Double Banded Pull-ups (you’ve come a long way baby!)

But that isn’t what I want to talk about today. Today is about where I’m at.

I’ve been crossfitting for just over a year now. I didn’t come into Crossfit as a former gymnast, athlete, superhero – whatever (you know who you are). I came to Crossfit from my couch, via intermittent visits to the gym and a dabble in team sports. Needless to say, I’m not a natural.  I have to work really hard for every bit of progress I make.  And sometimes the road to where I want to be seems so far away (i.e. my never ending, and I mean never ending, quest for the pull up).  With the Open coming up (d*mmit announce the dates already!!) I’ve been focusing on how far I still have to go and all the things I need to learn and do before then. In doing this, I forgot to take some time to remember how far I’ve come.

Yesterday’s WOD did that for me. Yesterday was one of those days where everything feels like pure magic – sweaty, torturous magic.  To say that I was a tragedy when I started crossfit would be insulting to tragedies.  I could do nothing!! Not a thing. No double unders, my squats were the stuff of horror movies and I did almost every lift with just the bar. Ring rows were murder, push-ups a joke and I even struggled with sit-ups (without complaining of course – that’s me – stoic).  I think I might get smitted for that last bit of untruth.  I complained every minute.  Yet I kept going back.

I still can’t do a pull up, I finish in the lower end of the group during metcons and look like a spastic fish while doing burpees.borrowed shoes But I’ve come a long way baby…..as yesterday’s workout helped me remember.

The strength was paused back squats.  The key thing I noticed here was that I was no longer afraid to put more weight on the bar. I actually didn’t mind if I failed (I didn’t fail, mind you). It was a 5,5,5,5,5 set adding weight each time. I went up by 5kg each time and trust me that last set of of 50kg) was heavy. That pause in the bottom changes the whole equation for back squats.  At one point I was tempted just to stay in the bottom of the squat but apparently this is not how it works.  I was also using a pair of weightlifting shoes that I borrowed from my Romanian deadlift partner Amanda the runner. They are awesome, I must get a pair.  Of course, ordering things to Switzerland is a nightmare, but that’s a story for another day.

The big moment of revelation came with the metcon.  10 MIN AMRAP 7 walls balls, 7 push ups, 7 pull ups.  When I first started crossfit these were 3 moves that I absolutely dreaded. I HATED wall balls. I couldn’t get below parallel and kept bouncing the ball off my face. I could hardly do 5 knee pushups and well, you all know about the pull-ups.  Yesterday I didn’t even blink about the wall balls. I did the push ups strict. But the most fun part was that I did pull ups instead of ring rows.  Up until now, I had always done ring rows in the metcons to avoid being too slow or only getting one round in and just generally embarassing myself. I really on my sparkling personality to do that.  But I hated it, I hated doing ring rows when everyone else was doing pull ups.  However, as you know, I’m still strugglingwith knocking out 5 green banded pull ups in a row.

So what do you do if you struggle with pull-ups but want to do them in a met-con? You double-band baby.  I’d done this once before and wanted to do it in a (possibly) high rep metcon so I put together a green band and a purple band and used that for the pull-ups.  I knocked out 6 rounds during the AMRAP. Yes it was hard, yes I was slow, but d*mmit, I did pull ups.  As far as progress goes, it’s not a big milestone, it’s not a strict pull up, it’s not a body weight back squat but it’s progress.  It helped me to remember that the gains will come in increments and that they will keep coming if I just keep working at them.  And it felt really cool to do pull ups in the metcon.

No more ring rows for me!

One Response to “ Double Banded Pull-ups (you’ve come a long way baby!) ”

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is huge progress!!!! I think to get better at pullups, you have to do pullups! Our coaches will have us do chest to bar sometime and force us to use the band if we cannot do them unbroken. Just doing the motion and building the muscle memory helps!

    Baby steps! And btw.. My very first kipping pullup was during last Open! :)

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