(Photo by hrtmnstrfr)
So, you want to learn how to do push ups or pull ups? The 2011 update of this post on Pull-Up and Push-Ups for Women is a much better resource. Sorry for the extra click--but it's got much more in the way of practical tips and much less in the way of whining!
Or, well, if you're feeling too lazy to relocate, here's the original version:
Who Changed The Rules?
Pull Ups and Push Ups: all of a sudden, it seems, we women are being urged to take 'em on.
If I'm not mistaken, we used to be considered exempt. We had a special easy kind of push-up just for us, the "girls" version, with knees down. And as to pull ups? Most guys can't do 'em either, and they have all that testosterone--only Super Fit Weightlifter Gals were supposed to be able to rise to the challenge. The rest of us could crank out a few lat pulls or hop on the Gravitron and call it a day.
But as women have gotten more empowered and stronger and started to take over the weight rooms and fitness magazines, the "bar," so to speak, has been raised.
Wait, you're still here? Did you miss the link above? Seems a shame you're reading this old post (which I'm a bit embarrassed about, honestly) when there's a newer updated post that has all the information in this one, plus more handy tips. So let's try that again, shall we? Here's the 2011 Cranky Fitness post on how to do push ups and pull ups.
Or not. Sigh. Whatever....
And so while I'm usually able to ignore Fit Bloggers who do Incredible Things (like Bunny Girl or Nitmos) the call to master these two
The New York Times was recently pushing push-ups. Geek Girl recently dissected the anatomy of a push up. Even bloggers we love such as MizFit and Stumptuous and Jen at Survival of the Fittest and Kelly at Fitness Fixation (and in the News) seem to be telling us: Push Ups and Pull Ups are great and you gals can all learn to do them too!
Well, my response to these beloved sources of inspiration?
Screw it, No We Can't!
(Disclaimer: actually, I can do 25ish full-body push-ups, if I have to. I actually prefer other machine-based forms of upper body exercise. But I'm a bazillion years from being able to do an unassisted pull-up. So I can totally relate to those who have Push Up issues, and I will count myself as an honorary member of your Tribe).
What's Wrong With Rising Expectations for Women's Fitness?
Nothing! I am generally on the other side of the argument on this stuff, urging women to do their strength training and railing against the use of teeny tiny pink weights.
But Push-Ups and Pull-Ups are Unfair and Mean!
These exercises are Unfair Benchmarks for fitness. The larger your body weight, the harder they are, even if you're really strong. There are some incredibly fit women who do not have lucky lean metabolisms. Should heavy fit people feel like failures because they can't do some arbitrary body-weight lifting exercise?
So don't feel bad if you can't and won't ever to be able to do them. Keep getting stronger and set whatever goals motivate you.
That Said, I Really Really Want to be Able to Do Some Pull-Ups.
These gals are just a little too inspiring to ignore them entirely. I'm lean enough now that theoretically, pull-ups should be a possibility. On the other hand, I honestly think I'm (a) too old and (b) too lazy to do what it would take to get there.
But still, perhaps I'll try a little harder to get a little closer.
Some Resources if you want to Learn To do Push-Ups or Pull-Ups:
As common sense suggests, you need to approach it incrementally, but the gals above have creative ideas as to how to do that. More specifically:
- Jen and the folks at Experience Life have lots of suggestions to get you to your First Pull-up.
- Stumptuous tells you how to Mistress the Push-Up
- MizFit gives Push-Up lessons in a handy video.
- From Jen again, how to Do 15 Pull-Ups . (For you Hard Core Fit gals.)
Crabby Goes to the Gym!
Based on the above resources, it seemed like time for me to try some "negative" pull-ups. These involve starting from the top of a pull-up and lowering yourself down.
I started my pull-up remediation program last week and I learned several things:
1. Negative pull-ups are MUCH easier if you skim the article, ignore the part about "slowly" and just let gravity drop you down, then hop up again and drop down again, etc. in an entirely half-assed manner.
2. Even cheaty half-assed negatives can MAKE YOU SORE AS HELL FOR THREE DAYS AFTERWARDS.
3. If you go back and read the article, then return to the gym and do them right ("a slow three or four count per negative"), you may discover you can hardly do any. Hardly doing any still makes you SORE AS HELL for another couple days.
4. After years of slacky weight training, wherein the goal has been pretty much to maintain strength rather than increase it, feeling SORE AS HELL is actually kinda fun!
(However, check back in a few weeks when I'll probably have stopped doing negatives because they're too hard. Sorry, you weren't, um, coming to Cranky Fitness for inspiration, were you?)
Is anyone else trying to master/increase their push-ups or pull-ups, or do you not give a crap whether you can do them or not?