Thursday, October 25, 2012


Strong People With Short Arms

"We honestly thought we could get everyone to do one."
—But they could not. Why Women Can't Do Pull Ups. The ancient truth revealed.

142 Comments / Post A Comment


HaHAAA! Oh, the gym class memories. I used to just hang there uselessly like a salami strung up to dry.


@werewolfbarmitzvah "Mrs Pommelhorse? I'd like to get down now."


@TheLetterL I always thought it was Mrs Pummelwurst but htat makes so much more sense!


@werewolfbarmitzvah When I was in school during Clovis's reign, girls only had to do bar hang. Did they change the physical fitness requirements at some point?

apples and oranges

"We’re a combination of levers; that’s how we move"

Yeah I'm not gonna go to the gym today. My levers are out of order.
I think my shoulder level needs oiling; it's been pretty sore.

Ragged But Right

@kangerine I read that as 'We're a combination of levellers' at first, which frankly I liked considerably more.

Barry Grant


This is why bending elbows is crucial to good health.


This actually makes me feel better about my persistent inability to do a pull-up. Hey, was anyone else too tall to use the monkey bars too? I used to just crawl across the top of them like an extremely slow commando.


@area@twitter I was too tall in first grade. I had five more years of that already-grown-out-of-playground


@area@twitter Never too tall, but always too lacking in uper-body strength.


@Verity Yeah, there was a lot of that in there too.


@area@twitter I was an absolute fiend at the monkey bars when I was a kid. Almost killed myself the other day when I attempted it in a burst of nostalgia.

fondue with cheddar

@Verity I've always been pretty short, and when I was a kid I had very little body fat. But even then I couldn't do them. But I don't remember having to do the pull-ups; we did the flexed-arm hang (which I still could not do).


@area@twitter I got too tall for the bars at the gymnastics studio I belonged to as a kid by age 10. The instructor told my mom there was no point in me staying in the classes because 70% of the work was on the bars.

And yet, despite being Too Tall To Be Allowed To Have Fun With My Friends, I can do about 20 chin-ups and maybe 3-5 pull-ups in a row. (Not fun, necessarily, but good bragging rights.)


Isn't it sad when you turn the age when your strength to body weight ratio flips and you are suddenly totally unable to do the monkey bars? I remember this happening.


@fondue with cheddar I don't think we ever did pull-ups or similar things in PE (or rope-climbing - US/UK difference? Or just the schools I went to?), but I doubt I'd have been able to, based on my money-bar performance. I have always been short, with shortish arms, but clearly that wasn't enough to overcome the lack of upper-body strength/large proportion of body fat.

fondue with cheddar

@Verity Yeah, it's called the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, and we all had to do it. There were a lot of different things you had to do. I remember the running and sit-ups too, but I don't remember the rest. I guess I blocked it out because it was always so humiliating. I think they might have taken our height and weight as part of it also, and maybe measured our body fat with calipers? That might have been for something else.


@fondue with cheddar At the start of each year in secondary school (or it felt like that, anyway), we did the Bleep Test - a bleep sounds and you have to walk from the starting line to the finishing line before the next one does. The bleeps get closer and closer together, so you go from a walk to a jog to a sprint. That was bad enough.

fondue with cheddar

@Verity That sounds...stressful.


@Verity The Pacer! That's what we called it. It was in high school, and you didn't get an A or a B in gym class unless you could do so many, and then that grade went into your actual GPA for college and everything! Fun!

fondue with cheddar

@simalie Woah, that's terrible! We got graded on effort but not ability. I was terrible at 99% of the things we did in gym class, but I think I always got an A.


@simalie I am so grateful we don't have the GPA system here. Not getting into university because I couldn't run fast enough would have been infuriating.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I'm having flashbacks to every year in gym class - "Next year I'll be able to do a pull-up! NEXT YEAR!"

Nope. Still can't. Never will, I'm guessing.




@anachronistique I can't do pullups because I DON'T WANT TO. FUCK THAT SHIT

Nicole Cliffe

This is so reassuring to me, because I have been working on this shit for monthhhhhs and still need to kip/get an embarrassing ass-boost from the person I work out with.

Nicole Cliffe


Wait, I had something for this

@Nicole Cliffe This article is totally reassuring. I'll just comment that proportional to my weight, I leg-press a HELL OF A LOT MORE than my rather fit boyfriend. Why are so many fitness tests based on having a lot of upper body strength? Pullups, pushups, the abominable rope climb...


