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 Who Says Women Can’t Do Pullups?! By Amanda Perry, SFG

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PostSubject: Who Says Women Can’t Do Pullups?! By Amanda Perry, SFG   Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:29 pm

Who Says Women Can’t Do Pullups?!


By Amanda Perry, SFG
Most of you probably remember back a few months ago when the New York Times wrote about how women can’t do pull-ups. I didn’t get involved in all the smack talking that was going on, but obviously I knew the article was wrong.

I’ve done pull-ups and chin-ups on and off (mostly on) for the past several years. I generally follow some type of training program and set goals for myself, but since my RKC in April 2012 I have been a little, shall we say, vague with my goals.

A few months ago my husband was helping me write a training program and asked, “What are your goals?” My response was that I wanted to get better at pull-ups. He pointed me in the direction of Pavel’s Fighter Pull-up Program [This program was designed by an unknown Russian author; I just popularized it.—PT] and I knew this was a perfect challenge for me. I set a goal to be able to do 12 pull-ups after completing the program in 30 days.



How the program works:

You start with an all-out set and then cut a rep in each consecutive set for a total of five sets. The next day, add a rep to the last set. Then add a rep to the set before that, etc. The system is designed to be followed for four weeks.

If you can already do between 6 and 12 reps start the program with the first day your PR shows up. For instance, if your max is 6 pull-ups start with Day 7; if your max is 8 start with Day 19.

I definitely overdid it by starting on day 7 instead of day 1. I knew towards the end of the first week I had overestimated where I was at so I decided to start at day 7 again. I figured that would make it almost like I started at day 1. (Good excuse, right?)

The 5RM Fighter Pull-up Program

Day 1 – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 2 – 5, 4, 3, 2, 2
Day 3 – 5, 4, 3, 3, 2
Day 4 – 5, 4, 4, 3, 2
Day 5 – 5, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 6 – off
Day 7 – 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 8 – 6, 5, 4, 3, 3
Day 9 – 6, 5, 4, 4, 3
Day 10 – 6, 5, 5, 4, 3
Day 11 – 6, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 12 – off
Day 13 – 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 14 – 7, 6, 5, 4, 4
Day 15 – 7, 6, 5, 5, 4
Day 16 – 7, 6, 6, 5, 4
Day 17 – 7, 7, 6, 5, 4
Day 18 – off
Day 19 – 8, 7, 6, 5, 4
Day 20 – 8, 7, 6, 5, 5
Day 21 – 8, 7, 6, 6, 5
Day 22 – 8, 7, 7, 6, 5
Day 23 – 8, 8, 7, 6, 5
Day 24 – off
Day 25 – 9, 8, 7, 6, 5
Day 26 – 9, 8, 7, 6, 6
Day 27 – 9, 8, 7, 7, 6
Day 28 – 9, 8, 8, 7, 6
Day 29 – 9, 9, 8, 7, 6
Day 30 – off

At the end of the month you should take two or three days off and then test yourself. It is not unusual to up the reps 2.5-3 times. In other words, you are likely to end up cranking out 12-15 reps if you started with 5.

I started with a max of somewhere around 6 pull-ups. Here’s a video with my results after the program. (Took two days off and then tested.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKioFX_I7QI

I was surprised that the program was manageable, even though I was doing pull-ups almost every day. Obviously, the program was both mentally and physically challenging, but once I started and got the big first set out of the way it was easy to convince myself to finish since each set was less reps than I had just done. The exception was that last day in each week where you have to do 2 all-out sets. Ouch! I only skipped a few extra days (maybe 3 total) and honestly, I felt really good for the majority of the month.

This program came close to helping me double my max number of bodyweight pull-ups. It’s amazing what a little (okay, a lot) of dedication can accomplish. Obviously, this isn’t a program for those who have a bad case of workout ADD, but just remember it’s only 30 days and it sure does feel worth it when you bang out that long set of pull-ups at the end.

# # #

Amanda Perry, SFG Level 1 Instructor, is the co-owner of Skill of Strength in North Chelmsford, MA. After 10 years as a marketing manager for various technology companies, she finally followed her dream and opened a gym with her husband in 2012. She is a Certified Personal Trainer though the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), FMS, and Precision Nutrition 1. Additionally, she maintains a blog called Sistas of Strength where she writes about fitness, nutrition and balancing life as a working mom. She can be reached at amanda@skillofstrength.com, www.skillofstrength.com and www.sistasofstrength.com.

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