Routines · Spartan

Pull Ups: What to do when you cannot do them.

A big part of being able to complete a Spartan race is the ability to pull yourself up and over things. Training for it requires a lot of pull ups.  Which I can’t do. Part ability, part available bar to use. My weightlifting gym, Fit Results, has space to do them, but I’ve only been able to make it there twice a month or so, and when I go I only have eyes for the barbells. I do have a door frame bar on my wishlist, but in the mean time I still need to train.

Thursdays my Spartan training calls for a rest day, but we still got a mental workout when prompted to research troubles in our training. I spent all day yesterday reading everything I could about pull ups and how to effectively replace them.

The Muscles:
Pull ups activate a long list of muscles all at once. I could list them, but Im not actually that great at anatomy and wont have any idea what I’m talking about without a diagram in front of me.

Oh look, a diagram!
image
(image taken from google image search from several fitness forums, unable to track down original source atm)

Biceps and Triceps I can build up pretty easily with dumbbells. I’ve been working on them for aesthetic reasons already. The trouble Im having is working all the back muscles. I don’t have access to a lot of equipment so Im limited to dumbbells most of the time. After searching for exercises that use the same muscle groups, the solution seems to be rows.

The Routine:
One pull up will use all the muscles at the same time,while one bicep curl will really only work my bicep. To effectively replace pull ups with dumbbells I’ll need to add four different exercises:

  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extensions or Kickbacks (or both because I need triceps)
  • Shoulder Press
  • Alternating Renegade Rows

I know that I cant actually do a pull up right now, even if I did have a place to do them, but hopefully by working on the required muscles Ill be closer than I have been. I’ll be testing my progress every time I go to Fit Results, starting Monday.

Note to self: Talk to Greg about this topic as well.

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6 thoughts on “Pull Ups: What to do when you cannot do them.

  1. Try a pull up bar to put on your door frame at home. I also starred with assisted pull ups at my gym (where you kneel on the cushion which moves with you as you pull up).

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  2. I love pull ups! Honestly I can only easily do three, (working up to four), but trust me all you have to do is start and truly by the end of the week, if you’ve been trying every day, watch yourself do one pull ups. It’s a process but trust me you’ll get there.

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  3. Row row row, I can’t stress that enough. When I started in the gym I couldn’t do one pull up. Barbell rows, dumbbell rows, T-bar rows, lat pull downs with every grip. If you don’t have access to a gym get yourself some resistance bands, they’re great too, and inexpensive.

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