@Nicole Cliffe
I guess that's our conciliation prize. I've never been a worker-outer, but have always been able to throw the pin to the very bottom of a leg press and just throw down.


@Nicole Cliffe
And using the assisted pull-up machines is actually pretty fun.

Wait, I had something for this

@NeverOddOrEven Props for the leg press. :) I totally go sit on one of those when I need a little self esteem boost after sucking at... every single arm-related exercise


@Nicole Cliffe I feel like it is SLIGHTLY reassuring, but more demoralizing. Like, that's been a goal of mine for a while, and now it feels like, "Yeah, hahahaha, you can't do that. you should probably give up on that." Which, first, like, fuck you, SCIENTISTS! I'll show YOU! but then, also, it is like, really freaking hard.


@katiew Because patriarchy?


@NeverOddOrEven Agreed! I LOVE those machines that take a bit of my body weight so I can be a superstar at working the rest of it.


@katiew I can't google right now, but I read once that a lot of the standard elementary school fitness stuff had its origins in military requirements. The one example I specifically recall was the flexed arm hang, which was conceived to ensure that a soldier could hang on to the window ledge of a burning building long enough for help to arrive. It was fascinating because most of the requirements were all about survival in specific situations--not about fitness.


@Nicole Cliffe Took me a year to be able to do ONE. ONE. I actually wanted to be able to do this because I thought being able to lift my own body weight would be useful if I needed to escape from something. Much like when I run, I think about how I'm training to flee from a criminal. I might watch too much Law & Order?


@katiew Oh, there is a causative relationship between my relatively massive lower body strength (and, therefore big heavy thighs)and my struggle with pull ups. Ok everyone, way to go hauling yourself up to that bar, but ARE YOU HAULING THIS ASS UP THE BAR? No.

I'm ok with it! At least in part because my vanity says "RNL, if your upper body is strong enough to lift your lower body up to that bar a bunch of times, it will be very very big, and it would be nice to continue to be able wear women's clothes with sleeves, no?"


@katiew :
Little known fact: Rope climbs are all about your legs and abs. I learned this from taking silks at my circus studio--you wrap the rope around your shin, and step on it AS you reach one hand above the other. Pull your knees up to your chest (or as close as you can!), rewrap, and repeat.

Seriously, legs and abs. Yeah, it will wear the fuck outta your arms, but you'll be able to climb the damn thing.


Short People Got No Reason To Live, But At Least They Can Do Pull-Ups.



It is my one and only skill, though, so it's a rather hollow victory.


@Emby Still, VICTORY!

Beatrix Kiddo

@Emby ME TOO! I can only do 3 or 4 now, but seriously, article, speak for yourself.

This is my new username

@Beatrix Kiddo Me too! I can only do 2, but still! I feel so strong!


@Emby I remember one year (middle school?) During the fitness test, the gym teacher stopped me after my third pull up, appalled at my enthusiasm, and told me that was quite enough. I never did a pull up again. I think it had to do with my tree climbing, you can only climb the best trees if you can do at least a partial pull up.

this makes me want to try again.


Does this also apply to rope climbing? I haaaaaaaated rope climbing! Gym class is so weird, one day rope climbing, the next you learn how to square dance.


@rallisaurus I could never ever ever do the rope climb. I so wanted to- it looked so fun- but failed every single time.

And do they still teach square dancing? I hope so. Every child should be forced to do-si-do.


@rallisaurus Yup, and both are equally as relevant to my life right now.


@rallisaurus The goddamned rope! God, that was humiliating.


@Kirs Ohhhhh noooo, you're dredging up the very worst of my middle school memories. Fuck square dancing. Seriously. In my (public) school only the girls did square dancing while the boys got to play basketball. Then girls had to do gymnastics (yes let's have 30 middle school girls use legit gymnastics equipment with zero training. If you need to ask whether anyone got hurt, the answer is yes, at minimum I sprained my ankle doing vault) whereas the boys got to play indoor soccer. The gymnastics unit culminated in having to "perform a routine" in front of the whole co-ed gym class--why not bring in the boys just to max out the humiliation. I actually feel slightly vomity just thinking about it.

