I haven’t written about exercise in a while and I was checking out an article a friend wrote on the Crossfit Journal and on the side I see this picture with the headline “Women Can’t do Pull Ups” from the New York Times and I am immediately offended.
So I checked the article out – good headline guys – it worked. The article talks through how some researches though they could get women to do pull ups with some targeted strength training, which when they took a 17 “normal-weight” women through their exercise regime, although the women did see good improvements in fitness level
By the end of the training program, the women had increased their upper-body strength by 36 percent and lowered their body fat by 2 percent. But on test day, the researchers were stunned when only 4 of the 17 women succeeded in performing a single pull-up.
So what does this mean? For starters all of those ladies out there that Crossfit and don’t have an un-assisted pull up yet this is something that you already know that you can see large improvements in health and fitness levels…and still not be able to do a single strict pull up. There are strength and hormonal differences, mainly testosterone, which make it “easier” for men to do pull ups than women – but come on, ladies can do pull ups too!
As a Crossfitter we do a lot of pull ups. This was one of my first major accomplishments when I started Crossfit, I saw girls doing pull ups and I wanted to be able to do it too! Once I got them strict (without assistance or movement) I started working on kipping. As a Crossfit athlete we do a lot of kipping pull-ups – once you’re able to do them – because in Crossfit we do everything for time and kipping is FASTER and EASIER than doing strict pull ups.
One goal I’ve been working on is getting a solid set of “dead hangs” or strict pull ups because I want them, I want to prove to myself I’m strong enough to do them too. Right now I’m at 6 (in a row) and my goal is 10. As for the statement that women can’t do pull ups check out this video of Crossfitter Miranda O knocking out 12 strict pull-ups. As Paul S who posted this link to our Crossfit KoP Facebook stated, it’s bad ass.
For those of you that are wondering now, what they heck is a kipping pull up? A quick little you tube search got me a video that you can check out. These are traditional Crossfit kipping pull ups and here are a few “normal” Crossfitters that are doing them and making it look easy! The hardest part about the kip is learning the motion – you learn to use your body and momentum to help you do more pull ups. For example I have 6 strict, unbroken pull ups right now and my max kipping pull ups is 40+. Maybe we should have invited the NY Times article author out to a Crossfit gym before he wrote his piece….