Why (+ How) to Do Pull-Ups. Even If You Can’t Do One Today.

There are a small number of strength moves that work multiple muscle groups, can be done with the simplest of equipment (or none) almost anywhere, and can be varied in intensity based on where you currently are strength-wise.

Your workout time is scarce and you need to invest some of it in endurance, flexibility and balance. too. So these multi-benefit, do-anywhere, grow-with-you strength moves are key for the OlderBeast.

Pull-ups are one of these exercises, and they should be part of your routine, man. Even if you’re not sure the last time you did one. Or maybe, to be honest, you’re not sure you currently can do one. I’ve been there, too. Then you start trying them, then you start doing then, and you don’t ever have to go back to “not sure.”

So let’s discuss why pull-ups are so strongly recommended, and how to get started no matter where you currently are capability-wise for this challenging exercise.

by

There are a small number of strength moves that work multiple muscle groups, can be done with the simplest of equipment (or none) almost anywhere, and can be varied in intensity based on where you currently are strength-wise.

Your workout time is scarce and you need to invest some of it in endurance, flexibility and balance. too. So these multi-benefit, do-anywhere, grow-with-you strength moves are key for the OlderBeast.

Push-ups are one of these. OlderBeast articles have referenced push-ups pretty often, and created an OlderBeast 90-Day Push-up Challenge. (I don’t want to divert you from this article on pull-ups, but TODAY would be a good day for you to start the push-up challenge!).

Pull-ups should also be part of your routine, man. Even if you’re not sure the last time you did one. Or maybe, to be honest, you’re not sure you currently can do one. I’ve been there, too. Then you start trying them, then you start doing them, and you don’t ever have to go back to “not sure.”

So let’s discuss why they are so strongly recommended, and how to get started no matter where you currently are capability-wise for this challenging exercise.

WHY PULL-UPS?

Pull-ups are a much less common part of most guys’ regimens than push-ups, core work, squats and other “must do” strength basics.

Why? Well you need a bar. But it’s mainly because they’re pretty #$%^!@ hard, I think.

But who said it was going to be easy to get and stay in tip-top shape as the second half of life rolls by?

Pull-ups are a perfect complement to push-ups. Push-ups use every major pushing muscle in your upper body, including pecs, triceps and anterior deltoids (front-of-shoulder muscles). They’re great for core strength, too. Pull-ups use every major pulling muscle, including trapezius (upper center back), rhomboids (under shoulder blades), lats (lower/side back), rear deltoids, and biceps.

This is serious “functional” fitness. Need to climb over a fence or wall to get away from that Doberman? Or pull yourself back through the window into the building? OK, well you’re not a stunt man, so maybe these aren’t great examples.

But man in his natural, physical state had to climb things by pulling his own body weight up, and modern man may occasionally have to, as well. The muscles you work with pull-ups enable that. And if you do Cross-Fit, HITT or Boot Camp style workouts, pull-ups will be part of them. You can start practicing and building strength on your own, then hold your own when it comes time to do pull-ups in a group or class setting.

Also, pull-ups really help meet the “look my best” part of OlderBeast goals. They tone and grow arms and shoulders, and giving you that “V” upper body shape. To me, that’s not the main objective, but it’s a by-product I don’t object to, brother.

HOW TO GET STARTED

Here’s a colorful and motivating article about why all guys should be able to do at least five pull-ups. And here’s another one that helps you get started even if you currently can’t do a single pull-up.

So now I “can’t do pull-ups” is not an excuse to not do pull-ups, brother!

If you need a home pull-up bar, this one works well for me.

 

“And I feel like William Tell. Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet. Pulling mussels from a shell.” (Squeeze, Pulling Mussels – click to listen)

 

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

You may also like

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Strength

This At-Home, Full-Body Strength Routine Will Keep You Heroic Past 40 (and 50, 60…)

I’m always surprised at how focused the strength workouts are for guys doing traditional weight training as their main fitness thing. “What are you working on today? My left bicep.”

OK, I exaggerate. But old-school “lifting” does often focus on 1-2 things per workout (like chest, legs or back) while assuming you lift 4-5+ times per week.

But what if you’re a 40+ guy trying to balance strength, endurance and flexibility? (And not as fixated on getting Hulk-like as maybe you once were?). In that case, you aren’t well served by old-school strength training patterns.

Yeah, bootcamp-style classes address this need by working all-over strength in single sessions (strength-focused HITT does too). But at $10-20+ per session, each decade of training this way twice a week is a $10-20K+ proposition. I like attending such classes from time to time, for learning and for variety. But I’d rather spend my $10-20K per decade somewhere else, man.

So. With non-strength fitness/wellness needs rightly occupying part of your week, you need to work more body parts in fewer strength-focused days. And you need a long-term-sustainable strength routine you can do on your own, without driving and paying every time.

Put these needs together, brother…and you arrive at a key pillar of OlderBeasthood, regardless of whether you’re coming from a strength-focused, endurance-focused, or limited-fitness starting point. The full-body, at-home strength workout.

Here’s my take on a practical, adaptable routine you can do at home with relatively little equipment.

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Strength

Make Time for Strength: Embrace the “Mini Session”

Each OlderBeast fitness goal—endurance, strength, flexibility and balance—poses challenges to 40+ guys seeking lifelong fitness. How to get and stay inspired? Where to find precious time, and how to best use it?

One additional challenge exists between two goals: a battle for time and energy between “endurance” and “strength.” Most guys have an instinctive affinity for one…and so the other risks under-emphasis.

For guys who gravitate to endurance/cardio—or guys emphasizing it for weight management—here’s a practical way to also work on strength during your week: add 1-2 “mini strength sessions.”

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation , Strength

You’re Weak, Man (Where, and What to Do About It?)

My friendly challenge here: no matter how fit you think you are, you probably have one or more less-developed areas. Or if you’re just starting or re-starting on fitness, then please take this as a challenge to start off in a comprehensive way from the beginning.

Here are some common chinks in our armor. Let’s start addressing them and thus raise our Expected Thriving Factor for the future!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.