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.
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)
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