Of course, just having the bar won't magically enable me to do a pull-up: I still need to work at it, and right now I can barely lift myself off the ground. I was referred to this YouTube video which shows an easy way to build up to doing a pull-up via what is basically a reverse pull-up: climb on a chair, grab the bar, walk off the chair, and lower myself down. This resistance should build up my muscles until I can do one the proper way.
My pull-up bar arrived on Sunday, so I started my regimen on Monday. Here's what happened:
- My first set of 8 reps was okay, although I was coming down faster than I would have liked.
- The second set hurt, because I'm weak.
- The third set HURT. As in, "I feel like I am actually tearing something because I am coming down too quickly," and so I stopped after doing only 4 reps.
I was glad that I stopped when I did, because Tuesday I was stiff, but not actually sore -- just kind of "uncomfortable swollen feelings in the muscles and reduced range of motion." I rested, did a lot of stretching (Protip: reaching up, grabbing the bar, and just hanging from it is an awesome way to stretch out your upper body muscles), and by the end of the day I was feeling better.
Today is Wednesday. I climbed up on the chair, grabbed the bar, tensed to walk the plank.. and my arms said "Nope." They were weak and sore, and basically offered no resistance against gravity.
I didn't see any gain in climbing a chair and basically falling off it and jerking my arms, so I tried a modified version:
- I put a stool between me and the pull up bar.
- I grabbed the bar and, while lifting as much as I could, I stepped onto the stool.
- I went to my tiptoes, still lifting with my arms.
- Then I slowly stepped off the stool, keeping the tension in my arms to give some resistance against gravity.
So if Scooby's version is a "reverse pull-up", then I don't know what to call this -- a subverted lame-ass pull-up? -- but the fact of the matter is that the burning in my arms tells me I'm actually exercising, but I'm doing it at a pace which is healthy and safe for my body. Maybe by Friday my arms will feel good enough to try another few sets of reverse pull-ups. If so, great; if not, I'll continue with the subversions.
It's gonna be a long, tough road to that first pull-up.