It’s also the last week of my summer vacation.
It’s also the last day of my 20’s.
So since I’m on the verge of a traumatic breakdown over the loss of my youth, today’s post will be a little random.
First order of business: Your Fitness Challenge for this week! Did anyone do a sprint workout last week?
Anyway, your challenge this week is inspired by a couple of things.
1) My friend Cal, who I just found out does 100 pull-ups per day(!) He mixes up the grips, and does sets of pull-ups, chin-ups, and neutral grip pull-ups, to combine for about 100 per day. This is impressive, no? Heck, I don’t even do 100 per week, ever.
2) My pull-up game has been slacking lately. I’ve gotten up to 3 unassisted chin-ups (I’ve done a set of 4 once), but I seem to have stalled there. And I know exactly the reason why: I don’t do them nearly enough. I add them into a lift probably once per week, with about 20 total interspersed throughout my workout.
We all know that practice makes perfect, and that applies to getting stronger and improving on exercises/lifts too! The more you do something (without overdoing it) the better you’ll be at something. So the fact is, I really just need to do more pullups. A whole lot more pullups. I’m trying to get to 5 unassisted chins,and 3 unassisted pullups. Reasonable, right? So my challenge to myself to kickstart this progress, and thus my challenge to all of you, is this:
If you can’t do unassisted pull-ups, that’s ok! You can do them assisted with a resistance band, with a partner, or you can even count your pull-up negatives for this challenge. (I described those in this post).
Of course it will take more than a week to increase my reps, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, right? And there’s only one way to get better at something. Do it (a lot). If you have a goal of increasing your pull-ups, or even of doing your first unassisted pull-up, I encourage you to tackle this challenge!
Random thought #1:
I’ve recently added more cardio back into my training sessions. Not long, steady state cardio, but I’ve been adding in more metabolic work at the end (Tabata sessions, intervals, bodyweight circuits, HIIT, etc.). I have been running a little bit more, trying to get out to do stadiums 1-2 times per week, and also riding a bike to the gym on most days (about 5 miles each way). For a good portion of the year, I was hardly doing any cardio and was really just focusing on increasing my strength and improving my form for my big compound lifts (back squat and deadlift). I know a lot of you out there don’t do any cardio and have great results with that, but I have realized that for me it just wasn’t working. I started out this summer a little bigger than I should have been, and since I’ve added more cardio back in, I’m seeing a lot of improvements in body composition. Just goes to show– what is best for one person may not be best for others!
I just ordered these bad boys. Woo! I’ve always been an Asics girl when it comes to running (the little bit of it that I actually do). I love my New Balance Minimus for lifting, but nothing has ever beat Asics for running in my book!
Random thought #2:
As much as it pains me to say this, I may be staying away from back-loaded barbell lifts for a little while. (I’m shedding a tear for back squats, the love of my life). For the past several months, I’ve been having a very point specific pain over one vertebrae in my thoracic spine. After trying to ignore it for a while, I’ve finally been getting some deep soft tissue treatments on the area surrounding it for about 1.5 months now. While I do feel great improvement in general, the second I load up that bar and put it on my back, I feel that one specific point of pain. I haven’t decided for sure, but I may try avoiding back loaded lifts, increasing my upper back work, and sticking with front squats for the time being. (Blegh). I reluctantly did front squats on Friday and miraculously had no pain without the weight of the bar across my back, so I’ll let you guys know if I actually do this, and if it helps!
Random thought #3:
I’ve realized recently that I have 2 rather serious addictions. String cheese and buying sunglasses. No, they’re not related (although I wouldn’t put it past me to be eating string cheese while sunglasses shopping), but I’m starting to realize I have a problem. I guess there are worse problems to have!
That’s all the random thoughts I’ll leave you with for the moment, since I’m sure most of you don’t really care very much about my addiction to string cheese. Who’s going to join me on the pull-up challenge? Do you do cardio or just lift? Do you front squat regularly? Does anyone else share my strange addictions?