Learn a Navy SEAL’s go-to Methods for Quickly and Efficiently Improving Pull-up Performance for a Physical Fitness Test
Veteran Navy SEAL Lieutenant, Stew Smith.
Whether you’re in the military, law enforcement, the firefighting community, or another physically-demanding vocation – or you want to be – this interview is chock-full of tips and strategies to help you improve your pull-up performance in preparation for a Physical Fitness Test (PFT).
Maybe you’re just hoping to pass your PT test or perhaps you want to compete with the best of the best in the Navy SEALs. Regardless, if you want to improve your pulling strength and gain the ability to do more pull-ups with ease, you’ll learn some advanced yet simple training strategies from this interview with veteran Navy SEAL, Stew Smith.
Funny story. Stew actually wrote the first fitness program I ever followed. It was his book, Maximum Fitness: The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Cross Training. I used that program back when I was in high school as my primary workout system for about three years, while I was a cadet in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. This was the first time I had ever stuck with a comprehensive training program over the long term, and I got superb results from it.
I actually went and dug up my old training journal notes (yes, I STILL have them), and here’s how my PT numbers improved after just the first 13 weeks on Stew’s program, which was a calisthenics-focused phase (note: I didn’t have exact figures for my starting points):
-Pull-ups – started at 6-7 sloppy reps, after 3 months…31 reps!
-Pushups – started at 25ish reps, after 3 months…110 reps in 2 minutes!
-Sit-ups – started at 30-40ish reps, after 3 months…120 in 2 minutes!
-Ab Crunches – started at 40-50ish reps, after 3 months…220 in 2 minutes!
Needless to say, a few months on one of Stew’s programs was enough to get me ready to ace my Sea Cadet PFTs!
Continue reading Interview with Navy SEAL, Stew Smith, about Pull-up Training
Solving the Strength-Endurance Conundrum: Why Strength is More Important Than Endurance For Building Strength-Endurance (How to Build Strength-Endurance for Pull-ups and Chin-ups)
Kettlebell sport and timed sets, in general, are an example of strength-endurance in action. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ambernussbaum/
I was having a little chat with Jeff Kuhland about pull-up training and something we discussed was that many intermediate trainees completely ignore their strength capacity when trying to build endurance in this exercise. They get stuck in this perpetual cycle, thinking that if they need more endurance, then the best thing to do is to only train endurance. But that’s not exactly true, and it could be a big mistake if your actual goal is to increase your strength-endurance.
strength-endurance: the ability to apply strength via muscular contractions over a sustained or prolonged period of time.
Obviously, this is a subjective term, and different people use it to describe different things. But when it comes to actually applying training methods to build strength-endurance, it seems that most people just don’t get it, especially outside of the realm of weightlifting.
So, today, I’m going to remind you that if you want to build your strength-endurance, then much of your focus should probably be on strength training.
Allow me to explain with an example.
Which of These Identical Twins Has More Strength-Endurance?
Let’s say that we have two identical twins. They are the same height, weight, body composition, and they even have the same exact birthday. Plus, they’re both from New England and say, “wicked smaht” a whole lot.
Now, for example purposes, let’s assume that these twins are exactly the same in every way, except for one critical difference. Twin A can deadlift 405 pounds for a single (i.e., his one-rep max). Whereas, Twin B can only deadlift 315 pounds (i.e., his one-rep max). In other words, Twin A can deadlift 90 pounds more than Twin B, and is stronger than Twin B, at least in this particular lift.
So, here’s the question of the hour: which one of them likely has more strength-endurance? In other words, if we loaded up a barbell with 225 pounds, who do you think could deadlift it for more reps?
Continue reading How to Break a Fitness Plateau by Building Strength-Endurance
Break Your Pull-up Training Plateau and Work Your Way up to Doing Sets of 20-30+ Pull-ups Using These Tips From Jeff “50+ Pull-ups” Kuhland
Jeff Kuhland – NSCA-CSCS, MovNat Trainer, Pull-up Training Expert
I got a chance to train with Jeff Kuhland at a 5-day MovNat retreat back in 2009, and have kept in touch with him off and on ever since. Jeff is not only a wealth of training knowledge, but he is also a humble coach, too. I actually interviewed him last year all about his approach to training, and about MovNat, in particular (click here to check out the first interview). So, I won’t rehash his long list of accomplishments and credentials today.
Now, in this interview, our topic was strictly pull-ups and chin-ups. You see, I read an article that Jeff wrote for BreakingMuscle.com all about his unique approach to pull-up training. He shared some really good tips and a few interesting ideas in that article, but what really caught my attention was one of his responses to a comment on that page. Someone was asking for advice on breaking through a pull-up training plateau, and Jeff replied…
Naturally, this piqued my curiosity, not only because of Jeff’s impressive accomplishment, but also because of the distinction between training for pull-up strength versus training for endurance – and how the strength training needs of an athlete change as they start building their numbers. This is an approach that I’ve used myself, but is rarely shared in detail online. And I wanted to get to the bottom of it from someone who knows.
Continue reading Interview with Jeff Kuhland about Pull-up Training
Watch This 16-Year Old Girl, Gabi Ury, DOUBLE The Guinness World Record For The Plank Exercise: Learn How She Did It, Why She Did It, And What YOU Can Learn From This Special Young Lady
There are people who break world records. Sure. They may be few and far between, but they’re out there. Then again, there are people who absolutely shatter a world record – even doubling it – and all the while making it look easy. Gabi Ury is one of those people.
A few weeks ago, 16-year old Gabi Ury broke the Guinness World Record for the longest time spent in the abdominal plank position (female). To get right to it, she held a plank for a mind-boggling 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 2 seconds. And get this. She only spent six months preparing for it. But it gets better. Not only did she achieve this incredible athletic feat, but she also managed to raise over $50,000 for a local charity – a children’s hospital that has helped her all her life.
You see, Gabi was born with some special needs, including a severe case of scoliosis, and a condition called VATER syndrome, which affects her spine, limbs, and muscles in various ways. In fact, she is completely missing her calf muscles, glute muscles, and some of her abs, too. On her website, you’ll learn that even at just 16 years of age, she’s had 14 major surgeries to date – just to “live a healthy, happy life.” Her first was a spinal surgery at four months old.
But this young lady didn’t let any of that stop her from breaking a Guinness World Record by leaps and bounds. She held a plank for double the previous record (set by Eva Bulzomi at 40 minutes, 1 second), and Gabi did it as part of her 16th birthday celebration.
You can learn more about her journey to the world record in the video below.
Continue reading 16-Year Old Girl Totally Shatters The Plank World Record
Are knuckle pushups really all they’re cracked up to be, and are knuckle pushups actually tougher than regular pushups? Which is better? Is one better? I answer all of those questions in this video…
Knuckle pushups. They’re the subject of many heated Internet discussions. And nobody invited me! Apparently, some people simply think that knuckle pushups are better than traditional pushups, and I don’t know why. Maybe they have big egos and small…err…nevermind. Anyway, since one of you asked me a couple weeks ago, I thought you’d like to know that they’re both great exercises – each with their own unique advantages – and I think it’s silly to say that one is simply better than the other.
That said, there are some things you might want to know if you’re considering the knuckle pushup. They do have their perks, and I have my reasons, which you can learn all about in the video below…
Continue reading Knuckle Pushups VS Traditional Pushups: Which is Better?