Unassisted Pullups

I started this quest in January of 2007.  In the early days I weighed 345lbs and needed 5-6 huge rubber bands to help me get over the bar…or as Jer said a few of the boys to hoist me over that thing…lol.  As things progressed I needed fewer and fewer bands.  I was extremely close in September 2009 when I tore a tendon in my bicep right off the bone and was out of comission for 2 full weeks with a number more in rehab mode.  The good news was no surgery was required.  It frustrated me to no end for a bit but we need to work at the things we want to achieve and sometimes there are bumps in the road, you just have to deal with them.  As things started to heal and I was doing more and more with the arm again the bands started to reduce in number and thickness again.  I had hoped to do get an unassisted pullup in the fall but no go.  Let me explain my obsession with the pullup…it is one of the main reasons for the longest time I was not able to get a “P” (prescribed) workout at Crossfit and it drove me nuts since I was doing the proper weight and reps.  Fast forward to December 31, 2009 and a loosey goosey workout before the big party to ring in 2010.  Just before leaving the gym I walk up to the pullup bar not wanting to leave 2009 without having done at least 1 friggin unassisted pullup!  Here goes nothing and……………..BAM…….I GOT OVER THE BAR!!!!!!! 

Unassisted Pullup in action from Sunday Feb.28/10

Thank god there were two withnesses and then I proceeded to do two in a row and a few more singles.  Since then I never use bands and feel an extreme sense of pride everytime I do them.  For all those who want it bad like I did…it’s a matter of determination, practice and proper nutrition.  Add all of those together and off you go into the land of pullups and believe me, the grass is greener on this side.  You’ll notice in the picture I am wearing a neoprene brace on my left elbow, that is a result of the injury which sometimes can still bother me during or following a WOD (workout of the day).  I have about 90-95% strength back but it will never be the same as before.  So there you have the reason for my pullup obsession and why it was so important to me to get it done. Good luck to all still striving to get there and to those who got there before me…thanks for the motivation!




4 Comments on “Unassisted Pullups”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Hey Dan!

    first let me say how impressed I am by your determination!
    I have just sifted through most of your blog entries and this has started to renew my faith in will power for myself. You mentioned in an earlier blog you didn’t just wake up one day and figure this all out – i am so happy you said that because it is tough – and it does sometimes take many attempts to get on the right road. In the past i have not really been a dieter i have simply said i am a happy person and have great things in my life so what if i am overweight! But now looking at my life a little more in depth and still saying i am a happy person i realize the thing missing is the endurance or stamina to stay on par with today’s world and my family.
    I realize that just because i am happy ( i try to be a positive person by nature) it doens’t mean i am satisfied!
    Saying those words are hard – acknologding that we are not satisfied with ourselves is never easy, but none the less important to state.
    I have in the past year tried ( without success ) to clean up my act. I have to up front and say i don’t have the luxury of affording a gym membership – that’s just the way it is – but then my mind wonders and says ok well what can i do by myself?
    Doing this type of thing by yourself is never easy. i am sure you have great people around you motivating you all the time – what advice can you offer for someone who can’t afford to get into the gym and who is wanting to make a change but SOLO ( that to me is the super tough part ) going it alone making that leap and STICKING TO IT all on your own.

    ANyway, i am sure i could ramble forever about weight and life etc . . . but just know you have sparked something here for me – i think in order for me to start this journey i need to maybe do a journal and set up clear goals and timelines – not sure if that’s the approach you took. I thihnk as well i will need to start by writing out and planning down to the letter a meal plan ( with my restrictions in mind). I don’t know if that’s waht you suggest but my thought process tells me to get ready then DO!

    it was great to get this out! talk to you soon and keep on bloggin!


    • Steph I am so glad to read this post. This is why I share my journey, it’s to show a regular person who is ready to make better life choices for himslef/herself and family can do it. MOST IMPORTANTLY that it is a journey and at the beginning it will be hard and suck sometimes but if your are ready to write a new chapter in your life you can and will overcome those bumps in the road. You are on the right track with writting everything down and taking a look at your day to day activities, I would encourage you to do that with your food too. After one week you will see right away what can and should be cut out or at least reduced. The next step is writing down your goals. Make them REALISTIC and do them in phases. For the longest time my goal was to be healthier but that is too vague and hard to measure. Start small like 5-10lbs in the first month so you can see results and build on them. I did not start this off by having I want to lose 80 pounds as my only goal I had small ones in there. You need small victories to help motivate you to want more. As far as what you can do at home goes it can be as simple as taking a 30 minute walk 3-5 nights or days a week. You can also visit the Cornwall Crossfit site (www.cornwallcrossfit.com) and see what we are doing and try some of it at home. There are plenty of movements we do that do not require equipment (burpees, squats, pushups, lunges, situps, hollow rocks, planks and the list goes on). You can do these things at home. Keep track of what you are doing and try not to repeat the activities over and over. Mix it up and keep your body guessing which will produce more results. Keep this in mind…you CANNOT outwork bad eating habits so if you commit yourself to 3-5 workouts per week make sure you get those eating habits in check. I have adopted the Paleo diet as my new lifestyle since it is easy to follow and does not leave me hungry. Basically all that is allowed I can eat until I’m full and avoid the other stuff execpt on the cheat days. There is no one size fits all program so I recommend you do some research and find one you thnik can be done. You need to approach this as a lifestyle change and not a temporary diet since once you stop eating right and go off menu you’ll gain most if not all the weight back (it took me long to get this one through my thick skull). I hope this gives you a good start and I encourage you to share your successes and frustrations on my blog since someone reading it may be able to help as well with a quick comment or suggestion. I wish you the best on this journey and I am sure you have the determination to get it done. My kids help keep me motivated so your daughter will no doubt be a beacon for you. Thanks for following my journey and now becoming part of it. Together we can achieve great things! It takes a support network and I know some of the people you associate with and they will no doubt be there to encourage you.

      BE GREAT!


  2. Nicole says:

    Very impressed Dan. Setting goals is key. I have started a 101 list – which is 101 things I want to do in 1001 days. One of these things is 20 pullups kipping – I would be happy doing these kipping pullups with the black band – but I’m confident I may be able to do it without the band with proper nutrition and practice. We will see!!!

  3. Nicole I have zero doubt you will get that done WITHOUT the black band before your 101 days are up. Practice, eat well and stay focused and it will be within your grasp before you know it.

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