NINJA: Pull-ups

NinjaPhoto by: orvaratli

*What started out as a $15 thrift store purchase has turned into a regular ninja training phenomenon.  I found this cantilever door-frame pull-up bar at our local thrift store.  Scott, in the office next to mine contributed a suitable replacement for a missing bolt. Nuts were tightened against lock washers and we were in business.

*As soon as this bar went up, it garnered attention.  First, people wanted to know how it worked and whether it was safe.  After reviewing the physics behind the design and witnessing live stress tests (grown men doing actual pull-ups), most people came to trust the fact that this device was capable of supporting their hanging weight and could safely weather additional stresses during exercise.

ScottScott Enjoying The Bar He Helped Rehab

*Then, the thing became irresistible.  You can’t walk by one of these without thinking about jumping up and grabbing the handles.  Older folks in the office wanted to see if they could still do a pull-up.  Younger folks come by on their breaks to crank out quick sets.  Our section’s secretary has an injured back.  She comes by twice a day to hang from the bar and let gravity help her stretch.   My boss, who is rehabbing his shoulder, uses the bar to stretch his arm.

Ms KimMs. Kim Stretching Her Back

*Me, I have been using the bar to reward myself for finishing projects.  Whenever, I cross something off of my list, I do a set of pull-ups.  I rotate through four different positions  and increase the number of reps with each new set.  For example, after finishing my first project of the day, I do a set of 6 standard grip pull-ups.  After completing my second project, I do a quick set of 7 narrow grip pull-ups.  After the next set, I grab the handles and do a set of 8 pull-ups.  You get the idea.

*For a more intense version of this type of workout you may want to experiment with synaptic facilitation techniques, such as Pavel’s Grease the Groove training method.

*I have also been adding isometric training to the end of my sets.  On my last rep, I hold the up position for 6s, lower to a bent arm position, hold for 6s, then drop to near the bottom of the pull-up and hold for 6s.

DonDon Cranking Out a Set of Pull-ups

*Putting up a doorway pull-up bar in your office, apartment, home, or garage is not a stealthy ninja trick.  Everyone will know what you are up to.  Rather, you are using ninja mind control for good and not evil.  What starts out as a curiosity, becomes an irresistible urge.  Each time you walk under the bar, you will feel a subtle force drawing you toward a quick set of pull-ups (we haven’t even discussed knee raises, L-sits, or twists).  Plus, if people know that you have a contraption like that hanging from your door, there is social pressure to use it.  Let them know that your goal is 20 pull-ups and that social pressure will motivate you to exercise on your breaks at work, during television commercials, or on your way in and out of a room (sorry Mom…those fingerprints on the ledge above the stairs leading down to my bedroom – that was me).


12 responses to “NINJA: Pull-ups

  1. We have one of these at our apartment and my husband and his friends use it all the time! I completely agree with putting them up at offices – a very good idea!

  2. OK, that does NOT look safe! 🙂

  3. I’d like to point out that ninjas know best. If a ninja tells me to do a pull up, I will do a pull up. In my family it was never, “Mama knows best.”, it was “The awesome ninja down the street that sometimes jumps on our trampoline knows best.” And that ninja would totally endorse pull ups. As Vanilla Ice would say, “Go ninja, go ninja, GO!”

    • Ninjas do know best. My good friend Mark, the Alaskan Ninja is the mad genius that inspired these posts. He showed me the way of the ninja, when we were in a tough work situation together…my life has never been the same. Your blog made me laugh…I can relate to culture shock…I can’t relate to dating an Ajuma…how’s that going for you?

      • Alaskan ninjas are an unusual, but highly gifted, breed of ninja. Dating an ajuma (Korean for old lady for those non-Korean speakers) can be a wonderful experience if you can get past the perms and purple jump suits. This particular ajuma reads your blog, particularly the posts about stretching. Frankly speaking, your blog has saved our love life. Thank you.

      • They have strange and magical powers those Ajumas…all the best to you and yours.

  4. Those are great, I got one I put up in my bedroom (sometimes take down to close door).

    Only thing is, you need a solid doorframe. Flimsy old weak ones creak and make you worry they will fall off. I fully expect mine to eventually (so I don’t use that one to do fun stuff like hang upside down, that’s for the more solid one mounted no the inner frame with bolts) and will have to nail in repair frame I guess.

    • stoffainkorea

      Great points. Also, because these are a cantilever design, make sure that just above your door frame is solid and not just wall board.

  5. a better pullup bar:

  6. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Cheers

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