The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: Chins ups?

  1. #1
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Chins ups?

    I tried to do a pull up for the first time in my life yesterday and was SO glad no one was watching me... It wasn't on an actual pull up bar, just on this rail that was about 7.5 - 8 ft high, just low enough for me to get my hands around.

    I would like to set a short term goal of being able to do a pull up. Yes a pull up. Just one. I'd be ecstatic. We'll add more later, I just want to be able to get my fat ass up ONCE. I should mention that I weigh around 315 lbs at last weigh, which was a while back and I've been dieting and exercising for over a month now. But I don't own a scale, yet, so I don't know if that's changed.

    Anyway, here're my questions:

    First, I was thinking of getting either a power tower type thing or one of those doorway pull up bars. I'm not sure about the weight limits on all of them, but I've seen like 220-250 lbs limits. Are there any heavyweights out there that have used these things with or without issues? I like the power tower thing because I can do dips and stuff as well, and also it's set up so you can use your legs to assist, which I would surely need at first. But I think my weight may be an issue.

    Second: If I go with the thing that you stick in the doorway, especially at my weight, has anyone noticed any damage to their wall, trim, etc...? I live in a rental, so I'm kind of afraid of that. But I like how you can save space with these, plus use them for push ups (my wrists hurt from these a lot) or situps.

    Third: Is there any point in me even trying with pull ups or should I just continue to focus on lifting weights until I've built up enough to do them unassisted? The only way I'm getting up there is with my feet on something. If I try to pull my bulk up, I think I'd tear something pretty bad.

    So I guess the big issue is: should I wait until I'm closer to my target weight of 220 lbs before I even think about pull ups?

    I guess it's not a big deal, it just pissed me off yesterday when I tried to do one and couldn't even get half way up. I mean... jeez... what if I'm clinging for dear life one day on the side of a mountain like in the movies? I'm freaking dead. That's a scary thought. Pull ups could literally save my life one day. I've seen "Cliff Hanger." If Rocky couldn't do a pull up, that movie would have sucked... moreso....

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Jay1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebelDogg View Post
    I tried to do a pull up for the first time in my life yesterday and was SO glad no one was watching me... It wasn't on an actual pull up bar, just on this rail that was about 7.5 - 8 ft high, just low enough for me to get my hands around.

    I would like to set a short term goal of being able to do a pull up. Yes a pull up. Just one. I'd be ecstatic. We'll add more later, I just want to be able to get my fat ass up ONCE. I should mention that I weigh around 315 lbs at last weigh, which was a while back and I've been dieting and exercising for over a month now. But I don't own a scale, yet, so I don't know if that's changed.

    Anyway, here're my questions:

    First, I was thinking of getting either a power tower type thing or one of those doorway pull up bars. I'm not sure about the weight limits on all of them, but I've seen like 220-250 lbs limits. Are there any heavyweights out there that have used these things with or without issues? I like the power tower thing because I can do dips and stuff as well, and also it's set up so you can use your legs to assist, which I would surely need at first. But I think my weight may be an issue.

    Second: If I go with the thing that you stick in the doorway, especially at my weight, has anyone noticed any damage to their wall, trim, etc...? I live in a rental, so I'm kind of afraid of that. But I like how you can save space with these, plus use them for push ups (my wrists hurt from these a lot) or situps.

    Third: Is there any point in me even trying with pull ups or should I just continue to focus on lifting weights until I've built up enough to do them unassisted? The only way I'm getting up there is with my feet on something. If I try to pull my bulk up, I think I'd tear something pretty bad.

    So I guess the big issue is: should I wait until I'm closer to my target weight of 220 lbs before I even think about pull ups?

    I guess it's not a big deal, it just pissed me off yesterday when I tried to do one and couldn't even get half way up. I mean... jeez... what if I'm clinging for dear life one day on the side of a mountain like in the movies? I'm freaking dead. That's a scary thought. Pull ups could literally save my life one day. I've seen "Cliff Hanger." If Rocky couldn't do a pull up, that movie would have sucked... moreso....
    I'm thinking there probably aren't too many doorway models that will hold your weight. It would also be tough for anyone of your size to do very many pull ups without assistance.

