I will admit that I have used the excuse that I am a girl so obviously I don’t have the same upper body strength as a man and can’t perform the same. Although there is some truth to this statement, there are some strong ass women in the world…. And I am one of them…

I wish I could tell you that it has always been this way but that would be a lie. In my first year of university it was a much different story. I remember showing up for Rugby fitness testing just dreading pull-ups and for good reason, I had never done a full pullup before. In fact, I couldn’t even create movement, so I essentially hung from the bar in utter embarrassment for a handful of excruciatingly long seconds. I will never forget this moment! For years I avoided doing what I wasn’t good at, and just continued to develop my lower body. I focused solely on squatting (because hello glutes!) and completely neglected my upper body out of embarrassment. Then, I dislocated my shoulder trying a ridiculous break-dancing move (which is a whole other story). This made it even more difficult to develop upper body strength but at least I finally had a valid “injured shoulder” excuse.

Long story short I finally “womaned” up and realized that as a strength coach I needed to focus on building my upper body strength and pull ups were going to be a big part of that.

I have a love/hate relationship with pull-ups; they are simultaneously my favourite exercise and most hated. I have helped countless clients improve their pull-ups after having gone through the struggle myself. (I’m still working on it) The following two things are a must when trying to get your chin over the bar:

#1 Constant Practice – I went from doing some variation of a pull-up 1-2 times/week to making sure I practiced 3-4 times, some weeks if I felt really good…5. I know this seems like a lot but I didn’t just walk in and start hanging from the bar. Idid banded pull-ups, weighted and negatives etc. As well as vertical pulling variations like cable pull downs.

#2 Do the small things – I made sure I supplemented my pull ups with tons of other rowing exercises plus a variety of muscle activation drills. Ie.) Lower trap raise, band pull-aparts, and scapular push-ups.

I’m not saying it is an easy journey but I can honestly say that no other single strength exercise has made me feel so strong, empowered and unstoppable.

Championship Lifestyle is launching a pull-up progression e-book. Stay tuned for more information. This program is what I have specifically followed to go from a scared, weak, injured girl to a bad ass pull-up machine. You can do it too!!


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