Your First Pull-up: Simple, Not Easy

Your First Pull-up: Simple, Not Easy

I love pull-ups. All types of pull-ups. The pull-up is a wonderful drill to improve the strength of your vertical pulling pattern (back & biceps for those who still speak the lingo of Frankenstein training), but having the strength to do pull-ups is also indicative of a favorable strength-to-bodyweight
ratio in the athlete. But what if you can’t do a pull-up yet? Should you do crappy half-reps in the hopes that you’ll one day magically hit a full rep? Nope. You should use progressive overload. Here’s how:

Fundamental Concepts

  • Never train to failure. All of your reps should look as good as the reps I’m doing in the videos. This is both for safety and to make sure that you effectively training the neurological “groove” of the movement. You DO NOT need to train to failure to get stronger.
  • Train 2-3 times per week, with 1 rest day in between. You can add these drills into whatever day you’re working upper body pulling in your training plan. You do have a training plan, right?
  • Don’t forget to do pushing exercises as well (we’ll cover this in the future)—don’t just train one side of the body!

TRX Row (Bent Knee)

This is where we start everyone for bodyweight pulling exercises. The angle is different than the pullup, but you’ll be able to work your pulling muscles with enough volume (reps) to make progress.

  • Start with 3 sets of 5-10 reps.
  • Add a 4th set the next training session.
  • Add a 5th set the training session after that.
  • Then go back to 3 sets, and see if you can do more quality reps than before (spoiler: you probably will).
  • Carry on with this cycle—3 sets, 4 sets, 5 sets—until you can reliably do 5 x 10. Then repeat the same process with your legs.

Watch Video: TRX Row - Bent Knee

TRX Row (Feet Elevated)

Same story, just elevate your feet on a plyo box (not a bench — they’re expensive).

  • Start with 3 sets of 5-10 reps.
  • Add a 4th set the next training session.
  • Add a 5th set the training session after that.
  • Then go back to 3 sets, and see if you can do more quality reps than before.
  • Carry on with this cycle—3 sets, 4 sets, 5 sets — until you can reliably do 5 x 10. Then progress to the next level.

Watch Video: TRX Row - Feet Elevated

Negative Chin-up

Time to hit up the bar! Do not skip to this step until you’ve completed the requirements for the previous level. At this point you should start alternating sessions of Negative Chin-ups with sessions of TRX Rows. Don’t stop doing the rows!

  • Make sure to use a chin-up grip (palms facing you)—it’s easier on the elbows.
  • Start with 3 sets of 1-5 reps.
  • Add a 4th set the next training session.
  • Add a 5th set the training session after that.
  • Then go back to 3 sets, and see if you can do more quality reps than before.
  • Carry on with this cycle—3 sets, 4 sets, 5 sets —until you can reliably do 5 x 5. Then progress to the next level.

Watch Video: Negative Chinup

Negative Partial Chin-up

Same as negative chinup, but once you’ve lowered a little, pull yourself back up. The distance you’ll be able to lower before pulling back up will be different for everyone; find yours. Keep alternating sessions of Negative Chin-ups with sessions of TRX Rows.

  • DO NOT let your shoulders come out of the socket at the bottom of the rep.
  • Start with 3 sets of 1-5 reps.
  • Add a 4th set the next training session.
  • Add a 5th set the training session after that.
  • Then go back to 3 sets, and see if you can do more quality reps than before.
  • Carry on with this cycle—3 sets, 4 sets, 5 sets—until you can reliably do 5 x 5. Then progress to the next level.

Watch Video: Negative Partial Chinup

Negative Partial Chin-up (Extended Range of Motion)

Same as the previous drill. Increase the range of motion a little at a time. Keep the reps clean.

  • Start with 3 sets of 1-5 reps.
  • Add a 4th set the next training session.
  • Add a 5th set the training session after that.
  • Then go back to 3 sets, and see if you can do more quality reps than before.
  • Carry on with this cycle—3 sets, 4 sets, 5 sets—until you can reliably do 5 x 5. Then progress to the next level.

Watch Video: Negative Partial Chinup Extended ROM

Chin-up (palms facing you) or Pull-up (palms facing away from you)

  • Finally! Once you get your first pull-up, it’s time to start “greasing the groove.”
  • Do 1 pull-up in between every set of every exercise you do. Just 1!
  • If you have a pull-up bar at home, do 1 pull-up every time you walk by.
  • When 1 feels pretty easy, try doing 2.
  • Repeat until you can do 5 reps.

Watch Video: Pullup

Assistance Exercises

Do these at the end of the session to practice the proper body position and core strength necessary to do a proper pull-up.

