My Michigan J. Frog Pull-Ups

OK, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with pull-ups for pretty much my whole life. Unrequited love at that because despite my attentions they totally forsake me. It all began with the Presidential Fitness test back in grade school. Remember that one? I don’t recall all of the events, but I remember the two worst: the mile run and pull-ups. Our pull-up bar was in a dark, dusty corner of the balcony of the gymnasium. I think it was 15 feet high or something like that. The gym teacher always had to lift me up to the bar and I could never even hold myself up there. Total humiliation and shame. Woe is me.

Fast forward to two years ago when I stumbled onto CrossFit. Whoa! Chicks doing pull-ups? Chicks doing LOTS of pull-ups! Well, I thought, if they can do it maybe I can do it too. So I started doing jumping pull-ups, ring rows, bar rows, jumping kipping pull-ups, band pull-ups. Nothing, nada, zip. Two friggin’ years. Admittedly, my dedication wavered here and there and I’m sure if I had been more consistent I would have hit them by now.

Then one day last summer, I grabbed the bar in the basement on a whim and tried a dead hang. Bang, I did one! Then I couldn’t do another to save my life. Fast forward to last week – I was rearranging things in the basement and I needed to test the position of the bar. I grabbed it, did a little kip and up I went to the bar. Not quite believing that had happened, I did another, and another. Three kipping pull-ups! My mom happened to be in the basement the next day and I hopped up on the bar, eager to show off my new skill. You guessed it – nothing. I wound up hanging in the air halfway up, my feet windmilling furiously. 

This Saturday evening I set up my not-quite-up-to-safety-codes bar in my bedroom and tried a deadhang. Right up. Then another, then another. Three deadhangs in a row. Booyah! I did another the next morning, two more that night, and another this morning before CrossFit. So, as you can imagine, I was eager to have witnesses to this feat. So before we warmed up this morning I jumped on the bar, and – nothing! WTF? My pull-ups are approaching mythical status. Things rumored of but never really seen. Like dragons, unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, and an honest politician. 

It reminds me of one of my all time favorite cartoons: “One Froggy Evening” by the Looney Tunes crew. The premise is a guy finds a singing, dancing frog and tries to cash in on the novelty. But the frog will only sing and dance for him, as soon as someone else is watching he just sits and croaks. So, my pull-ups are like Michigan J. Frog, witnessed by only a privileged few.

So what was the workout today? You guessed it, pull-ups! We did a pull-up ladder. One pull-up the first minute, two the second minute, etc. I made it to eleven minutes, plus 10 reps in the twelfth minute. Then I did rounds of four, five and six, and started over with the rest of them on round five. So I did a total of  136 pull-ups, all assisted with the blue band.


2 thoughts on “My Michigan J. Frog Pull-Ups

  1. It’s been a while since I checked in here. In a couple days after our hands aren’t so sensitive from 150 pullups lets work on your kipping pullups. There’s no way we can’t get you at least 3 in a row when you can do 11 rounds with just the blue band…

    I know you are strong enough to do pullups. I believe in singing frogs.

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