    I'm 290 now and don't worry about pull ups anymore. If I were you I'd not worry about them until you're closer to your target weight. In the mean time work on other back exercises such as rowing variations and lat pulls and strengthen the biceps with curls, but also hammer and reverse curls.

  4. #3
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jay1.

    I was thinking that. I had a line on a really cheap weider power tower (200 I think, maybe 290...) someone was selling for like $30. I was gonna jump on it, but was unsure of whether I'd even be able to use it. It's sold now, though... But it just got me thinking about it and I was considering buying one new from Sports Authority.

    I find that from week to week I'm outgrowing my weights much faster than I thought I would. Just got a bunch of new plates (well, new old unmatching plates) from a guy on craigslist. But I was just looking for something that would really challenge me without having to spend a lot of money. I figure I've got enough body weight to work the hell out of myself.

    I like the lat pulldowns, but they were getting too easy. Now that I have some more weights I can put the hurt on myself again. Got a barbell, too, so I'm gonna give those rows a try this afternoon.

    But I'm not giving up on the pull up thing. Hell, just over a month ago I couldn't get 5 proper push ups in a row, either. Up to 20 now. Just gotta get my weight down.

    Also: hammer curls are pretty much my favorite thing to do. I go from hammer curl into and Arnold press for 10 reps, 4 sets. Only using 40lbs dumbbells now, but I think I can start with 50's soon. Never tried reverse curls... I'm gonna do that today.
    Last edited by RebelDogg; 06-05-2010 at 10:50 AM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Losing weight will help your pull-ups immensely.

    Pull-downs, assisted pull-ups (w. bands, partner assisted, etc.), negatives, "fat man/horizontal pull-ups" (pull-ups lying on your back and rowing yourself up), rows, pull-overs, curl variants, etc. are all pretty good assistance work for pull-ups.

    Unless you don't care about your doorways, I'd use a real pull-up bar at a gym if at all possible. If not, there might be other options if you have secure ceiling beams, etc.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  6. #5
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    + 1 on everything Sensei said.

    Don't give up on pull ups just because of your weight. No excuses
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  7. #6
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
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    pull ups are amazingly functional. I weigh 270 and I can grind out about 4 pulls up on a good day, but I hope to get it up into the double digits. I have never found a single exercise that truly translated to pull ups, except for maybe deadlifts and squats. I remember doing body weight pull downs on at machine at the gym and I couldn't even get 1 pull up. If you want you can always go buy some 1 or 2 inch iron pipe from a hardware store and make your own pull up and dip station that you could sit on some ply wood to not ruin your floor. I couldn't see it costing more than 50 bucks.
    Last edited by dynamo; 06-05-2010 at 12:12 PM.
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  8. #7
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    I have had a lot of problems myself with Wide grips.

    It took me about a year to be able to do neutral grip and chin ups (palms in) and I was happy when I finally was able to. I did a lot of machine work - pull downs, nautilus plate loaded pull downs and rows, etc to build up to that point. Keep working at it. Try for chins and neutral s first. I am 200lbs right now, When I was lighter it was much easier so weight has a big factor also.

  9. #8
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    rebelDogg,
    i know your struggle man. I'm about the same weight as you and I been stuggling with my pull/chins-ups for years now.
    i alternate all sorts of training on pull-ups, like month of doing negatives only, band assisted, fatman pull-ups, then go back to straight reg pull-ups for a while.
    now I've progressed 5-6 reps for sets. Mind you these are kinda of pull-ups you see the heavy powerlifters doing like Kroc or KK, in other words the chin aint really getting over the bar. But that's good for now.
    I'd say don't wait till you get to a certain point in your conditioning to start doing pull-ups, do them now any way , several times a week. I know you'll be just mostly hanging from the bar barely able to pull yourself up an inch, but keep at it, and it will improve.