Hollow Hold: this is the same body position held during the pull-up. Build up to 30 second holds. Keep your shoulder blades off the ground and drive your low.

Watch Video: Hollow Hold

 

Hollow Hang: same as hollow rock, but hanging from a bar. Build up to 30 second holds. Keep your shoulders DOWN.

Watch Video: Hollow Hang

 

The above progression might take awhile to get through. It might be boring—that’s fine. Training is not here for your entertainment. It’s here to make you stronger. If you want entertainment, check out The Mandalorian (after your training session). Update me on your progress in the comments! Email [email protected] with any questions (really, I like to talk about this stuff).

Shri Studios Yoga Teacher Spotlight: Gina Matranga

Shri Studios Yoga Teacher Spotlight: Gina Matranga

One of the unique things about LCC & Shri is that we have a wonderful community of climbers, fitness enthusiasts and yogis all in one place. You know what, you don’t even have to pick one of those – you can try it all. With the expert guidance of our amazing coaches, teachers and instructors you can explore all the aspects of your body, mind and spirit.

Want to know more about our stand-out teachers? We asked yoga teacher and Rock Climber Gina Matranga a few questions about herself, her practice, and her teaching. Get to know a little more about Gina here on the blog, then join her for practice on the mat.

How long have you been practicing yoga and why did you start practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga as a teenager with my mom around 2002 and have been practicing yoga ever since then. We went to yoga classes at an independent yoga studio near my house. I started practicing yoga for a few reasons. I was an athlete, and I thought stretching would be a helpful complement to sports. I was also very interested in Asia as a young person, and I learned through countless trips to the Field Museum in Chicago and through my Asian Studies class in high school that yoga was an important part of Indian history, philosophy, and culture, so I was in part drawn to yoga to learn more about its origin. But my mom, one of my brothers, and some of my girlfriends also practiced yoga, so it was a normal thing to do. I continue practicing yoga because of the mental, spiritual, and physical benefits it provides, and the overall sense of wellness I feel on and off my mat from the practice. I still very much enjoy learning from the philosophical and spiritual teachings of the yoga tradition.

How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you want students to feel after they practice with you?

I think my first yoga class was a Hatha yoga class, a slower-paced but still physically challenging practice. I remember feeling so relaxed afterward which was a welcome feeling for a busy and overwhelmed teenager. I had a sense of being at ease and at home in my body, although I don’t think I had those words as a sixteen-year-old. I remember thinking “everything is ok…I’m ok”. I want students to feel connected to their bodies and their spirit after practicing with me, and I hope students feel revitalized. I also want students to feel like their yoga practice is always with them and that yoga isn’t just a movement practice we do on a mat. It can be a mindful way to live.

What impact has yoga had on your life? Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?

Before yoga became a regular part of my life, I was very self-conscious and worried about my worthiness, especially as that related to body image and self-esteem. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Although I was a happy kid with a lot of friends, I often felt like I just wasn’t smart enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, or cool enough. I think part of that was related to being a teenager and a young person, but my feelings of self-doubt traveled with me into adulthood in different ways. I have learned so much through my yoga practice and I have been able to love myself and accept myself. I no longer measure myself against others and instead, I try to appreciate all that my life teaches me. Although I wouldn’t say I have it “down”, I do feel like I can get through challenging times with more ease now because I recognize that nothing is permanent. Yoga has also helped me become a more mindful listener both to myself and to others I engage with.

Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what makes a good yoga teacher?

I originally pursued a teacher training program because I wanted to learn more about the practice and philosophy of yoga, and I hadn’t given much thought to actually teaching yoga. But partway through my program, I realized I enjoyed sharing the practice with others and connecting with others through yoga. My undergraduate degrees were in elementary education and psychology, and teaching felt natural to me. Now I love seeing people have some of those “ah ha” moments I have had, and I love seeing people learn something new about their mind, body, or spirit through their practice. I feel a good yoga teacher is a person who creates rapport with students, offers options in the movement components of class to accommodate different needs, and blends yogic philosophy, a bit of silence, and humor into class.

What’s your favorite yoga quote or mantra?

My favorite mantra is the Sanskrit mantra lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu – “may all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all”. I think this is a beautiful message to live by.

I also appreciate the quote “find joy in all things” that I found in a quote book as a kid – I think it was ascribed to Ralph Waldo Emerson – because it reminds me to do just that. Life can feel hard sometimes, and when I fall into a cycle of complaining or worry, I remind myself to find the joy.

How do yoga and climbing support each other in your experience?

