Mad-Eye Maryann and the Quest for One Measly Pull Up

After reaching my buff-ness peak last summer just before my wedding, my fitness has plummeted like a rock off of a cliff (awesome simile!).  Getting or staying fit is so much easier when you have specific goals to motivate you, so for the past month I’d been trying to figure out what mine would be.

Some of the contenders:

  • Run a half-marathon in under 2 hours
  • “Run” a full marathon
  • Complete a triathlon (any size)
  • Lose the 8(!) pounds I’ve gained in the last 7 months (the marriage penalty is alive and well in many senses)

Over the past 5 years, I’ve managed to run 5 half marathons, do 2 rounds of p90x, and lose dozens of pounds, so these seemed like perfectly natural and admirable ambitions.  But somehow they felt hollow.  Like I was being distracted by the matrix of gadgets and technology and the allure of meaningless man-made distinctions. Like I was missing something fundamental and primal, a basic skill that would see me fit to survive (Darwin-style) if I ever found myself in the 76th Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games: I survived the reaping

Click photo to get the t-shirt (

Yeah yeah, running and swimming might also help in the arena – my imagery is not so perfect today.  But back to the point…

I realized what I needed to do next.

ONE Pull Up.

Just one.  I vaguely recall doing two! during the fourth grade physical fitness test, and then approximately zero since.  Luckily I’ve encountered a lot of inspiration and direction on the internets, and for the only time in the history of Mad-Eye web-searchitude, much of the advice actually agrees with each other.

How to Do a Pull Up when You Can’t Do One
Trusty e-how informs me that this is Difficulty: Moderately Challenging. Gee, thanks e-how.

How To Do Pull-ups and Chin-ups With Proper Technique tells you NOT to use an assisted pull up machine – instead have resistance bands or a friend help you out until you can do it on your own.  I don’t have a gym membership anyway, so this is great news for me and my doorway pull up bar!

Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done!  I really really wish this were my blog.  With articles like Should You Use the Force and How to Write Your Own Epic Destiny, this is niche targeting at its best.  My marketing/StarWars geeking out aside, this article gives a step-by-step progression from free-weight back exercises, to losing extra pounds, to doing chair/friend assisted pullups, to doing negative pullups, to finally doing your first pull up.

If you are still reading, congrats!  You have earned this delectable visual treat…

The “Before”

In case you were thinking that I’m in better pull-up shape than you, I enter into evidence this footage to bust that myth right quick.  Apologies in advance for the noises (awkward)

Recorded in HD, for your split-end viewing pleasure

Because the key to an amazing “after” is an equally amazing “before”!

3 Thoughts on “Mad-Eye Maryann and the Quest for One Measly Pull Up

  1. Pingback: Fishing… for comments | Mad-Eye Maryann

  2. Pingback: Q1 goals monthly check-up: How am I doing? | Mad-Eye Maryann

  3. Pingback: Up-hill battle: Pull-up progress | Mad-Eye Maryann

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