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Old 06-28-2014, 12:16 PM   #1
Tammy Florczak
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Pull-Up Options

I'm not sure this is the right place to post this, but I need some advice.

I'm a relative newbie - been doing CrossFit for a couple months now. I had to stop going to my local box because it was getting too expensive. So now I'm working on putting together my own mini-CF gym with whatever equipment I can find or purchase for a nominal cost.

Here's my dilemma: I live in an apartment so I don't even have a garage for the equipment. I'm actually using the larger spare bedroom. The entire apartment is carpeted except for the kitchen and bathroom (both of which are small). I'm new to pull-ups, but I definitely want to start incorporating it into my workouts.

The trouble is, I'm 350 lbs and need the movement really modified since I'm just starting out. Pull-up bars for the door won't hold me (I think the weight cap is 250 lbs) - plus our apartment doors are pretty weak and flimsy anyway.

I'm hesitant to invest in a cage-type rig which I'm sure would hold me, but I'm not sure of how sturdy it would be on the carpeting or even how transportable it would be - like if I wanted to move it to an area of the apartment that is not carpeted. I have a metal squat rack and 45 lb bar that I could rig up I suppose - but again, not sure if it would hold me.

Can anyone offer any suggestions of what I could do or purchase to help? I figure I'll need to build up some lat strength first (which I have resistance bands for that) so I could even do a pull-up.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:47 PM   #2
Steven Wingo
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Consider a TRX. There are several different versions. They are made to be portable and have different options for hooking them up to things like doors, tree branches, roof trusses, and so on. They would allow you to do ring rows and a host of other body weight exercises such as scaled push ups. It is a great option if you need to scale body weight movements and don't have access to a full gym full of equipment like rings, boxes, etc.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:35 AM   #3
Dakota Base
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Until you find a better solution, you can use your squat rack as a pull-up rig for modified/substitution pull-ups that will be suitable for your current weight & scaling needs. Two options:

1) If your squat rack has safety catches or pull racks: put the bar in the low rack, lay on the floor under the bar, positioned such that the bar is between your chest and eyes, then pull yourself up to the bar. For laying modifications of pull-ups, if your chest is under the bar, it'll feel more like a row and you can lift less of your weight, if your eyes are under the bar, it'll feel more like a pull-up and you'll lift more of your weight. If you bend at the waist, you'll deload a lot of weight, if you keep your body straight and hinge on your heels, you'll add weight back to the movement.

2) If your squat rack DOESN'T have low catches: grab a bench, or a couple chairs, whatever, lay on those instead under the bar, do the same.

3) Once you build your strength, grab a length of rope and two 1 1/4" diameter x 5" electrical conduit nipples from Home Depot to use as handles. Put the bar in the top rack, run the rope through the nipples/handles and hang them over the bar, and lay on the floor. Pull up on the handles higher and higher.

4) Another option, once you build some strength, is to set the squat rack as high as the settings offer and do deloaded and assisted pull ups from that position on your lifting bar. If you hang with your feet out in front of you, legs straight, and your heels on the ground, you'll be deloading your pull ups pretty considerably. Alternatively, if you hang with your knees bent and your feet behind you, with your toes pointed on the ground, you can use your legs to assist your pull ups.

If you do get a cage, but sure you buy one with a proper weight limit. I have a FreeMotion 620BE cage and the pull up limit is 300lbs. I'm sure it would hold more weight and not instantly fail, but as an engineer, I'm also sure that it would compromise the integrity of the unit to overload it regularly.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:29 AM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Pull-Up Options

With a squat rack and bar, you can do body rows which will suffice and work your lats.

Pretty much everything else Dakota said.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
Philipp Lendner
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Try bent-over rows as explained here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCg1YxMt3oY (wfs)

These have the advantage to make it possible to really controll the work you do by controlling the weight you use. The disadvantage is that you do work not in the plain you would like to to develop your pull-up.
Another option would be to do pull-up negatives at a door (you need a stable one for that). Grap the door on top, get your chin over it (you can use a jump or a chair to do so) and than let yourself get down slowly. Do not use this one for metcons (these can cause rhabdo).

Last option I can add are door rows
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ7b2VCAsdg (wfs)
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:08 PM   #6
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Door rows are a good option besides the Bent rows.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #7
Tammy Florczak
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Thanks so much, everyone, for your input. These suggestions are very, very helpful!
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:13 PM   #8
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: Pull-Up Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
Consider a TRX. There are several different versions. They are made to be portable and have different options for hooking them up to things like doors, tree branches, roof trusses, and so on. They would allow you to do ring rows and a host of other body weight exercises such as scaled push ups. It is a great option if you need to scale body weight movements and don't have access to a full gym full of equipment like rings, boxes, etc.
TRX are nice, but I would just go with a ring set. Not much that TRX does that rings can't, they're cheaper, and once you're stronger, the ring stuff is the "real" stuff. If your rack has an over head crossbar you can begin to do ring pullups as well.
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