Through yoga, I’ve acquired mindfulness, breathing, and body awareness techniques that I apply to my climbing. The ability to take deep breaths during challenging climbing moves and stay centered when I feel the mental hurdles of climbing creep in has been extremely important to my relationship with climbing. I love it, but sometimes the ego-mind takes over, and through yoga, I’ve learned to balance the inner critic. Because of my yoga practice, I have learned to enjoy the process of climbing just as much as the outcome.

New pricing and new membership options

LCC has been open for almost 2 years so we are making modest changes to our pricing.  But, in appreciation for all our current members, your original price remains the same as long as you maintain your membership with us.

We’re also excited to announce two new options for friends and family!

We are now offering a new Couple & Roommate Membership only $135 per month.  And Family Memberships now include ALL children in the household under the age of 18 for only $162 per month.  See our membership page for details!

Thank you to everyone who has made LCC a special place to make friends, get fit and have fun!

8 Limbs of Yoga

8 Limbs of Yoga

Breathing in and breathing out, moving gracefully, or not in and out of postures.
Balancing on one foot, one hand, your head even? Why should we spend the time, the money and energy towards yoga? How does it benefit besides giving us an excuse to wear comfy yoga clothes?

Yoga is an ancient tradition of movements as well as meditation, breath practices and guiding principles that help us to navigate through our lives with grace, ease and gratitude. What is currently identified as yoga, is just one part of the whole system. It would be the same if you just put one hand and one foot on the climbing wall and proclaimed you were climbing. By pulling out just one part of the whole, you lose the potential of the full experience.

8-Limbs of Yoga this gives us the full prospective and magnitude of yoga in the ways it can positively affect ourselves and the greater world around us.
Let’s take this one limb at a time.

Yamas or self-control. These are qualities we must strive to develop within ourselves.

Ahimsa: Non-Violence Non-violence in this context means no intention to hurt ourselves or others. We can hurt others and ourselves in many different ways. Apart from obvious physical and mental violence, feeding your body toxic food, anger, jealousy, and unkind words are all forms of violence. Over training regularly or not finding a balance of work and play. These all can be qualities we can cultivate with the help of Ahimsa.

Satya: Truth Satya is all about living with a clear, honest, and grounded view both of yourself and the world around you. When you’re able to see things for what they are, you can accept them as they are, freeing you to experience a greater sense of self-love and compassion for those around you. When we find ourselves continuing to live out of alignment with our principles or truth it will always take a toll somehow.

Asteya: Non-Stealing This is meant in the obvious sense of not taking anything which is not yours. Stealing can be in the form of money, materials, ideas, time, effort. Other forms of stealing can be taking advantage of the situation, not following through on your word, or not putting forth your best effort. Stealing can also be on an emotional and energetic level – stealing someone’s peace or happiness through your words, or being an ‘emotional vampire’ are other forms of stealing.

Brahmacharya: Non-Indulgence This practice includes not over-indulging in pleasures of the senses. Some examples are an over-indulgence in food or physical pleasures like sex, drugs, or even sleep. If you practice Brahmacharya you eat food to stay healthy and not just for pleasure. You enjoy things like sex, shopping, or anything else in healthy moderation. By practicing Brahmacharya, we tap into self-control and self-awareness, and ultimately gratitude and contentment will follow.

Aparigraha: Non-Possessiveness It is so easy to get carried away in the pursuit of the newest gadget or gear. As a result, we waste a lot of time, money and energy on unnecessary things. The idea is to develop habit of non-possessiveness or non-attachment, so we only take and collect what we actually need and shift our focus from lack to the opportunity for abundance. The concept of non-attachment also spans to releasing the need to control, not harboring feelings of jealousy, frustrations or anger.

This first limb of yoga guides us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses and a broad perspective of what is possible. Take time this week to contemplate where these observances could benefit in your life.
See you on the mat.

– Shauna

About the Author
Shauna Hylenski is one of the owners of LCC plus the Program Director and yoga instructor. She enjoys the opportunity to share this authentic style of yoga practice with the greater LCC community. She has been teaching yoga for over 10 years, and began Shri Studios in 2017. Shauna has now embarked on the adventure of teaching teachers, in an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training that she began with Camp Utopia and Allison Rissel in September of this year. Check LCC’s website for when you can attend one of Shauna’s classes.

New Year – New Goals!

As we begin this new decade, we can feel the flurry of possibilities unfold in front of us. What kind of approach do you take to the blank slate of a new year?

Are you a list maker – bucket lists maybe?

Are you a goal setter – what, when, how, and even how much?

Are you more in the flow of it all – open to what comes your way?

