An unplanned pull up workout in June 2008 shattered my gym credentials and changed the way I workout forever!
I thought I was strong…after all I could move respectable weights in most exercises but what happened on that humid day has stayed with me ever since.
This story wasn’t one I particularly wanted to volunteer. but I feel like I have a duty to help you avoid a similar scenario and equip you with the tools you need to maintain your gym credentials.
It all started with an old friend turning up at the gym which changed the way I usually workout and changed my workout life forever…
An Old Friend Appears and Changes My Life Forever…
I usually workout alone, headphones blaring and all outside distractions…well, outside.
That day was different, an old work colleague of mine, Mikey was in the same gym and I hadn’t seen him in years so my usual steely resolve was set aside and we talked and trained together.
A few of Mikey’s friends turned up and my workout session descended into a 5 man tag team where we all worked on the same exercises using the same weight.
Usually I’d just do what I needed to do but I was caught in the moment, all backslapping and “c’mon push it, push it!!!” encouragement included.
One of the guys waiting for his set was hanging from a pull up bar stretching, bored of waiting he hoisted himself up and knocked out a set of 12 bodyweight pull ups.
Prompted by this display of orang-utan like agility everyone joined in and a pull up workout with the focus being the most bodyweight pull ups possible was the agenda.
Up stepped Mikey, on his tip toes to grip the bar….dead hang…and up….1, 2, 3….15 reps!
Mikey’s friend was next, he only managed 13 reps.
I was up next…I hadn’t done pull ups for over a year but I was confident I’d be able to keep pace as I’d always done rows and pulldowns and I was strong in them.
I stepped up, gripped the bar, Mikey and his friends shouting encouragement like “C’mon big guy, nice and strong”.
I pulled and my chin went above the bar, 1, that felt OK, 2, still OK but a little slower, 3, starting to really slow down now and I can’t believe it but I’m actually struggling!
The 4th rep was a slow, grindy, bend-your-back-and-kick-your-legs-for-momentum kind of rep but I made it.
And that was it…
I let go of the bar and dropped to my feet though judging by the look on the faces of the rest of the guys I wished the floor would have collapsed underneath me!
The pull up competition was over.
The Aftermath of The Pull Up Workout
Things changed once I let go of that bar.
I was no longer an equal in their eyes and there would be no more backslapping or “It’s all you baby!” exclamations (although I was somewhat pleased about this part anyway!).
I’d always preferred training on my own anyway, but it was on that day that I realised I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was, hell, I wasn’t anywhere near as strong as most of the guys I’d been training with.
Sure, I was bigger than most of them but I was a fraud. Muscles made of air and no real strength to show for it. It was on that day I decided to make a pull up workout a focal point of my training.
A Step Backwards and Three Giant Leaps Forward!
That day stayed with me long after the pull up workout was over.It’s still there with me now every time I hang from a pull up bar but I decided to turn it into something positive and I focussed on pull ups for months.
I started by studying how to do pull ups and I started right at the beginning using a pull up machine and getting help from a spotter at the pull up station. This helped build my strength.
It took me a couple of months but soon I was able to do body weight pull ups and I kept my pull up workout going.
I’ve now been able to get even stronger than ever, I’ve now advanced beyond regular body weight pull ups and weighted pull ups now comprise my pull up workout once a week.
My upper body strength has rocketed and my biceps are bigger than ever!
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to show Mikey and his friends my new found pull strength as I moved house a few months later. I didn’t want to train with them again but I would have been game for another pull up workout as I’m confident I would have beaten them all and evened the score!
Looking back, I wish I’d always focussed on pull ups but I know now that I’ll never have to suffer that embarrassment again and I know I’ll always be prepared should I ever find myself in a similar situation.
My advice to you is to make a pull up workout part of your weekly training schedule now or forever risk suffering the same fate as I did!
Your Pull Up Training Plan!
- Learn How To Do Pull Ups Correctly
- Learn How To Get Stronger Using a Spotter and a Pull Up Station
- Learn How A Pull Up Machine can Help You