Lent Challenge Day 14 – Pull-Up Progression

It’s Day 14. 2 weeks in to the Challenge. Hopefully some of the exercise confusion is resolving itself now.
Last day before the hardcore RhomWODs start! Then you’ll see some exercise confusion as every day will be different, like in Crossfit.
Are you excited? To be honest, I was really looking forward to it for ages in fact, but now that it’s tomorrow, I’m feeling a little apprehensive. You only appreciate something when its gone, and it has suddenly struck me that doing nothing but lifting heavy and eating loads every day has become quite an enjoyable way of life, and the prospect of still lifting heavy, hammering cardio and eating nothing but mouse-sized portions of brown rice and sadness may come as something of a shock.
Still, that’s tomorrow, and today is today, so without further ado, let’s get into today’s fun and ganes:

First, The Puller Upperers. Today we are going to try something new. It’s still just hanging, rather than moving anywhere, but now we are hanging in the top position, rather than the bottom position.
You will need a chair to step off.
Grasp the bar at about shoulder width, and pull yourself up so the bar comes into your chest. Push your elbows down and keep your arms braced. Remember to engage your lats, driving your shoulderblades down, just like you did in the active hang.
Then hold yourself in that position.
If you feel yourself beginning to drop, either pull back up or step back down onto the chair.
This video demonstrates the move pretty much perfectly. Note you are doing a Pull-Up, not a Chin-Up, so use the overhand grip.

I am trying to decide whether the lady is wearing cowboy boots to perform her Pull-Ups. At the beginning of the clip it briefly looks that way. It is entirely up to you whether you wear cowboy boots or more traditional workout footwear, such as trainers, for this exercise, although I would suggest the latter option for the other exercises.
Be confident as you step up to this hold. Don’t jump wildly. Don’t panic. You are not going to fall off. The chair is right below you so you can just step back down at any time.
Hold it as long as you can comfortably. Don’t go to complete failure. Don’t go jelly arms.
Rest 30-60 seconds. Do it again. Twice more.
Then do a couple of Active Hangs in the bottom position.
Well done! you’re making progress!

While we are here, now is probably a good time for you to invest in a resistance band, if you do not already have one. These have myriad fitness uses but we are going to be using it to support our weight under the bar, to assist in the hang position and also the negative and full Pull-Ups until we have enough strength to do them unassisted. In terms of strength, I have the green one, which has happily supported my weight from 78 to 95kg. The purple one, which is the next one down, is the one most of the girls at Crossfit use. Bear in mind that the quoted resistance levels in the details would be total weight resistance – you are using it to assist you in holding yourself, not completely hanging all your weight off it.

And now, for something completely different… part 2 of the workout for the Puller Upperisers, or the Boot-Scootin’ Hangers-On, as they shall be known today, and Part 1, or the whole deal for the Earth-dwellers.

To warm ourselves up: 6 Burpees EMOM, 5 minutes.

To follow: 10 Hollow Rocks. I can’t quite remember if we have progressed from the Hollow Body hold to the Hollow Rock yet, but if we haven’t, then we’re about to now.
Basically, as the name suggests, the Hollow Rock is the Hollow Body Hold position, only you rock your hollow body back and forth while you hold the position. Bring first your shoulders, then your hips off the floor with each rock back and forth (but not both simultaneously).
I did look for a video of someone performing this move with unusual footwear,but alas could not find, however, this video of Julie Foucher demonstrating the Hollow Rock with perfect form will do very well indeed.

Looks easy, doesn’t it?
well, it is certainly simple. Do 3 sets of 10. They may become slightly less easy as you go along. Stay tight throughout the move.

And that’s all until tomorrow. Get plenty of rest and hydrate well (3 litres at a minimum, Ladies. 4 for you, Gentlemen.) Despite the fact that no-one has actually expressed an intention to jump into the firebreather routine tomorrow, I feel sure that entire chorts of you are waiting eagerly to do just that, only are too modest to mention it.
It’s going to be kinda epic.


  1. Julia Holman

    So I have been doing the pull up training for over a month now. I do my video every Friday on my progress. Today’s saw nothing and I feel very demoralised. To top it all I cannot even do what the cowgirl is doing in her vid. I just can’t hold that position. I feel I have a very very long way to go 🙁

  2. Irishprincess

    I’be been trying this for a couple of days now and I can’t do the pull-up. I feel as if I’ll hit my head on the ceiling when I use the bar at home. Maybe I’d have better leverage in the gym, but I doubt it. It’s VERY hard! I can do the chin-up. Any tips? Cowboy girl makes it look easy 💪

    1. Post
      Billy Rhomboid

      do the chinup for now then. It will be fine for learning the basics of the move. Once you can do full chinups with control and confidence you can work o changing grip. They do work somewhat different muscle groups but as long as you are able to do one or the other that is the important thing

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