My family and I spent a bit of time in the mountains around Independence Day. It was a great trip and we were blessed to have friends and family for guests most of that time.
One of my favorite young people, my 11 year old niece, came along for a few of those days. When she walked into the cabin, she saw my pull up bar in one of the doorways and asked what it was for. I told her it was what I used for one of my exercises and demonstrated pull ups using different grips so she could see what I was talking about. She looked at me for a minute and said “I can’t do pull ups.” I told her she most certainly could and that the only reason she couldn’t is that she thought she couldn’t.
I explained that she probably only tried to use her arms to accomplish the task and explained that what she should be thinking about is using her back muscles (which are much stronger) to help her get her chest up to the bar. I could tell she was contemplating that for a while.
The next day, my younger son and I were doing a workout. We’ve been concentrating on compound, large muscle group exercises to help him make an easy transition into his upcoming football season and she asked to join us. I told her that would be fine but pull ups were part of the routine and that she had to try. She agreed and did a great job keeping up with what we were doing. I modified some of the exercises for her (like having her do bent knee push ups) so that she’d be successful and before long, it was time for pull ups. I told her once again that she absolutely COULD do pull ups and reminded her to visualize using the muscles in her back.
Lo and behold, she did not one, not two but three complete pull ups! They weren’t consecutive but each one was perfect. I gave her lots of praise and made sure that everyone knew about her little victory. I was very proud of her and she was proud of herself. I joked with her about getting her a pull up bar for Christmas and turning her into a workout phenom.
When it was time to go home, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Auntie Lynn…I really DO want a pull up bar for Christmas.”
…and a pull up bar, she shall receive! There’s nothing I like better than passing on my love for fitness.