Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pull me up, Scotty.

A very popular topic amongst my running friends is cross-training. Crossfit seems to be the flavor du jour, and I believe that is for very good reason. It's built upon what I believe is a solid philosophy of interval circuits, and it is "open source" to meet the needs of the widest possible variety of fitness levels. My local gym, however, is a nearly 30-minute drive from my home and is crazy expensive! What's a lowly barefoot runner living on teacher pay to do?

Well, I have been slowly collecting items and evolving my garage into a training grounds to deal with my lack of overall strength without having to pay outrageous gym fees. My intention is to create a versatile space with the necessary tools for total-body workout of various designs while keeping costs way down and not taking over my parking/workspace. This is my favorite tool.
My hangboard is mounted on 1/2" plywood above the steps down to my garage. It's a perfect location where I can't help but see it every time I leave the house.
Wider shot from the garage entrance. Please ignore the clutter. It's quite a bit better now.
I've had my training board for a while, but I just put it up (with the help my my bro, Wesley) in our house recently. My lovely wife bought it for me for Fathers' Day a couple years ago, and it unfortunately sat after we moved. In the last six or so weeks, I have gone from a feeble two - maybe three - pull ups to a solid twelve dead-hangers. Since starting, I have seen consistent improvement in my overall upper body strength, shoulder development, grip strength, and core stability. Perhaps the area that I have seen the most drastic difference is my recovery: I can do sets of pull ups now where just a few weeks ago I would eek out three or four reps and that was it for the rest of the day...maybe two days. Push ups are also easier which I suspect is a result of both shoulder and core strength.

My training has consisted of simply executing as many good-form pull ups as possible every time I walk out the door. When I reach failure, I just hang there until my grip is exhausted. Sophisticated, I know. Every once in a while, maybe once/week, I have been integrating sets of pull ups into a complete workout. That's it. I have just begun trying some of the more advanced elements on the board: L-hangs and leg raises (core-specific workouts) and some of the smaller holds. I shall have an iron grip and a six pack!!! My goal is 20 pull ups before the Summer is over.

Oh, and I don't kip. Kipping is for losers. :)

Here is the link to the board I have. It goes for about $80 at which is retail. In my opinion, this is a much better tool than a pull up bar. It is more versatile, practical, and real-world applicable. I like it!

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