Are you a “bury your head in the sand” type – just want to ride out all the fuss?

No matter how you launch this new year do it with some gusto. It all goes by way too quickly – the time to experience life is now!

However, sometimes we’re hesitant to set goals because we fear that we may not reach them. It’s understandable, but it’s not an excuse.

The key is to set realistic mini-goals that lead toward your larger goal. If your goal is to get in shape in 2020, the first question is “in shape for what?”  That’s a good place to start.

We’ve helped many people reach their goals so come talk to us about yours.

The Janda Sit-up

Behold the "Janda Sit-Up"

You'll be shocked at how difficult this is. The idea is to flex your hamstrings against the pull of the cable, which minimizes the degree which your hip flexors can assist the Sit-Up (vis reciprocal inhibition). The heavier the weight on the cable the harder it is. If you can do 5 sets, increase the weight. This drill is to increase your core strength. Good Luck!

Check out our fitness offerings and classes here.

 

Get the most out of your yoga class

Tips on how to get the most out of your yoga class

Whether you have been to multiple yoga classes or your new to the practice, stepping into a new class can be intimidating. We are striving to feel open, relaxed, energized and connected. We have invested in the class, carved out the time in our busy schedule and arrived on our mat. But what makes one class feel like a path to enlightenment, and another a struggle to get through? Maybe it isn’t so much about the teacher or the studio, but about what we do to get the most out of our yoga class. Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your yoga classes.

Leave the baggage and your phone at the door: Give yourself a break from the feeling of always being on-call. Leave your phone behind when you step onto your mat. You might feel a little lighter and more free just by tuning out so you can tune in.

Don’t eat right before yoga: A heavy meal before yoga is discouraged. This might seem like a no brainer, but can be difficult to manage sometimes. Have a light snack 30 min before class to allow time for digestion and avoid the over-full and bloated sensation while on your mat.

Disclose physical limitations and injuries to the teacher: Students can feel shy about disclosing specific issues in front of the whole class. So advocate for yourself and inform the teacher of your limitations or injuries before class begins. We also provide Hands-On Assist chips at Shri which indicate if you’d prefer to have hands on assistance in your postures - that decision can be changed at anytime throughout class.

Arrive free of expectations: What would it be like to just meet yourself as you are the moment your arrive in class? We can accumulate expectations whether it's in our practice, in our relationships or work life. Being truly present will invite this awareness into your practice and then into the rest of your life.

Practice on your own mat ( if possible): We have beautiful, Prana mats at Shri which are always available for you to utilize. There is something to be said for practicing again and again on your own mat. If you are coming to class regularly you may consider making the investment. Objects that we practice on and around accumulate our prana or energy and will help to bring us into our yogic state with more ease.

Set an intention: You have set this time aside in your busy schedule to practice yoga. What is it that brings you back to your practice again and again? If you set an intention for your practice you can deepen your experience of the breath, postures, mindfulness so that it positively affects you and others during your yoga practice and for the rest of your day - and maybe even longer. Let your yoga light shine way beyond the time on your mat!

Come and check out the amazing classes and teachers at Shri Studios in LCC. We offer 16 weekly class plus special events and workshops. Dedicate some time to you this summer with a regular yoga practice.

What to do about your elbows

This Tuesday, June 4th, at 7 PM Dr. Michael Morrison from Red Hammer PT will be coming in for a free talk on the "bows" elbows.  Here's a short yoga tutorial on keeping your elbows safe on the mat.

In a weight bearing position you will want to ensure that your elbows are not locked. Some of us - including me, have some hyperextension in our elbow joints. This allows further than "normal" range of motion in an extended position. This compromises the elbow joint and doesn't encourage the strength and stability that are necessary for more weight bearing positions such as handstand. What's the fix?

  1. Keep your elbow joint soft. Any locking out of the joints can prove to be detrimental over time, but this can be worse if you are putting weight on the joint.
  2. Rotate the center or eyes of your elbows towards one another. This assists in proper alignment of the forearms and shoulders and keeps your "bows" healthy and strong.

Next time you see your elbows pushing out, remember to take care of your joints - keep them slightly relaxed and strengthen around them from that state.

Training is practice. Enjoy the process.

Do as much high quality work as possible, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as possible.” ~ Vladimir Zatsiorsky

Sometimes I’ll flip through the health magazines to “see what’s going on” in the fitness mainstream. Amazing revelations on every page! “This 5-minute Ab Blaster will obliterate your obliques & terrorize your transverse abdominis!” “Do high-intensity interval training on Monday to burn off Sunday Funday!” “This brutal complex will destroy your deltoids, cauterize your quads and blitz your biceps”! I’m only slightly exaggerating. You’re probably familiar with this rhetorical strategy— metaphors of destruction, debt and punishment abound in the glossy world of Popular Fitness. In case it’s not obvious: I’m not a huge fan.

