When I started getting serious about doing a strict pull up last spring, I read a lot of different articles online about how to get your first pull up. One of the ones that I read more than once was by a woman who recommended hanging from the bar as a way to build grip strength. I can’t find it now, or I’d link to it. It was written by a dark haired woman and included pictures of her demonstrating the exercises she recommended. She especially recommended hanging from the bar by one hand.

And I tried hanging by the bar with one hand. And I couldn’t. Not even for a full second, not even for a half second. My hands didn’t have the strength to grip the bar together for more than a few seconds at first. Each one alone was hopeless.

But last weekend, for the first time in the new year, I tried hanging by a single hand.

I hung for 10 seconds from my right hand and 5 seconds from my left.

I haven’t gotten the strict pull up yet, but I’m getting over the bar without assistance. It’s the bottom half of the movement that’s my main problem right now. If I swing up half way, I can lever myself over the bar. I can pack my shoulders with a scapular pull up. But I can’t bridge between those two positions yet.

I’ve been working on doing my pull up workouts with a wider grip for the last couple weeks, because one of the cross fit coaches recommended a wider grip to engage my lats more. It seems to be a good tactic so far. I’ve also tried switching my segment and negative pull up method. I had been using a lifting rack, standing on the floor and lifting myself up for the segment before bending my knees to lower. Now, in order to keep good strict pull up form through the movement, I’m standing on a box to reach a high pull up bar and trying to keep my body in the hollow position through the whole motion. It’s making my abs more sore, which I’ll take as a good sign.

I’m signed up for the Cross Fit Open that starts on Thursday, and I can’t help but hope that I can make my first strict pull up before then.

Or at least before the Open ends five weeks later 🙂

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