I'm pretty much convinced my middle school gym teachers were gender essentialist Sadists. This is partially due to the fact that another time I injured myself in class--breaking my ankle this time--they made me walk all the way from the farthest fields into the school office completely unassisted, telling me I was faking it.)


@WhiskeySour Oof, that sucks. Our middle school gym classes were co-ed, and in addition to lacrosse, tennis, floor hockey, etc, we got to do step aerobics and Tae-Bo. Yes, with the Billy Blanks video. It was great.


@WhiskeySour In my public school the boys did square dancing and gymnastics with the girls. And yes, with the scary legit gymnastics equipment. I was rather fond of attempting to use the uneven bars. The balance beam scared the shit out of me.

My favorite gym days were when we got to play with the giant parachute. Did anyone else do that?


@Kirs Yessss! The parachute was awesome! Also my gym teacher in elementary made up a game with a giant (like bigger than us) beach ball and trash cans. It was weird.

And I never understood why we were expected to master the balance beam in gym class. I was lucky if I could do a cartwheel on solid ground. But I was quite pleased when I almost nearly learned how to double dutch when we did our unit on jump rope. I think winter is hard on gym teachers.


@Kirs - There should really be a square-dancing 'pin-up.


@rallisaurus Pretty sure I cried trying to do the ropes. But I seriously had no muscles at all in 9th grade. I don't think we ever had to do a pull up, but at least I know that would hav ebeen doomed from the start (tall).
Needless to say I never took gym class again because I didn't have to.

fondue with cheddar

"Stop looking up my shorts!"
"Why would we? There's nothing to see."
"There IS something to see!"

lavender gooms

@WhiskeySour I was just reminscing the other day about being on the gymnastics team in junior high... and how a bunch of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders put all the equipment out before our coach arrived each day.

I used to use uneven bars set up by 11-14 year olds, including myself. Madness.


@WhiskeySour Whyyyyyyyyyy? Why did you remind me of the gymnastics unit and my routine??? D-: Since at my school, we could schedule a private, uh, demonstration with just the teacher, it shouldn't have been as traumatizing as it was.


This is kind of surprising to me, too. Then again, I'm short and was a gymnast for a long time, so...I guess the early training helped me build the upper body strength? Uneven parallel bars were always my favorite, and you have to do a lot more than get just your chin above the bar, so I trained pretty hard on that.

RK Fire

@minijen: I think it is absolutely because you were a gymnast. You guys can do things most of us normal humans can rarely do.

Sometimes at the gym I wish I could go back in time and get some gymnastics training. Yhen I remember that I'm afraid of heights.


@RK Fire - Every morning when I hobble with achy feet, ankles, hips and back to get some Advil, I remember that everything has a price:)

RK Fire

@minijen: Noooooooo... but my dreams of time travel..!

Seriously though, I lift at a crossfit gym. During one of the previous Crossfit Open when some absurd gymnastics-based workout was announced, one of our coaches was like, "Okay guys, here's the strategy*. Step 1: time travel. Step 2: learn gymnastics for 10 years. Step 3: come back and do the workout."

I stick to weightlifting though. Yeah, I can deadlift 220 and put over 100 lbs over my head, but I haven't done an unassisted pull up yet.. ::whistles::

*usually a little strategy can help with completing a workout, whether it's pacing or otherwise.


@minijen Based on this, gymnasts sound like the ideal pullup performers.

Beatrix Kiddo

@minijen That's definitely it. I took gymnastics class as a child (never competitively, just for fun), but twenty years later, I still have freakishly strong arms.

Jillsy Sloper

@RK Fire Damn! My deadlift's only at 190, but I had myself convinced I could train for a pull-up in a few months if I were motivated. They're a big part of Starting Strength, and Rippetoe doesn't say anything about modifying that part for women.

Do you do negatives? I heard that's the best way to train for a pull-up. I would do them, but I can't reach the pull-up bars at my gym (they're at the top of the 10 foot high power racks, and dragging the biggest plyo box over so I can hop up and do my negatives is too embarrassing). And my doorways at home are too weird for an Iron Gym or whatever. My plan is to start training pull-ups when I get my home gym in the Spring.

RK Fire

@Jillsy Sloper: I was doing negatives for awhile! They are helpful. My problem has been of laziness: after doing a full lifting session, the last thing I want to do is do 15 pull ups. I just want to get the fuck out and go home.