Other than the false promises, my issue with metaphors of this sort is that they erode the underlying goal of all training: improvement! When we talk about training as destruction, training as punishment or training as debt, we tend to forget that our time at the gym is about making ourselves better. It’s about setting goals and working to achieve them. We’re here to build something, not to burn something down. Consider the term “work out.” What are we working out—the demons? It’s exercise, not an exorcism.

I’m guilty here, too. For example, I have a workout called “Death Ladders.” I’ll refer to sessions as “savage” without really thinking about it. And who knows, maybe it doesn’t matter, then again maybe it does. If we start thinking of training as practice, maybe we’ll be more inclined to stop while we’re ahead so we can train again soon, rather than getting so “worked” that we have to take the rest of the week off. If we start thinking of strength as a skill, maybe we can bring mindfulness into the weight room and become much stronger while avoiding the overuse injuries that are far too common in the fitness world.

For clarity on this issue, I really like Vladimir Zatsiorsky’s summation of the core principle of training: “do as much high quality work as possible, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as possible.” Don’t miss that last part: while staying as fresh as possible. That’s the easy part to overlook. The equation that answers Zatsiorsky’s riddle is the holy grail of strength & conditioning, and I won’t claim to have it all figured out, but how about some bullet points to sum things up?

  • Only do perfect reps. Grinding out sloppy reps just to hit an arbitrary number won’t do much for you unless you’re a bodybuilder.
  • Do what you can, and be obsessed with making it look perfect. This applies to lifting weights and climbing rocks (and pretty much everything else).
  • Train frequently. Pick a handful of lifts and practice them often until they improve. Simple.
  • Stay fresh. Take a light day when you need to. Use whatever recovery tools you need to use—foam roller, massage, hot tub, etc. Don’t be afraid to cut a session short if you don’t feel right. Also: remember to warm up!

Give it a shot. Instead of waging war against yourself in the weight room, just show up, punch the clock & get some work done. Pay no mind to the hyperbole of the fitness mainstream. Training is a practice. Strength is a skill. Enjoy the process, because that’s all there is.

Taylor Rimmer
Head Trainer / Membership Director LCC

St. Patrick’s Day Party!

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon and we are ready to throw down for a block party!  It will start Sunday, March 17th, 11am and Shoes & Brews and Longmont Climbing Collective have created challenges to start your day off right!

We have challenges running at both locations that day! Take part in both and earn free limited edition swag! Take part in both and also earn an entry into our massive raffle giveaways which include Saucony Kinvara shoes, LCC Punch cards, memberships, apparel, beer, and more!

We’ve got the challenges broken down below, but you can also join us at Shoes & Brews to drink two St. Patricks Day Shoes & Brews exclusive beer releases: Irish Red and Green Wheat! We will also have The Flavor Cartel out that day serving up Corn Beef Sandwiches!

Shoes & Brews opens early at 10 am. LCC opens normal hours at 9 am, but all challenges kick off at 11 am!  Here’s what we’ve got going down that day, all the challenges kick off at 11 am!

Shoes & Brews presents – THE 800 M BEER CHALLENGE:
So you’ve heard of their 800 M Road Challenge and you’ve heard of the Beer Mile, we’ve combined the two in a unique way for a shorter faster challenge. You’ll be running two laps of our mapped our course. You start by drinking an 8 oz beer, run a lap, drink a beer, run a lap, drink a beer. Best time for the day wins bragging rights for the next year, as we will ONLY run this challenge once a year!  You can reserve your spot in one of the heats, heats go from 11 am – 1 pm, starting every 15 minutes.  Free to participant. Green beer provided for challenge with valid ID.  Kids 800 challege run at 800 m with water at 11 am heat!  Call or email into [email protected] to reserve a spot! Once they are full we will not run any more!

Longmont Climbing Collective Max Challenge – including pull-ups, grip and pull-ups. A chance to explore all the cool things happening at LCC. Each event can take place at a different spot in LCC.
Challenge your skills and test your strength on each of the challenges.

If you do both challenges, you get special edition swag for the day! You are also entered into the St. Patrick’s Day raffle with prizes like: Saucony Kinvara shoes, apparel, beer, LCC Memberships, punchcards and more!

Kid friendly and dog friendly!  Join in on the fun, or come and watch the challenges with us!

Tell us you’re you’re coming by RSVP’ing on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/250248865920400/