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Thread: Wimpy girl wants to be able to do a pullup page

  1. #1
    Lmans77's Avatar
    Lmans77 is offline Member
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    Jan 2011

    Wimpy girl wants to be able to do a pullup

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    This has been in my mind for a long time..wanting to be able to do at least one unassisted pull up.

    I am incredibly weak IMO when it comes to upper body strength. I've played around with the assisted pull up machine at the gym...I have to put 70 pounds of counterweight on it, just to be able to do a couple sets of 5-6. I weigh around 128. Seems pretty wimpy to me.

    What would be the best way to decrease the weights? Put as little counter weight as possible in order to do a couple? Or put the weight where I can do more. Lift to failure or not? How often should I be working on it.

    As far as other lifting, I wanted to focus on the basics...squats, pushups, etc.

    I'm not completely a novice when it comes to the gym...I've played around with lifting over the years, but never put on significant muscle or strength because I've never stuck with it.

    Any suggestions? Any predicitions on how quickly I can progress on the pullups if I stick with it?

  2. #2
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
    Al_Kavadlo is offline Senior Member
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    May 2010
    If you practice consistently, you could get your first pull-up this summer. Check out my article on learning to do a pullup. You might find some of the other articles on my blog helpful as well, so if you like the pull-up one, check out some of the others.

    One thing you have working in your favor is that you don't weigh very much. Be patient and train hard!
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

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  3. #3
    MikeEnRegalia's Avatar
    MikeEnRegalia is offline Senior Member
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    Apr 2010
    Germany (near Nuremberg)
    Different situation here, same result: Chubby male, can't do one pull-up. For the last year or so I've been using the lat pulldown machine to prepare for pull-downs - but it didn't even prepare me for dead hangs. So I'm currently following Al's advice - I'm doing australian pull-ups, dead hangs and negative chin-ups instead of the lat pulldown machine.

    Incidentally: If you've never tried dead hangs before - do so. To me it was a really interesting experience - and I think that many people will, like me, be surprised that such a simple thing as hanging on a bar is so difficult if you're not used to it. I had a similar revelation with overhead squats - these exercises are infinitely more effective than machines.
    Last edited by MikeEnRegalia; 04-17-2011 at 09:42 AM.

  4. #4
    Nettle's Avatar
    Nettle is offline Senior Member
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    Apr 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Another wimpy girl here working on eventually doing a pull-up. I don't do the gym thing so I'm improvising at home. I'm doing the pull up progression now in a regular body weight routine a few times a week but I'm also adding what I call 'random' assisted pull-ups during my day. I do my routine on this beam at the bottom of my stairs so now every time I come down the stairs I'll do a few. I'll even do a couple when I wake up unless I have to really go to the bathroom. I've also discovered a few different things I can pull up around my yard so every time I walk by them I pull. Yesterday while running errands I noticed a couple of other bars I could pull up on but haven't done that yet. It's funny because now I'm just noticing all sorts of 'pull-up' possibilities all over the place. LOL

  5. #5
    Conner P.'s Avatar
    Conner P. is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
    My advise is avoid machines at all costs. I have never seen results when it comes to the pull-up/chin-up action when I use machines. Use bands, negatives, and/or australians. And I would start with chin ups (palms facing you) to start off with as these are easier. I think the rule of thumb I saw was once you can do 5 chin ups, you should be able to do 1 pull up.

    Negatives, bands, and australians may be a bit embarrassing at a gym, but they will get you to where you need to be. I can vouch for that. I had to start with negatives about a month ago, now I can do about 4 consecutive chin ups on my first set.

  6. #6
    Dr. Bork Bork's Avatar
    Dr. Bork Bork is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2011
    Orem, UT
    I don't think I'm wimpy. I just think I have 0 pull up strength, LOL. I can do 50 lb pec flies, and 140 lb tricep dips, and just about 50 lb lateral bar. I have been practicing Australian Pullups whenever I take my kid to the park. I think it's helping. Mostly I can just hang on monkey bars. That's about as far as I get, but I'm starting to get an inkling of a pull.
    C'mon, ladies, we can do it!
    --Trish (Bork)

  7. #7
    arthurb999's Avatar
    arthurb999 is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2009
    RI, USA
    iron woody bands will help

  8. #8
    Sigi's Avatar
    Sigi is offline Senior Member
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    Oct 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Lmans77 View Post
    This has been in my mind for a long time..wanting to be able to do at least one unassisted pull up.


    Any suggestions? Any predicitions on how quickly I can progress on the pullups if I stick with it?
    Come join our challenge at this thread:
    It's not too late to sign up! And there's lots of great advice on how to progress.

  9. #9
    simodalcais's Avatar
    simodalcais is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
    Adelaide , Australia
    try not to focus on the exercise so much but think about the muscles it uses ....when I do pull ups I'm not thinking about getting my chest to the bar , I concentrate on getting my lats fully contracted ......and when I cant do any more positives , I do negative reps ....
    you will be doing them before you know it , just KNOW that you can , If you have doubt in yourself you wont ever achieve anything , I know you can do it , you should know it too !!

  10. #10
    erica057's Avatar
    erica057 is offline Senior Member
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    Speaking as a girl who can do unassisted pull ups, I can tell you that the assisted machine is completely useless in working your way up to a full one. I got there by doing rack chins (chin ups with your feet elevated on a chair) and inverted rows aka Australian pull ups.
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