Also, the first few times I do negatives after months of not doing them general results in lat soreness city. :(


I have long limbs! I was clearly not made to succeed at the Presidential Fitness Test.

But this does still not explain how the ever-popular Stephanie and Whitney and Andrea could always do them in gym class and make the rest of us look bad.

lavender gooms

@SarahP The sit and reach was always a trial for me- to this day my hamstrings are basically just iron rebar. I used to just make a huge lunge for it... surprised I never ripped my hip muscles or messed up a knee doing it.


@lavender gooms Oh God, the sit'n'reach was the bane of my existence. I was tall, inflexible, and it didn't help that we never stretched in gym class. I think I actually cried once.


@nowwhat Yeah, same. Between my inability to do pullups, and my gangly over-tall complete and total lack of flexibility in the sit-and-reach, I think I was actually taking pride in how *low* my percentile was after a certain point.

RK Fire

Pull up negatives! Pull up negatives! AHHH why didn't they have them focus on doing pull up negatives or banded pull-ups!

[I haven't been able to do an unassisted pull up yet, but I know it's because I don't practice on a consistent basis.]


I have a pretty amazing long arms/short legs combo, which means I kicked ass at sit and reach. Why couldn't they have Varsity Sit and Reach?

Pocket Witch

I think I can do a pull-up. Possibly. I don't know, because I avoid gymnasiums and weight rooms like I will spontaneously contract the Black Death, smallpox, and Spiders in the Mailbox syndrome should I step inside.
I also lack upper body strength. I'm like a 98-pound weakling, except for the pounds of padding which don't contribute to strength anyway.

Oh, squiggles

So I have no hope of doing a pull up, but what about the chin ups? The pull up always felt like the wrong position, with the overhand grip.


I never tried pull-ups, but when I was taking pole fitness classes was the only time in my whole life that I could do chin-ups. I'd rock out 5-7 of them and feel like the BIGGEST BADASS.


I guess in an apocalypse situation things will all even out. My short little legs are useless for outrunning anything, but I will climb over buildings like a boss.

Now Im wondering if I could do a pullup. I haven't tried in a long time, but my upper body strength is really good and I'm really short. If only they put the pull up bar at the gym lower on the wall. Ironically it is currently too high up for me to reach without a step up or other assistance.

Das Rad

But Vanderburgh notes that some men struggle, too, particularly those who are taller or bigger generally or have long arms.

They needed a study for all this? I could have told you this in middle school when we all had to the Presidential Fitness Test and the short kids could rock 15 pullups no problem while the lanky kids (like myself) struggled to get 2. No one was lifting weights at that age, so the conclusion seems sort of obvious.

This information would not have made gym class any less traumatizing for me, I might add.


My weight-lifting biologist lady friend told me that once puberty hits, it's much harder for women to develop as much upper-body strength as men relative to their body weights. Pre-puberty, upper-body muscle mass to total body mass ratio is pretty much even between boys and girls, so in elementary school it's possible for girls to do as many pull-ups as boys. Sure, there are weaker kids (like me) and stronger kids, but it doesn't correlate strongly with sex.

Post-puberty, everyone gains body mass, but guys gain proportionally more upper-body muscle. So it's easier for guys to lift their whole body mass with only the muscles in their upper body. Even when women train really seriously, the differences in hormones mean that we will, in general, just not put on as much upper-body muscle as guys. So being able to do even one pull-up is genuinely a huge success -- it means you've succeeded in building a ton of upper-body muscle and strength.

She's been lifting for years and is probably the most built person I know, and she can still only do one pull-up. So I really don't feel bad about not being able to do any.

In other news -- the Presidential Fitness Test always drove me crazy in gym class, because we never trained or prepared for it in any way. We'd play basketball all year, and then one day it was "Do pull-ups and sit-ups and push-ups! And see how far you can stretch forward sitting with your feet against this stupid box!" I'd always suck at everything, and get laughed at, and feel bad about myself. And nobody bothered to explain that there are ways to get better at these things. Physical education: not a lot of actual education involved at my schools.


@snowmentality The puberty thing makes sense to me. In elementary school, I remember doing, like, 12 pull-ups during the fitness test, and I could climb the rope all day long if I wanted to. Now, despite actually working on my upper body? Maybe half a pull-up, and no rope climbing to save my life.


