10 Women Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics & Ninja Skills on Instagram

I’m celebrating strong, fit, badass women today by sharing my my list of 10 Women Absolutely Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics and Ninja Skills on Instagram.  Of course, this is not an all-inclusive group, but just some of my favorites that I check in on from time to time for workout inspiration. There are American Ninja Warriors, Spartan Pros, CrossFit Champs, Street Workout winners and more. 10 Women of Instagram Absolutely Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics and Ninja Skills

Check out the list!

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3 Pull-Up Workouts for Grins and Gains – Beginner to Advanced

Let me tell you why I love pull-ups so much. Pull ups are convenient, you only need a bar or grips to hang from. Pull-ups are a compound exercise that target multiple muscles at once for maximum gains. Pull-ups never get boring because there are so many different varieties — plain, kipping, l-sits, fat-grip, rope, etc. 3 Workouts for Pull-Up Grins and Gains

Check out these Three Workouts for Pull-Up Grins and Gains and get going! There is something for everyone, from beginners to pull-up pros! I use the ability to “pull up” all the time while competing in Spartan and other obstacle course races, how do you think you get over those 10 foot walls or up a rope?  Continue reading

10 Amazing Pull-Up World Records to Beat

I was surfing through the Guinness World Records this weekend and geeking out on all the amazing physical, athletic accomplishments of people – humans are amazing! As a youngster, like a lot of kids from my generation, I read this tome of strange facts, amazing feats, freaky accomplishments from cover-to-cover. Not only was I entertained, but also inspired by the extremeness found within these hallowed pages.

10 Amazing Pull-Up World RecordsI was surfing through the Guinness World Records this weekend and geeking out on all the amazing physical, athletic accomplishments of people – humans are amazing! As a youngster, like a lot of kids from my generation, I read this tome of strange facts, amazing feats, freaky accomplishments from cover-to-cover. Not only was I entertained, but also inspired by the extremeness found within these hallowed pages. Continue reading

Sexy Back Work-Out and Handful Bra Raves

I don’t know about you, but I’m planning on making an impressive “exit” at a couple New Year’s Eve parties. That’s because I’ve been working hard on sculpting a sexy back over the past few months and I’m ready to show it off in a cute little black (and white) dress.  So, imagine a fun little frock like the one to the left, but now pair with the new-and-improved back in the picture below!

 

I didn’t even know there were so many muscles in my back until my coach snapped this picture the other day at her CrossFit box. You’ll notice in the picture, I’m wearing an awesome bra top by Handful. I really can’t say enough great things about the bras made by this company, especially the Adjustable Handful Bra  which I’m sporting in purple in the pull-up picture above. First of all, the slogan at Handful is “Flatter Not Flatten” and what’s not to like about that? Even though I wear an XS in their product line (and less than an A-cup in a traditional bra), the removable pads slip discretely into inside pockets to create a shapely silhouette (and also to prevent embarrassing moments in a cold gym, if you catch my drift). You can even buy additional pads if you desire a more voluptuous look. Also, the stretchy fabric, made from a blend of  82% nylon and 18% spandex, is super comfortable and soft, much more so than other fitness tops I’ve worn.  Another perk, the straps are not just adjustable up-and-down, but also can be arranged criss-cross (as I’m wearing) to wear under t-back tanks — or even a formal dress!  This isn’t just a bunch of puff; I’m seriously loving this bra and am planning on replacing all my ill-fitting everyday bras with a wardrobe of Handful bras.

Anyway, back to the back! There are so many muscles in the back, all working together to support the spine and provide a wide rage of movement in perfect harmony. For example, the trapezius is a large triangle-shaped muscle that runs from the middle of the back up to the neck, also covering part of the shoulder blade.  When sculpted , the trapezius looks strong and sexy; but better yet, it also helps to prevent back fatigue and neck pain. Rhomboids, small muscles that run from the center of your back up to the lower neck, hold your shoulders back and help you keep great posture. External obliques, the lattisimus dorsi, and the scapula muscles are other back muscles that you can’t ignore.  When you think of a sexy back, it’s not just the “official” back muscles that you need to work out; the deltoids, a muscle group that that wraps around the top of the shoulders, are also a must-have for a show-off back.

Check out this 15-minute fitness routine targeted for the back that will have you looking like a softly chiseled goddess in just a few weeks. Challenge yourself by using weights that aren’t too heavy, not too light – but are a modest challenge. This set of back exercises focuses on strengthening your entire back while working out other muscles groups at the same time — functional and fun! Get after it two to three times per week!

 

From Flexed-Arm Hang Flunkee to Dead-Hang Pull-Up Diva – Pull Up Tips

My recent experience at the 2012 Austin Fit Magazine Fittest was filled with quite a few events outside my comfort zone. One of the most intimidating of all was the pull up test that required us girls to perform this classic upper-body strength move just like the guys. No easier chin-ups (where fingertips are oriented on the bar to your face), no swinging, jumping, kipping, butt-wiggling or knee-pumping.   These pull-ups had to be strict, military-style pull-ups where the body must fully-extend back downward into a “dead hang.”  How could I ever make this happen? Never had I EVER even passed the flexed-arm hang test for the Presidential Fitness Test in elementary school. Ugh!

In January at CrossFit Endurance Camp, I could only do one strict pull-up and a couple with a kip. It was embarrassing to be around so many strong women, but a least I had them on the run! Not fully committed to the idea, I started practicing pull-ups chin-up style with a kip (maybe) once a week working my way up to four or five using major swinging motion to get my chin over the bar. Not long later, I could do four or five without the kip. On competition day, an adrenaline rush helped me squeak out six military dead-hang pull-ups and the judge noted I had “good form.”  Whoo-hoo! Inspired by the winner in my age-group who completed 15, I started working a little harder on the dead hang pull-up. Now less than a month later I can do 9!

If I can do “proper” pull-ups (palms facing away from you, no extraneous body movement), so can you! Here are some tips to get you started.

Practice: Do a pull-up progression 3x per week.  Start with 5 sets of 1 or 2 and then work your way up to 3 sets of a few less than your maximum effort.

Negatives: If you are unable to complete a strict pull-up, work on “negatives” first. Negatives are done by jumping up to the bar from the ground, box or half stability ball or with a spotter boost. Once your chin clears the bar, slowly move into the fully-extended dead hang position. Repeat!

Machine-Assisted Pull-Ups: This piece of gym equipment isn’t as intimidating as it looks. Set the counter-weight an amount that offers you an attainable challenge. Kneel on the platform, grasp the overhead bar and pull up!

Supplemental Exercises: Lat Pull-Downs, Ring Rows, Ring Dips, Bicep Curls, Dumbbell Rows