    I take encouragement from seeing other big dudes able to do pull-ups. Check out Dan Harrison at 350lbs BW
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq4zsgJg0Gw

  10. #9
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think I'm more pumped than ever to tackle this thing. May take Dynamo's suggestion and build my own power tower. Was already considering making my own rack thing for a barbell, since I don't have a proper bench. Just a dumbbell bench. Plus it'd make changing the weights a little easier. Anyway, yeah I think I'll do that next weekend if I can find the time.

    Oh, just an update because I'm happy: Bought a scale today when I was making groceries. I'm down to 272 and didn't even know it... thought I still had to be at least 290-300. Was just under 315 only a few months ago at my physical. I'm celebrating by eating this entire large pizza. J/K.

  11. #10
    Senior Member bojackson's Avatar
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    rebel,
    dont waster your money. i would almost bet there is a park within shouting distance of where you live that has some sort of jungle-gym/pull up bars on the playgound......ive used stuff like that for years if i cant get to a gym.
    I am not "the" Bo Jackson, i just stole his name.....
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  12. #11
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bojackson View Post
    rebel,
    dont waster your money. i would almost bet there is a park within shouting distance of where you live that has some sort of jungle-gym/pull up bars on the playgound......ive used stuff like that for years if i cant get to a gym.
    Oh, there is. I actually walking distance from a really nice park. There are two separate little workout areas there with a bunch of things like a stair stepper, an upright press, stretching things, dip things, pull up things, about 700 children and 12 old fat dudes.

    I actually have this thing about being around too many people. Plus I don't like working out around anybody. This is why instead of joining a gym right now I'm just buying stuff as I can. There's just something in me that wants to keep my working out (and failing) private. At least until I'm a little more proud of what I've accomplished. Then I'm gonna rub everyone's face in it.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebelDogg View Post
    I actually have this thing about being around too many people. Plus I don't like working out around anybody. This is why instead of joining a gym right now I'm just buying stuff as I can. There's just something in me that wants to keep my working out (and failing) private. At least until I'm a little more proud of what I've accomplished. Then I'm gonna rub everyone's face in it.
    Hey man, take pride in the journey. You are taking steps many men in America and worldwide should take, but instead make excuses. Take pride in the fact that you are making a good choice and a change for life and crank out those reps in the park!

  14. #13
    Guerrilla Journalist Steve Colescott's Avatar
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    I know what its like to have it in your head to do a particular lift. I was the same way wanting to see myself press a big weight overhead in a standing military (it just looks powerful to me and it was something my build was not ideally geared for). Do your workout and tack on the chins as a side event. I think a strong band might be a good thing to use since you want to train solo. Depending on what you use and how you loop it, that should give you a good 40-60 pound "boost" (maybe someone on here can give us some exact figures?). I like the concept with chins and dips of choosing a total rep number (say twenty reps) and doing them in however many sets it takes. You may (with boost of the band) only get three the first set and then do a buncvh of doubles and single until you hit twenty. Eventually you may get repe of 5,4,4,3,2,2; then 6,5,5,4; and eventually get them all in two sets and then one set. By that point you will be ready to do them with a lighter band or maybe even without assist.

    As your bodyfat levels drop, you may even find yourself added resistance. At times it may seem like progress is slow but if you step back and look at a year's worth of incremental improvement, its an amazing thing. Good luck!

  15. #14
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    Great posts from everyone.

    Rebel, 12 months ago I could not do ONE pull up and weighed 215 @ 25+% bodyfat.

    12 months forward and my personal record is 12.

    The two key things that helped me is being lighter and consistently working on them.

    I now weigh 172 and let me tell you it makes a huge difference to have to chin 45lbs less bodyweight. I could probably only do 1 or maybe 2 reps with 45lbs hanging off me lol

    Secondly, I worked goddamn hard at it for 12 months. I went through every type of resistance band, starting with a big ole thick grey one where I was grinding out 6-8, but eventually I was able to do 12 and we dropped the band to less resistance and kept doing it until I was able to do 6 or so bodyweight and then worked up from there.