@snowmentality yes. finally in grade 9 I had a teacher who taught us to shoot a basket for like 5 mins. But in English class would we have been graded on our essay ability if we had only received 5 mins of instruction? Unlikely.


@snowmentality This may have been the biggest thing that changed for me with puberty. I was top of the class at pull-ups in elementary school (I couldn't run a quarter mile without stopping to walk, but I could do 11 pull-ups!). Now, despite the fact that I have a LOT of upper body strength I still can't do any pull-ups. I think if I regularly lifted weights somewhere with a pull-up bar so I could do reverse or assisted I might be able to get up to a couple, but the relationship between my pull-up strength and my every-other-exercise strength changed after puberty. Which seems weird because I don't have big boobs or hips and I'm not tall, but at some point something changed really drastically.


@snowmentality Yep, I remember being in karate class in Grade 2 and racing one of the teenage boys to do 20 chin-ups in the shortest time. Now I can't do a single one.


@snowmentality I also like to remember that women's weight is concentrated in their hips and men's is in their shoulders - ie we have different centres of gravity (generally, there are exceptions of course). this is why I also refuse to do regular pushups - knee pushups are fine for a person with a low centre of gravity, thanks!


I'm short, cannot do a pull-up, and cannot run. Nobody be on my team during the zombies.

Baby Fish Mouth

@TheLetterL Oh God, I am so screwed when the zombies come. A friend of mine told me she wanted me with her and her husband when the zombies came, the trade off being that they own a gun and me and my husband have more "meat" on us if they have to become cannibals. Uhh, thank you?


@Wiscowhitney Can't tell if I'm afraid of your friend or not, but at least she's thinking ahead?

Baby Fish Mouth

@TheLetterL I'm still sorting that out myself.


@TheLetterL Can you dig a hole to hide in? Join me in my modified tiger pit!


@KatPruska I like the way you think. Please reserve a spot for me.


@TheLetterL I think you need to rephrase that to "Can't tell if she's your friend or not..."

Man, that friend sounds like a drag, @Wiscowhitney.

Fat Apollo

"We honestly thought we could get everyone to do one."

This really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm sure it isn't what they meant, but to me it sounded like they thought that women just weren't trying hard enough or were doing it wrong the whole time and that's why they, historically, have not been able to do as many pull ups as men.


@Fat Apollo Interesting. I can see how it sounds like that. Honestly, before I started weightlifting, it never even occurred to me to try doing a pull-up. Many women, even very fit ones, never incorporate strength training into their routine at all (except maybe 10-lb weights in a Body Pump class, which is really more cardio than anything). So to my mind that statement was less "you're doing it wrong" and more "we think you can do it if you train for it."


@cuminafterall (whoops-- deleted the last part of my comment!)

And now we know that's not true, which is advancing science! Biomechanics have a lot more to do with it than we thought. Which is fine, because being able to do a pull-up is not an inherent virtue.


@cuminafterall But what if I want it to be an inherent virtue? Don't take away my one thing!


@Fat Apollo Huh, that's totally not what I thought of that statement! I definitely read it as: "We DIDN'T think their gender would make a difference if they trained properly!"


So four out of 17 women can learn to do pull-ups after only three months of training.

= why "Women Can't Do Pull-ups."

thanks, NYT, and what I mean by that is fuck you.


that article is nonsense. it's a skill, like any, you practice it and eventually you can do it. keep practicing and later on you can do it well or more often. i have legs like tree trunks and matching booty...well over 150lbs, but i can still do 2 or 3 unaided, and a whole bunch more with the rubber band thing from the bar to my foot. took some time though.


@zdravo I totally agree with you. I used to be a person who couldn't do a single pull-up to save my life until this past spring I started doing this fitness course with my boyfriend that had a pull-ups station. I whined every day for the first week and declared I couldn't do them and would never be able to. But after the second week my muscles got the hang of it and I did 1, then 2, then 4, and at one point got up to TWELVE. I DID TWELVE! I felt like such a beast!

And it really was just like any other exercise on the course (push-ups, sit-ups, etc.), and I just built up the number I could do over time. I am not muscular at all and I do no other exercise. I never got up to as many as my boyfriend, which could be attributed to the body difference issues mentioned in the article, but to say women are flatly incapable of doing ANY pull-ups is really annoying and untrue.


