The pullup is an easy step, but it takes time and work to master. In a recent fitness challenge on YouTube, Alistair and Aspen, two Freeletics employees, committed to doing chin-ups every day for 30 days.
Aspen’s goal was to learn a new skill and possibly give her “chicken arms” some strength, while Alistair was curious to see how much he could improve his current performance over the course of a month. Both focus on completing each pullup with the correct technique, including fully straightening their arms at the bottom of the rep and keeping their heads in a neutral position to avoid straining the neck.
On the first day of the challenge, Aspen can do two consecutive reps on the pullup bair, assisted by a resistance band. “Not only do my arms hurt, but my hands too,”
Alistair does 3 sets of 5 pull-ups on day 1, as he already has experience in this area. During the second week of the challenge, he achieves 3 sets of 12 every day. “It was actually more difficult than I expected,” he says. In week 3, he made it even more difficult by adding weight to the pull-ups and doing 3 sets of 5 reps for an additional 1.5 pounds.
In addition to performing the banded pull-ups, Aspen also works on her upper body strength in the second half of the challenge by supplementing her pull-up training with incline series. “Every day it’s a different type of wound,” she says.
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At the end of the challenge, Alistair can do 14 pull-ups without stopping and Aspen can do seven in good form. Both have put some mass in their arms and chest.
“It was a lot harder than I expected,” says Aspen. “If you never use these muscles, if you never do these movements, then it isn’t really going to happen that you expect such great results in such a short time.”
“I will definitely keep doing pull-ups,” she adds. “Because of the little improvements I’ve seen, it was enough to build my confidence.”
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