reinforcement that I could actually get through a high rep pull-up workout. It still took me a while before I could get through something like "Angie" without assistance, but now that's doable too.

Just keep at it. Most all of us have been where you are right now and we've been able to do things that at least personally, I didn't think I'd ever be able to do.
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Old 02-03-2007, 02:56 PM   #6
James Besenyei
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Thanks for all the input so far.

Gorm-- I never even thought about only doing negatives so I'll give them a run. Jumping pullups on the other hand I'm not to sure about, despite my weight I can still jump a bit, and I believe I would jump right up the the PU bar, thus I'd really be performing only a negative anyway....I really have to get that 8 feet hight PU bar built in the garage. I am going to do the negatives though, that seems like very sound advice. In addition, I have changed my diet as well. While I haven't gone completely Paleo yet, I have cut the carbs from breads and pastas to a minimum, and increased my vegetable intake....oh yeah, and I haven't had a beer since New Years, beer, especially good beer has always been my downfall, so I'm pretty excited that I've been able to cut it out for so long. Thanks again Gorm.

Mitchell-- kipping looks insane!! I cannot wait to give it a try, I think I'll start playing around with the mechanics (as demonstrated by the videos on the exercise descriptions) before and after some of the more low key WOD's. And I agree that Gorm's negative programs seems like a great idea.

Darrell-- WOW Darrell, that's great, 11 x 3 and 15 in a row is a dream to me right now, so I am definitely encouraged by your success. As far as the nutrition goes I'm lucky that my wife has changed her eating habits too, so together I think we are finding a pretty good balance...lots of fish, salad, vegetables, fruits, needless to say we make weekly trips down to the West Side Market to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course change is only as good as the duration for which it lasts, so will power is going to come into play eventually. As far as the workout, Saturday the 12th is no good b/c I'm taking the LSAT that day. The following Sunday or Monday may work out, though it depends upon how frazzled my mind is from the inanity of the test!!Let me know, sounds like a good idea.

Nicholas-- I know that feeling from yesterday, I was able to complete the 225lbs.DL & 800m run WOD without substituting anything, though it still took me some time to complete (about 35 minutes or so). Anyway I feel like I'm far away from being able to complete something like Angie w/o assistance but when I get there I have no doubt that what you say is correct...just getting over that mental obstacle can be as important as the physical capacity to complete the workout. Thanks for the encouragement, it really is good to know that I'm not alone in feeling this helpless about such a seemingly natural movement.

Gentlemen, thanks for the help, and here's a follow up question: You all mentioned the importance of simply performing the movement, no matter what kind of assistance is being used. So I'm curious to know if simply allowing your body to perform the movement (no matter what kind of help is used) helps with teaching it to recruit muscles required to complete the movement?

--Jim.


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Old 02-03-2007, 02:59 PM   #7
James Besenyei
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Darrell, just as a side question here: does the 5 seasons have a C2 rower, and how much is a day pass? I'm curious about the C2 b/c I'm looking to purchase one but would like to actually try one before shelling out the cash. Thanks.

--Jim.
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Old 02-03-2007, 04:46 PM   #8
Bill Russell
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Hey James. Darrell's club does have a C2, the rowing machine is awesome, and so is the facility.

Once the weather warms up, we can do a workout in my garage gym, I've got rubber bumpers, rings, P/U bars,DBs, KBs, kick bags, paralletes, and a mini-parkour course in my back yard. Well, my wife does not know about the parkour course I have planned for Spring yet, yikes!!.:gunsmilie:

Once we get back from our 2 week trip to Costa Rica, I'll work on getting a C2 rower. I can't wait for that.
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Old 02-04-2007, 09:45 AM   #9
Craig Van De Walker
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James 2 pullups at 325 is amazing! Like Gorm says, keep plugging away even with jumping pulls, negs, gravitron etc and mixing them up!

Suggestion, why don't you take some before photos stats, benchmark times and document your progress if you don't share openly at this point do it anyway for your own motivation.

Keep the crossfit community appraised of your progress, not only for your own motivation but for ours as well!

Diet is a huge part of strong athletic success.

And finally, welcome!
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:55 PM   #10
James Besenyei
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I hear ya Craig. Haven't thought about some photos, but that's a good idea. I have stats on my workout log here on the site, pretty detailed so far. The diet is the only thing I haven't really nailed down yet, but I am working on it very aggressively along with my wife. Will definitely keep everyone up to date. Good to be here.

--Jim.
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