@meryls That is awesome! Good job. I want to get ultra-fit again, my office job is making all my muscles squishy and easily strained. So gross.


@zdravo THIS. So much about this article is terrible. The headline is completely misleading. Women CAN do pull-ups if they work at it and have the determination. Honestly, I'm shocked that 4 women were able to get them only from strength training and not from, you know, ACTUALLY ATTEMPTING TO DO THEM.

I had a similar experience to meryls (although, I can't do 12, WOW). I decided one day that I really wanted to do pull-ups so I started working on them every time I was at the gym. It took a very long time but now I can do 6 in a row. Someone at my gym told me that her old gym told her she would never be able to get pull-ups so she should just give up or work on kipping (using her legs to create momentum). Who says that to a person?!? I was horrified and told her she absolutely can get pull-ups is she keeps working on it. If some women feel better about not being able to do a pull-up after reading this article, I guess that's nice, but if I'd read it and still didn't have them, my reaction would be "I'LL SHOW YOU, NYT."

/rant over. Sorry to hijack your post. I just hate when someone tells me something I/women as a whole can't do. I'm John Locke in Lost. "Don't tell me what I can't do!"

This is my new username

@lexmarie Yes, I found their method of training very odd...

This is my new username

@This is my new username Not that I know anything at all about weight training, but I did learn to do a pull-up, by actually doing pull-ups and/or modified pull-ups.


Can we now run an article entitled "Why men can't touch their toes" with a female instructure saying "you know, it's weird, we thought everyone could do this but it turns out those male type creatures find it much harder"...


@dontannoyme Oh no, does this mean I'm a dude?

evil melis

What about that thing you do in science class that the girls can do but the boys can't? With the standing over the chair and putting your head on the door. That thing! And the boys can't do it but the girls can? Let's make em do that.

evil melis

A pretty weird google search suggests it is this.


@evil melis oh oh oh oh oh my god, I remember the day I first found out men keep their center of gravity in their chest like it was yesterday. I thought they were trading on my schoolgirl ignorance to tell me stories but it is true. You just push them gently in the sternum and BANG they fall right over. magic.


@queenofbithynia putting this in my mental-stash for attackers. I hate the patriarchy sometimes.


@evil melis "Be ready to catch the boys!"


@evil melis We never did that in physics but we did lie on a bed of nails. My physics teacher (he was awesome) told us that if you are a "cauldron" of anxiety, it'll hurt, but if you are like a "calm lake" it won't hurt. (It's not "supposed" to hurt because the force is distributed equally across the nails.) I'm a cauldron. It hurt a lot.


@evil melis Men also can't wrap one leg around the other when they cross their legs, according to some random "sciencey" tv show I watched.

evil melis

@MilesofMountains hahahahahah WHAT FUCKING DUMBASSES


@evil melis Love the inexplicable use of "derriere"

Jeff Crystoff@twitter

@evil melis I'm a dude who can both do pull-ups and wrap my leg around the other when I cross my legs. Am I some sort of mutant?


You know what's nice about having my own office with a door? I just tested a bunch of those exercises.


@evil melis Sadly, what I got from this was that backpacks were designed for boys. Fucking patriarchy.

Barry Grant

@Jeff Crystoff@twitter "Am I some sort of mutant?"

I can curl my tongue. X-Men assemble!


My boyfriend got a pull-up bar and put it in the top of a doorway and I used to walk under it, looking at it contemplatively. I tried to do a few pull-ups but totally couldn't manage it and hung there like a limp, straining, noodle, until I just cheated and did little hop-ups and my boyfriend smiled at my cute little girly attempts. Which infuriated me!
But the pull-up bar remained there, taunting me. I watched my boyfriends back muscles ripple and flex as he did twelve, twenty pull-ups in a row, taut against his skin, and I vowed that I would succeed at doing at least 1 mother-effing pull-up.
So when he was working late I would train, doing hop-ups (little hop to help but mostly pulling with the arms), doing this for like half an hour every night while I watched Mad Men on Netflix, until ONE DAY about 2 months ago I FINALLY DID ONE!
When bf got home I showed him my newfound skill (of doing 1 pull-up) and he gave up some genuine respect for my undeniable strength and determination, and I was very smug.
Then after that I just kinda slacked off about it since I accomplished my goal but I should keep at it because it make me feel awesome.
The End.


