Adrien Cotton, MASTER Menopause NOW!

Conquering the Pull Up: How You Can Write Your Story of Strength

Have you ever seen a woman doing a pull up? What do you say to yourself when you see her conquering that movement?

“I’ll never do that.”

“I wonder how I could do that.”

“Why in the world would I want to work that hard?”

“What benefit would I really get from a pull up?”

“That looks impossible.”

But what if it were possible? I’ll show you how to break it down into manageable steps and achieve something you never thought you could do.

Never fear. This is NOT…I repeat NOT a nudge that everyone should be doing pull ups as part of their exercise program. Did I just hear audible sighs of relief? Rest assured, this is a different type of Call to Action – this is for those who are “pull up curious.” 

This is for someone who may want to try a different approach to her training and exercise program. This is for someone who has believed she couldn’t do pull ups, yet with the right coaching (hello! 👋), may consider giving it a go. This is for someone who has tried it all and is still wondering why her body doesn’t show it. 

After lots of preparation, dedication, and work, members of our awesome community will PULL ONE OUT! It typically happens when they  least expect it, when no one is watching, and yes after TONS of prep. And guess what? With coaching and perseverance, you can do a pull up too!

Preparing to do a pull up is like writing a book versus writing just one chapter. The book is the whole thing, while each chapter is an important part of the story. The pull up IS the story. 

Just like a book is a combination of chapters leading to a conclusion, a pull up is the combination of a myriad of exercises leading to great strength. The chapters of our pull up story include plot elements like the row, the plank, and the hang. 

The benefits of putting these pieces together to form your pull up story go beyond the satisfaction and strength you’ll feel. Physically we are intended to hold our hands overhead and carry things overhead.  However, if we don’t practice this movement, we may get injured – we might pull a muscle putting luggage overhead or feel pain when we place a heavy can on a high pantry shelf. Daily, we find ourselves needing to extend our arms overhead, yet we rarely practice this movement in our training. As a result, women in midlife tend to suffer shoulder challenges and even end up in the surgeon’s office.

A pull up can help OPEN UP your shoulders to a new way of behaving and build strength throughout your body,and achieving a pull up brings a huge confidence boost along with it.

In order to complete your pull up story, the following themes are necessary and too often overlooked:

  1. REAL desire to pull up chest to bar. Only those of us who practice can share that elation, that exuberance, the feeling of accomplishment of looking over the bar.
  2. Determination to DO THE WORK. Those who understand challenges take work are the perfect candidates to work towards completing a pull up. We’ll have good days and not-so-good days. It’s okay. We are on the journey and we learn more from the not-so-good days. 
  3. Commitment. A commitment is different than a decision. While I may hear a woman say she has decided it is time to feel fit and look great, it is a completely different story when someone  commits to prioritizing herself  and making the pull up a top goal for her fitness. 

Prioritizing your wellness is the basis of my program. Feeling our best in midlife can be tough. All of the tricks we employed during our twenties and thirties now fail us. So how can we really feel good? At Adrien Cotton Wellness, our community bands together to support one another in our journey to find SERIOUS strength, a new brand of wellness that suits our individual lives.

A commitment is more than a decision. Writing a book is more than writing a chapter. So often we decide we want this or that for our wellness, yet we don’t make the commitment to make the changes necessary to achieve them. Old habits die hard…I mean how many times have you thought you really wanted something for your wellness, then something else got in the way? 

I get philosophical about strength and strength training. I have been on this road for over twenty years, and I’ve worked with thousands of women who have written their own unique stories. I’ve helped them overcome dinosaur thinking about their well-being and have helped them to feel good in their bodies – and minds. And I’ve even taught them how to achieve a pull up. 

And yes, vertical pull ups are tough. Pulling our bodies in an upward motion while remaining vertical is not an everyday activity, but by carefully assembling each component with an eye to completing the full story, we can and will achieve the goal. 

The chapters in your pull up story need to, at a minimum, include the following:

  • Plank. I’d like to see you complete a solid plank for at least one minute before you attempt any of the following.   
  • Hang. I recommend being able to dead hang for at least 30 seconds. After all, grip strength is not only an indicator of longevity, it is essential to a pull up OR you’ll lose your grip!! (Watch this movement here!)
  • Scapular hang. This means retracting your shoulders as if they become one with your ribcage while you hang. This isn’t easy, but with practice and support you can do it. (Watch this movement here!)
  • Flexed Arm Hang. The “time under tension” we experience with a flexed arm hang will help you (and your brain) experience the feeling of being above the bar and will build massive amounts of strength in every cell of your body. (Watch this movement here!)
  • Row. A pull up is a vertical row, so include rowing in every training session. I love rows with a band, a bar, a dumbbell, anything really. Just get into position and pull those shoulders back and squeeze those often-ignored muscles, the lats!

Put all these movements together, and you have your pull up!

Now that you know all of the elements of the pull up, start writing your story of strength. Begin with a commitment to doing a plank and continue with hangs and rows. I’d love to support you in your tale of strength and confidence. Connect with me so we can discuss how to author your happily ever after.

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