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Old 07-10-2014, 03:24 PM   #1
Rolando Garcia
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Pull-up question

Ok so I have a question about the resistance bands used for the pull-ups. I've been doing Crossfit for about two-three years and am still using the same band (second strongest band). Now I have learned to "kip" with them but still haven't been able to do a pull up (strict or kip) unassisted. Also over the years I know I've gotten stronger since my max for exercises have gone up.

Question is : are these bands hurting me, and is there something else I can try/do?
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:56 PM   #2
Clint Harris
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Re: Pull-up question

I think you should progressively use a smaller band. If you're still on the same one, then to me it says you haven't really challenged yourself. Or perhaps are concerned about the time. Commit to removing your training wheels - don't use that same one again, next time, use a smaller one - it may mean you're back to doing one at a time. Do this for a few weeks (or until you're doing 5), and drop it again - take the training wheels off. They're hard, and they do suck to be standing there forever trying to knock them out - but don't take the easy road out and bungy your way to fitness. They definitely have their place, but you have to plan to remove them.
It's almost no different being stuck on "95# barbell" movements because "135#" is too heavy and you get no where trying it. However, if you use 100# for 1 month. Then 105# for 1 month. etc. You'll eventually get there ... or at least progress into a more challenging weight without loosing too much intensity or speed.

Potentially, for workouts, you may have to revert to jumping pull-ups. Instead of doing 21 banded pull-ups, do 21 jumping. HOWEVER, jump up, hold your position for 2s, then negative for 2 secs. Find out and learn good shoulder and scap position too - and ensure you maintain it and try to pull as you jump too.

Also, practice your pull-ups. Every-time you go into the gym, try to do 1. Even if it's a jump up and hold it with long negative. Even get a friend to try and pull you down as you resist it (for 5secs). As soon as you loose your posture, however, you're done. Don't just hold on and swing around - make sure you keep nice tight abs, retracted scaps and shoulders and are just generally in a strong position - as soon as you break, you're done.
Shake it out, and try again after a few minutes. Maybe accumulate 5 during the entire class.
Ultimately, you may start to be able to do sets too - like 1-2-1, 2-3-2, 1-2-3

Just do them.
This is, of course, assuming you're not carrying excess bodyweight which will make it way more difficult - speaking from experience. I'm bigger and heavier than the average person but when at my "fighting weight" I can do 7-10 strict (took me a while to get there from 0). Now, I am easily 30# overweight and deconditioned (had stopped for a 3-4 months) so now really struggle to get 2 .... and that's being generous. I can still kick them up, but good form ones ... yea, they're gone.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:13 PM   #3
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Pull-up question

2-3 years?!


Seriously, unless you are obese it shouldn't be that difficult.


Lay your foundation work with body rows with feet on floor, then box with body horizontal, negatives.

Another exercise to throw in there would be barbell rows or pulldowns (doubtful any CF gym has one).
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:47 AM   #4
Bob Herald
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Re: Pull-up question

If you've failed to get a pull-up in 2-3 years, your trainer has failed you. Ditch the bands.

Lose excess body fat. The pull-up is about weight to power ratio. And do inverted rows. Barbell and rings. I would do them every other day, 5 sets of max reps.

I would make pullups your priority until you can perform a few flawless reps.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:46 AM   #5
Adam Shreim
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Re: Pull-up question

I am with Clint on the negatives. They will be a huge boost to general pull-up strength. If you don't have a spotter, use a slim band and kip to top and try doing some tempo pull-ups. The first time I have ever done this was at CrossFit Indivisible and they were no joke. I had to band after about 2 sets of 5 to finish out to the 5th set.

Basically, you kip up and start at the top, then lower yourself down in a controlled negative for 3 seconds. Hold 1 second at the bottom, explode back up to the top, hold for 1 second at the top and repeat the 3 second negative.

The frequency in which they programmed these pull-ups added about 5 strict pull-ups to my total in about 3 months. They may help you get your first pull-up.

Another good idea is to go with Blair/Bob's suggest of ring or body rows. The problem is that most people don't do these strict enough to get the full benefit out of them. You need to control the reps and keep your glutes and abs engaged for the entire rep and pull the rings/bar all the way to your chest (rings should kind of go into your armpits). Between the negatives building strength from lowering yourself slowly and rows training the pulling muscles, you should be able to get it.