    Get yourself a couple of banes and do assisted chins ups and keep your form GOOD. If you cheat at the chin ups, you'll just kid yourself.. As with every exercise, good form and patience is the key.

    Your number one thing is going to be getting your weight down...

    If you did want to focus on chins specifically, this is a great article - http://www.wannabebig.com/training/b...a-bigger-back/
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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Clough View Post
    If you did want to focus on chins specifically, this is a great article - http://www.wannabebig.com/training/b...a-bigger-back/
    That is a great article. It helped me double my reps on Chin Ups.
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  17. #16
    Senior Member Ruff Riff's Avatar
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    When I was BB I really don't think anything gave my back width like wide grip chins, thickness seems to come from dead lifting (at least that is what seemed to be the case for me), When I was in college (175 - 180 lbs) I was a pole vaulter so my strength hanging from my hands was SUPER important and totally functional to my event. I could do about 40 good chin ups. Now when I fell in love with BB I was about 240 ish and wanted to jump on the bar and rack of 20! No problem right???? WRONG I could do about 6 quality chins and that was it! I will tell you that everything posted by Daniel is TRUE! Bands are a great way to get you to your goal! Take your time and you can do it, I am about 265 now and can hang a 28KG kettle from my belt and get out 8 to 10 solid pull ups. Not bragging (well yeah I am cause it took time and a lot of effort to be able to do this). Loosing body weight will help but with enough work you can probably get one in at your current weight. The truth is if you really work at doing one regualrly you will loose weight anyways while getting stronger in all the right places to assist with your quiest for the chin up!

    I love to be "bigger" and still be able to do some solid chins,

    I don't care what a man wants to do or for what reason they are all noble causes in my book,

    Good luck brother, I bet you in a few months you will be doing more than one!

  18. #17
    Father of Three Bosch232's Avatar
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    All I can add is: Keep at it. Back in January, I could do a pathetic 7. Now, 5 1/2 months later, I can do that same amount - Plus 45 lbs. Keep at it.
    "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis

  19. #18
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    From personal experience, I will tell you that..... (I was there once and know how it feels)

    1. Keep it in your head, "I WILL DO PULL UPS NO MATTER WHAT", while losing the weight.
    2. Continue building your back, lats, biceps, traps, and shoulders, they will be the main things to help with your pull ups. I know many people that have injured or "pulled" something on their backs (Upper) while doing pull ups, even the thin dudes, just because they are not careful and are not build or trained on said areas. USE THE ASSISTED MACHINE thing.
    3. YOU WILL MAKE IT, KEEP IT IN YOUR HEAD.
    4. Don't mean to be an assss but work on your weight first and then pulls ups will be a thing of the past.


    I used to weight 195, at 5'6, that was pretty bad for me. I could only do 1 pull up I started my died and in three months I went all the way to 171lbs and oh boy, pulls ups, chin ups, all were a thing of the past. I can easily do sets of 15 now. For biceps I do weighted ones because body weight is just not enough right now. YOU CAN DO IT MAN! I HAVE BEEN THERE!! I KNOW IT!!!

    Use the hanging technique, where you just hang, don't pull, and do it again. little by little!! I say lose some weight first because you don't want to injure the shoulder or something. I also did have shoulder pain at first when I tried at 195 lbs. Keep working on them in all areas and i guarantee you that with strict EVERYTHING, you will be there in 3 MONTHS!!!!

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  20. #19
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great responses. I'm actually looking at the moment at buying a power cage on Amazon which has a chin up bar on it. Gonna have a crowded up living room... but I think this thing will be great as it will allow me to do bench presses without need for a spotter as well as BB squats. But having the chin up bar right there in the house will be a great way to keep at it. Solves my problem with thinking about the doorway models and power towers. As far as the bands, I will surely be looking into that. I have a whole bunch of resistance tubes, I assume it'll work pretty much the same. But I'll be looking into the bands. Hope to get this cage within the next month or two tops.

    Thanks again for all the support!

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