Women can’t do Pull-ups? Watch them.

You know, I’m sick and tired of all the sexism, brainwashing, and fear-mongering that has pervaded the fitness community. I’m tired of women being told they’re weak, shouldn’t strength train, and can’t do hard exercises like pull-ups and chin-ups among others. Or, even worse, that they shouldn’t even try to get stronger.

I’m also sick of hearing the myth that women will somehow magically “bulk up” and practically turn into the Incredible Hulk just by looking at a pull-up bar, thinking about lifting weights, or otherwise exerting themselves against any resistance whatsoever. Somehow, our culture has convinced many women that trying to do these things is unladylike, and will make them less attractive or even undesirable. What a bunch of you know what.

Listen. These negative beliefs are harming women in more ways than just physically. And today, I’d like to present my response to the myth that women can’t do pullups. So…

Here are 20 Women Who CAN Do Pull-ups and Make Them Look Easy

Women CAN perform difficult exercises such as pull-ups. Like this young lady, Crystal West, who manages to do 39 reps in one set at the age of 46. Yep. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

And coincidentally, here’s another 46-year old who nails 18 pull-ups in her laundry room of all places. And you can be the judge on whether or not she’s gotten big and bulky from all that strength training she’s done over the years.

I kept thinking that this gal was going to stop, but she just keeps going and going and going…

Here are a few ladies that weren’t heavy enough to do normal pull-ups…

This young lady nails 8.5 neutral grip pull-ups without a lifting belt, gloves, straps, or a weightlifting suit…

This lady’s chin-up training secret: high-heel boots and business casual…

4 pull-ups with 90 pounds of extra weight plates…’nuf said.

Natalie nails 5 reps of a very challenging pull-up variation: rope pull-ups…

Shawna Kaminski, a 49-year old mother of two, makes 20 pull-ups look easy…

Miss Z impresses some Marines with 12 chin-ups, which is 12 more than a woman needs to be able to do in order to be a Marine nowadays.

This lady installed her pull-up bar in an ideal location – right next to a big bay window for all the world to see her cranking out reps…

Here is Crystal West again, having a bit too much fun on the pull-up bar with some freestyle practice. Doesn’t she know that strength training is supposed to be boring?

16 narrow-grip pull-ups, and she didn’t even need a training partner to assist her…

Please allow me to introduce you to the incredible Hulk…

Ring pull-ups are a particularly challenging version because they’re so unstable, but Jen Ferrugia performs them like a champ…

Just another easy 18 pull-ups…

Beth thought she’d be done after 20 seconds, but she blew right through that…

Aussie Jess nails 15 chinups from down under despite her cameraman’s various… ahem, noises…

Nothing to see here. Just 19 strict, deadhang pull-ups with great technique…

And finally, everyone at Crossfit has been wondering why you can’t do pull-ups. Just sayin’.

Now, if you’re a woman, and you have two good arms, then please don’t tell me you can’t do pull-ups because you can – you really can. Just not yet.

And if you’re not a woman, then please don’t perpetuate the myth that “women can’t do pull-ups” because if I overhear that at the gym, I might just sucker-punch you. Ok, maybe not. I’m really not prone to violent tendencies, and I don’t even have a gym membership. But I would make sure to vehemently bust that myth. Kindof like what I just did right now.

So, let me tell you something true. Women are NOT inherently weak. Women are strong and can get much stronger and still look ladylike with proper training. Also, women who do strength training never wake up the next morning and look like a bodybuilder with big, bulky muscles (how many of the strong women in the videos above looked all swole, anyway?). In fact, women who want to get leaner, toned, tightened up, or slimmed down are usually best-served by a strenuous strength training program. So, don’t let anyone tell you that those little pink weights at the end of the dumbbell rack are the end-all, be-all for you. You are capable of so much more than you think. And the truth is, women need strength training just as much as men do.

So, don’t you dare tell me that women – or anyone else for that matter – can’t do pull-ups. Puh-leeez!

Closing Thoughts

Fortunately, not everyone in the world believes all that nonsense about women being inherently weak. And one of those people is Caitlin Constantine, who penned this gem in an article for the Huffington Post…

If we want to know what women are truly capable of, we have got to stop with this bull**** that says physical strength and its signifiers will somehow diminish a woman’s beauty and femininity. (Ideally it would be nice if we could stop acting as though beauty and femininity are the only things women have to offer the world, but baby steps, yo. Baby steps.) This idea that upper body strength is reserved only for men, and that women shouldn’t dare investigate it for fear of blurring the supposedly rock-solid gender binary… is ridiculous.

Right now we live in a world where women hear that muscular arms are gross, that we shouldn’t lift weights in case we get too big, that we should only do exercises to elongate our muscles, that we should never eat anything that isn’t a salad, or if we do eat cheeseburgers and steaks, we should make sure we never weigh more than 120 pounds. And then that same culture turns around and says, “Ha! We told you you were weak! This is why you shouldn’t be allowed to do anything but have babies and make sandwiches.” There is simply no way to win this game, which is why I — and lots of other women — find it easier just to opt out and do our own thing.

So, here’s to doing your own thing, whether you’re on the pull-up bar or off it. At the very least, I hope you’ve learned that a lot more women can do pull-ups than you might think. Now, I’m not saying they’re easy – for anyone, male or female – but if you train properly, practically anyone can build up to am impressive number of pull-ups in due time – male, female, old, young, fat or fit – anyone can get better at pull-ups.

Now, if you’ve been struggling with pull-ups and you’d like to finally get your first one, or break through a plateau to score your first 10, 20, or more reps, then check out the most effective pull-up training system ever created at the link below:

Click Here to Learn More About the Most Effective Pull-up Training System Ever Created

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Health-First Fitness Coach

P.S. And by the way, Old Guys Can do Pull-ups, Too!

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P.P.P.S. I was inspired to share this post because there was a NY Times article circulating the web awhile back, where the author claimed that women can’t do pull-ups and should stop trying because they’re inherently weak and should just accept it. He even cited a research study from the University of Dayton where some scientists with PhD’s couldn’t get several of their test subjects to get better at pull-ups after three months of resistance training. And he even downplayed the women who did get better at pull-ups. Now, I don’t have a PhD in anything. So, take this with a grain of salt, but methinks those scientists should have turned in their lab coats and hired a strength coach right from the start, but I digress.

References:

Huffington Post Article “Women’s Difficulty With Pull-Ups Is About More Than Biology” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caitlin-constantine/womens-difficulty-with-pu_b_4569911.html

NY Times Article “Why Women Can’t Do Pullups” – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/why-women-cant-do-pull-ups/

 

3 Responses

  1. Needed this, thankyou :)

  2. Miss Z does 16 chin ups, not 12. Very impressve.

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