I think just practicing hanging from the bar and then squeezing your shoulder blades together to help you trigger your lats into the movement can help. You need to keep your core tight and engaged the entire time. It will help you start the pull-up phase. Once you can feel the muscles triggering in your lats, you can start bending at the elbows and trigger the pull upwards.

Another type of rowing exercise that could help is to lay on a flat bench and take either DBs or KBs and slowly row them up to your body until your thumbs are in your armpits and do a static hold for 3-5 seconds. During the upward pull phase of this exercise, concentrate on feeling the muscles in your back. This may help strengthen your back and triceps for pulling, in addition to all of the other stuff suggested.

You could try doing a linear style program of at least 3 times per week of training solely for getting a pull-up.

Monday do negatives (because they are going to be the hardest). Wednesday do some type of weighted row (because this is the easiest). Friday do an inverted or ring row (right in the middle).
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:30 AM   #6
Rolando Garcia
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Re: Pull-up question

Yes 2-3 years and no pull up, now I'm heavy but not obese, and these are great suggestions. Now my next question for these ring rows is:
During wod, if wod calls for pull-ups I sub these rows?
Or do I do pull-ups with lighter band and work rows on my own?
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:52 AM   #7
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Pull-up question

You can just substitute the rows.

Thing is that rows tend to be stricter than when it Rx's pullups as kipping pullups. So you'll end up doing more volume than if you were doing pullups in a band or kipping (you should not kip in a band even if it can be done).
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:45 PM   #8
Clint Harris
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Re: Pull-up question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolando Garcia View Post
Yes 2-3 years and no pull up, now I'm heavy but not obese, and these are great suggestions. Now my next question for these ring rows is:
During wod, if wod calls for pull-ups I sub these rows?
Or do I do pull-ups with lighter band and work rows on my own?
Both. All of the above. Mix it up.
Do some workouts with ring-rows.
Some workouts with smaller bands.
Some workouts negatives.
Do all on your own.

Eventually you'll figure out what works best based on volume. Higher volume stuff, like some of the girl workouts, you may need to have a mix. Like Cindy. One round band. One round negative. One round rings. etc

Believe you me. The rows will probably start easy and get hard fast; like a set of 10 - depending on your incline - you'll bang through 5 and then last 5 will be totally different. Then once you go and gas yourself on another exercise, they will get tougher and tougher. They're like push-ups in some respects because they aren't quite the brute strength needed to do a strict pull-up but they will disappear on you like a push-up does. Then you're left with waiting/shaking it out, or fighting hard not to "snake" or collapse your positioning, and needing to alter the angle so you can carry on (like go to knees or add more incline).
Watch out for the ring-rows in a wod where you start too horizontal and you start sagging in your core (butt down). It can quickly turn into a rounded-shoulder-bicep workout with kip/leg drive, ultimately defeating its purpose. Once it gets to that point, you all you're doing it consuming the clock and exercising. Not "training" per se. Hold yourself accountable to the form and function of the movement. It's literally the difference between having short term and long term goals. Your long term is a pull-up and more pull-ups. But today, you'll focus on a tight core. Then tomorrow it'll be good shoulder positions. Then next day might be consistent cycling.

For me, I'm usually prepared to switch to something else in a workout too - depending on goal. If my goal is to get a time - then yea, chin over the bar and full extension is it. Whatever happens in the middle happens - and it is usually accompanied with some regret like damaged hands. However, the other 90% of the time, it's more of a training goal. So I'll start with good pull-ups (even strict when not required but when volume is low enough and I can do them). Then switch to a kip. Then as soon as they're gone or kip becomes more of a donkey kick swing with minimal pull, I'll switch to a ring-row or a band. Then as that goes, I'll switch to something less difficult that still trains me but also allows me to finish the ****ing workout too.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:00 PM   #9
Steve Agocs
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Re: Pull-up question

Kipping with bands guarantees you will never get away from bands. I stopped using bands after a years and did ring rows every time pull-ups came up in WOD's and after a couple months I had my first strict pull-up where I hadn't done one in almost 20 years.
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