@rimy "I watched my boyfriends back muscles ripple and flex as he did twelve, twenty pull-ups in a row, taut against his skin"

I'll be in my bunk. (You have a hell of a career writing technically-g-rated erotica if you chose it.)


@par_parenthese Hahaha, thank you, I would be happy to elaborate.

This is my new username

@rimy @rimy I got my boyfriend a pull-up bar for Christmas last year, so I also decided that I was going to learn to do a pull-up to. Side note, watching my boyfriend doing pull-ups and watching the back muscles ripple is the best (I have a thing for back muscles).

I did different combinations of hop-ups that you have described, or jumping up the top and slowly lowering myself down, or where you use a chair to rest your legs on to take some of the weight off and you just keep moving the chair further out.

I play sports, but I am not a gym person, so this was an exciting feet for me.

Also, scientists, why didn't you try this kind of training instead of random other exercises


@This is my new username I'm just going to hang out with my fellow back enthusiasts here, ok?
also: some_text

This is my new username

@area@twitter Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy is he wearing a shirt? But still, I'll also be in my bunk.


@area@twitter Yesss...

Is there like a tumblr of "technically g-rated photos of sexy men's bodies covered up modestly with T-shirts or other work-appropriate apparel, with the focus on bodies and not on faces which I read too much into which distracts me from the objective"?

No? Can someone make this tumblr?

The Lady of Shalott

@area@twitter You guys, my delicious boyfriend does 70 or 80 pull-ups a day. He has a bar in his office. Along with the 400 push-ups he does every day.

HIS BACK, I CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU. I literally cannot even tell you. Sometimes it makes me want to do pull-ups my own self, but then I remember that every ounce of strength I possess is concentrated in my lower body so I decide it's more efficient to just admire his back. See, EFFICIENCY.


@The Lady of Shalott my mouth literally just watered


@The Lady of Shalott : *glurg*


@area@twitter : I mean, I love you and your noodley body, Fiancé!


I can do pull-ups and it makes me feel like a fucking superhero! Aerial classes. They also teach you to climb ropes. Everyone should join the circus.

that one girl

@Cattus this! i love the trapeze for so many reasons but especially the superhero strength part.


@Cattus : Fuck to the yes! I'm taking handbalancing now...BEAST MODE.


This article just saved me...my husband and cousin want me and my sister-in-law to train for the Tough Mudder (one of those military obstacle course races) and they keep insisting we need to do pull ups as part of the training. I'm in pretty decent shape...but I can't even do one. This will save me countless failed attempts!


@jingel_jengel Dude. I did the 5k rugged maniac and the running was far, far worse than the obstacles. And I just do your average run of the mill weights three or so times a week. Pull ups not required, I promise.


Several comments are making me wonder if there have been studies on stereotype threat specifically as it pertains to physical activity and gender. I could, of course, look it up.


Shut up, science! I am trying to develop "useful" strength and pull ups are one of my number one goals. I will do it one day!

Miss Maszkerádi

This is relevant to my interests - which mainly right now revolve around getting my aching back to stop clenching like a fist, thanks gym fail. Turns out Science Says I'll just never be able to build much more strength. Science also says i'm too old to learn anything new. Science can go eff itself right now. (*hunts for more ibuprofen to stop being so crabby*)

up cubed

@CountessMaritza foam rolling?

Helen Stanley

Down with pull-ups! I remember my presidential fitness program scores went south when I hit the age where arm hang (which I think rewards stubbornness) was replaced with pull ups (which definitely penalizes tallness) and I was so demoralized. Fourth grade me is fit and suddenly fifth grade me isn't? I guess at least I'll be ok if I ever need to hang from a window ledge until help arrives(see Datalass above).


A few weeks ago, I was at a college football game, and one of the things they did to keep the crowd entertained during one of the millions of TV timeouts was a pull-up competition between a lady gymnast (who attended the school) and a marine (who may or may not have been affiliated, I can't remember). She kicked his ass.

I cannot do a pull-up.

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Really? i didnt notice that thing until i read this article. I also wondering why woman cant or difficult to perform a single pull up. Maybe because women dont have a lot of power in their arm, unlike men. Anyway, thanks for sharing such great information.
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