Hang In There!
One of the truest testaments of upper body strength is the act of pulling yourself vertical on a fixed apparatus until you reach complete contraction.
If you happen to find yourself hanging from a mountain cliff, or dangling from a boat in shark infested waters, this is not only a resourceful skill , but also a primordial, kinesthetic, power movement that could save your very life.
Junior High School
I went to a very small elementary school from grades one through six.
Our class probably didn’t even have thirty students and it was virtually the same crew all six years so needless to say we got to know each other very well and we formed some tight bonds.
Upon graduating from the elementary school, we were shipped into the “general population” junior high.
I remember wearing my Led Zeppelin t-shirt the first day, trying to find my classes in this labyrinth of a building, and looking for at least someone that I recognized.
There is an incredible growth spurt for most boys somewhere between the end of seventh grade and the beginning of ninth grade and I certainly was on the low end of the BMI charts to start that seventh grade year.
As luck would have it, about eight of us newbie seventh-graders shared a gym class with a large contingency of ninth-graders. Maybe it was a scheduling glitch, maybe the powers that be had to fill spots and classes, or perhaps the person responsible for scheduling us “unlucky eight,” simply got a kick out of the merciless torture we received for much of the year. 😀
Anyway, along with some incredibly tough moments such as having to perform a dance routine in front of the harsh crowd of ninth-graders, we also had to perform individual efforts in some benchmark exercises and events.
We were timed in the mile run.
We were tested on how many push-ups we could perform.
We were given a minute to execute as many sit-ups as we could in a minute.
There was rope climbing.
The 40 yard dash.
I remember getting about 7 reps with body weight and that was about average.
A friend who had absolutely zero athletic ability held the record for a short time with 17 (he weighed in at around eighty pounds.)
After junior high, I didn’t really even think about chin-ups/pull-ups again until I started weight training in my early twenties.
Next time I will discuss my love/hate relationship with chin-ups & pull-ups, the differences in the movements as far as results go, and how you can infuse them into a solid plan.