Pull ups and the Zombie Apocalypse

You see these lists all over the internet every day:

“10 skills you need for a happier life!”

“21 skills every man should have!”

“101 skills you need to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!”

Who says I need a happier life!?! And what’s with the casual sexism?

I’m  happy in my life because my four year old daughter has a bodyweight deadlift (for reps!), can almost do a pull up and is wicked deadly with a lightsaber! (My zombie plan is to train my children to be Jedi Knights)

The ability to climb is an essential fitness skill in law enforcement, fire and military service. I’d add that it’s something that everybody should be able to do. The ability to rescue your neighbors cat/child, complete an obstacle course, get holiday decorations out of the attic, or climb a tree to escape zombies should be in everybody’s toolbox!

If you want to own climbing, then the pull ups, grip strength and crawling are the things to look at. But let’s do one thing at a time.

There are a lots of variations of pulling your body up to (and over) a bar, door frame or tree branch. You can do:

  • pull ups – palm facing away from you
  • chin ups – palms facing you
  • tactical pull ups – no thumbs
  • neutral grip – palms facing each other
  • any of the other myriad variations

For the sake of simplicity let’s just, for today, put them all together under the name ‘Pull Ups’.

Why do pull ups?

Apart from the lifestyle benefits of putting up festive decorations, escaping zombies and being able to save your life in the event of a flood they:

  • help counteract the ‘modern Gollum’ posture
  • encourage full shoulder/upper back range of motion
  • are a health counterpart to pressing actions
  • help develop the ‘athletic taper’ body shape
  • are a good indicator of a healthy body composition

They can also be used for:

  • pure strength
  • lean muscle development
  • endurance strength/cardiovascular drill
  • weighted pull ups (nothing says ‘I’m too strong for my body’ than this!)
  • an accessory for squats and deadlifts (you need a thick back to support big weights)

Fat-loss Guru Josh Hillis also notes that any woman who can perform three pull ups and any man who can do five, probably looks pretty ‘rockstar’ (and if they don’t then it’s the kitchen, not the gym, that they need to work on).

Can’t do a pull up?

Here’s a video I made a few years ago detailing exercises you can use to build up to your first one.

Don’t know how to add pull ups to your training? Want to know why you shouldn’t do pull ups before deadlifts or  superset them with bench press? Join the conversation on our Facebook group!

Be fit, be strong, be happy!

Choosing your first Kettlebell Part 2 – Weight

In Part 1 of choosing your first kettlebell we talked about why you would want one in the first place. We touched on the idea that there are three categories of using a kettlebell:

  1. Strength and Power development
  2. Cardiovascular Endurance
  3. Mobility Training

Also on top of this versatility of use the kettlebell is also one of the few serious training tools that you can realistically keep in your own home.

When left unattended in the kitchen, kettlebells gather around bins hoping for scraps of protein (yes, I put some mats in my kitchen…).

Without going into each too much detail, for the serious trainee there’s a good chance your original ‘heavy kettlebell’ will slowly turn into your higher rep kettlebell and maybe even turn into your mobility training kettlebell.

With that in mind we’ll talk about how to choose the weight for your first kettlebell, or preferably, three.

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