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5 Ways to Challenge Your Pull Up

Do you remember the first time you did a pull-up? It was like the stars lined up, the clouds parted and the sun shined down upon you in a magnificent ray of light. No? Well, that's how I felt. Granted, I was in first-grade when this took place, so maybe take that with a grain of salt.

Either way, pull-ups have been a staple in the gym for a long time, and most people are already doing them (or at least want to be able to do them). But once you conquer the elusive first pull-up, where do you go from there?

Obviously, you practice and keep working on the original because you want to get better, but there comes a time and place when you would like a little variety -- a way to do pull-ups that keeps you engaged and excited about going to the gym.

Here are five ways to add variety to your pull-ups and keep the challenge fresh:

Interested in reading more?  Click the link below and checkout the rest of the article over at Livestrong:

5 Ways to Challenge Your Pull Up

about the author

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James Cerbie is just a life long athlete and meathead coming to terms with the fact that he’s also an enormous nerd.  Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram for the latest happenings.

Don't Neglect the Neck

Neck position is highly undervalued in the lifting community.

I’ll give you a little secret: your neck position determines the position of everything else in your body. If you want to build strength, you better consider the position of your neck.

An extended neck position relies more on joints and ligaments for stabilization instead of muscles.

An extended neck means excess compression on the back half of the spine.

An extended neck means an extended back.

An extended neck means shut off abdominals (and we want those on, remember?).

An extended neck is good for testing strength, not building it.

An extended neck is bad for longevity.

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If you’ve had back pain in the past, please, for the love of the universe, stop looking at the sun when you lift. This position makes you stronger when you do it, but you use your spine to stabilize heavy weight instead of your muscles.

This is a fallback stabilization pattern for when you’re testing strength, like in a competition. This is not a long-term solution for building length over the next few decades.

I’ve seen so many athletes who are broken down because they stabilize hard with their backs. They don’t know how to shut them off. They don’t know how to use their abs. They don’t even know how to tuck their chin.

I personally know an athlete who told me his professional career would have been over three years ago if he hadn’t come to work with us. That is amazing. #startedfromextensionnowwehere

I work with the people who wore down faster than their body could repair. The athletes who broke before their playing career was over. The athletes who never built a foundation.

P.S.  I’m currently working on a FREE product that'll teach you how to build the movement foundation of all movement foundations.  If you're interested in getting the goods, which you should be, then drop your email below and I'll send it to you once its ready:

about the author

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Lance Goyke, CSCS, is a Nerd Extraordinaire and secret admirer of lesbians everywhere whose expertise focuses on the human body. His clientele ranges from other trainers to kids to house moms to fighters to baseballers to anyone who needs to be taught how to exercise. Go invade his home base at www.LanceGoyke.com.

Why You MUST Train Your Abs

Note from James:  This is Lance's first post for Rebel Performance, and I have to say he knocks it out of the park.  Understanding why abs are important is vital for any and everything you want to do.  Be sure to listen up and ask questions below.

about the author

4bef86476243332d0681848e16f1df8b.jpeg

Lance Goyke, CSCS, is a Nerd Extraordinaire and secret admirer of lesbians everywhere whose expertise focuses on the human body. His clientele ranges from other trainers to kids to house moms to fighters to baseballers to anyone who needs to be taught how to exercise. Go invade his home base at www.LanceGoyke.com.

header photo credit:  Muscle and Fitness

Mastering the Pull Up: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Boss on the Bar

It was that time of year again. The time of year I lived for as an adolescent— the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. If you’re anything like I was as a child, ala overly competitive and highly energetic, you probably remember this test. It was the one time over the course of the year to lay your stakes as the most athletic kid in the class. Tests included things like the mile (which I hated), the sit and reach test (my greatest nemesis), push ups, sits ups and of the course….pull ups.

I’m not entirely sure how things turned out when I was 7, but I vividly remember my effort as an 8 year old. I had managed to pass the other tests with flying colors, and the only remaining obstacle in my way was the pull up.

I stood there evaluating the bar at the beginning of PE class (the best time of the week), eagerly waiting my turn. My name is called and I hop up on the bar—all I needed to do was 5 lousy pull-ups and I’d get one of those cool t-shirts signifying my supremacy.

As I completed rep numero three, I realized I was screwed: my muscles only had enough left for one rep. Sure enough I finish the fourth rep and hang onto the bar for dear life, attempting to will myself to the fifth rep. I probably started flinging and kicking like someone lit a fire beneath me, but to no avail. The fifth rep just wasn’t going to happen (it probably didn’t help that I felt the need to do a few warm up sets to show how cool I was).

I dropped down from the bar completely devastated and stormed off—and thus my obsession with pull ups began.

Be sure to head on over and checkout the rest of the article at Schwarzenegger.com.  I go over any and everything you need to know to become a pull up jedi master.

Mastering the 1-Arm Dumbbell Row

The 1-arm DB row is one of the greatest bang for your buck exercises you can be doing. For me it falls right up there with other big bang exercises like the squat, deadlift and press. Unfortunately, the 1-arm dumbbell row often gets overlooked because it’s deemed too “simple” and maybe even boring. It’s just human nature to favor the new over the old, and to always be looking for new and shiny ways to improve x, y or z, but I’m here to tell you to keep it simple.

If you want to get strong, if you want to get jacked, if you want to increase your performance in other lifts, then you need to be implementing the 1-arm dumbbell row.

That’s a quick snippet from an article I just wrote for Muscle and Strength on mastering the 1-arm DB row.

And when I say master, I mean master.  When you’re done reading the article you should be a rowing expert.  Well maybe not an expert because you’ll need some practice, but you’ll definitely be in the top 1% of people when it comes to knowing what the lift is and how to perform it correctly.

Seeing as the 1-arm DB row is one of the greatest bang for your buck exercises you can (and should) be doing, I highly recommend you head over and check it out:

Mastering the Dumbbell Row