About 20 months ago I publicly declared 2012 my Year of Upper Body Strength. Then five seconds later (never EVER announce your plans to the Universe) I was pregnant and doing nothing whatsoever about my inability to do a pull-up.
Well, last month I decided that I’d been unpregnant long enough (not for physiological reasons, but for lazy ones) and could hop back onto my monkey bars a few times a day for a couple of seconds and get me some strength. It took me about a couple of weeks and lo and behold I was able to do a chin-up. Not a pull up, but frankly I DON’T CARE.
This is something else I’ve been working on: Hanging from a single arm.
I can do a row of monkey bars, but sustained hanging from one arm is different. I couldn’t do it at first. Now I can, but here is something interesting: I can hang more easily from a big fat bar (where my hand isn’t in a “fist”) than my husband can. And he hangs better from a thin bar.
Holding onto a thick bar changes the load (and adaptation) to the skin and requires a different strength profile than holding a thin bar. Every thickness (or angle or surface) of the item you are hanging from requires different motor programming and creates a unique load to your body. If you're strong in one way, consider changing the way you approach your practice (me, off to conquer the thin bar now). We are often caught up in more -- more weight, more reps -- of a single movement pattern instead of establishing more motor programs and increasing the use of more parts. If you were moving through nature it would be unlikely to find the exact situation twice. So mix it up. Spread the love. Think "whole body."
Find a primer in hanging and swinging here (click).
Check out my friend’s killer outdoor obstacle course for some ideas (click).
Here is the Alignment Ninja-I-mean-Monkey's experience with her chin up (click).
I’m going back to packing for Atlanta (leaving tomorrow!), packing my house (moving to California in two weeks!), and crying in the corner.
Just kidding. I don’t need the corner.