August 6, 2012
August 10, 2012

Since last Tuesday was push press, that must mean this Tuesday would be pull-ups. Why? All in the name of gettin’ swole.

 Inchworm 1/2 Ct, 10 squats; 
Bear Crawl 1/2 Ct, 10 squats; 
Carioca Left Full Ct, Carioca Right Full Ct, 10 squats; 
then, calf/Achilles stretch and cross-body leg swings against the wall 

Strict Pull-Ups & Wall Walks

Class kicked off with a 15min Block of strict pull-ups, with each set of pull-ups followed by two wall walks. The rep scheme for the pull-ups was laid out as follows:

  • 0 pull-ups = 2 negatives, with no more than a total of 12 negatives total for the workout. Negatives should be between 3 to 5 seconds to lower; if you can’t control the negative, then scale to 1 at a time, and if that isn’t controlled enough, then work supine bar rows on the parallel bars. 
  • 1-3 pull-ups = minimum of 3 pull-ups, so complete as many as possible, making up the deficit with negatives (so, if you get 1 pull-up, perform 2 negatives, or if you get 2 pull-ups, perform just 1 negative).

  • 3-9 pull-ups = aim a few (~two) reps short of failure each time – i.e., if you know you can get a solid 5 pull-ups, then ideally you would aim to complete 3 reps each time, as this would maximize the total number of pull-ups you could potentially achieve (as opposed to going to failure each time, which would cause your reps to drop sharply after the first one or two sets). 
  • 10+ pull-ups – AMRAP each set; simply go for broke each time you got on the bar.

Each set of pull-ups was followed by two wall-walks, which were done wherever you could find available wall space was. The standard, per the usual, was “hands as close to the wall as is manageable/comfortable,” with the goal for each person being to maintain good body position (tight mid-line maintained through-out the movement) wile working to an endpoint that suited their own ability.

With 20+ people in each class, everyone received a healthy dose of rest before jumping back up on the bar. At the close of 15 minutes, everyone was given a short break to hydrate before class was divvied up for the met-con.

800m Run, 70/55/40 Push-Ups (with 10 jump squat penalty), 800m Run 

Before the met-con began, class was split into 3 groups: those who thought they could comfortably complete 20+ push-ups in one go, those who felt they could complete roughly 15 push-ups at one go, and those who were at sub-10 push-ups at a time. These groups were then assigned different rep ranges for the push-ups during the met-con: 20+ = 70 push-ups; 15 = 55 push-ups; <10 =40 push-ups.

Everyone started off with an 800m Block Run. Once back in the door, drop to the floor and begin your push-ups. You could rest in the plank position, but every break in the push-ups (knees touch the floor) was accompanied by a 10 jump squat penalty. Once your assigned push-up block had been complete, it was back out the door for another 800m block run to wrap things up.

A few nice runs to mix things up on Big Swole Tuesday. See you all on Thursday.



  1. Steph says:

    Nice to have running in a class workout! Hope we’ll get to run more once the weather gets cooler! This was a tough workout to come back to, and the run at the end killed me, almost barfed my way up the last hill. I’m back to 0 pull-ups, not even a chin-up last night. Ah, the sucky part of not able to work out when traveling for work. Looking forward to be put on the pull-up program!

    It’s good to be back. See everyone on Thursday! Thank you all for the warm welcome-back!

  2. Katie says:

    It’s great to have you back, Steph!

    I did a total of 10 chin-up negatives, and was able to keep good control until the last 2 rounds, when I went to 1 negative per round. I still can’t do wall walkers…I see stars and feel like I’m going to crash headfirst into the floor.

    I knew I couldn’t do 40 regular push-ups for the metcon, so I did 40 from my knees, and broke twice for a total of 20 jump squats. After coming in last from the first run and then finishing my push-ups before most people, I realized I scaled down too much, so I did another 20 knee push-ups and 10 jump squats after the run.

    I agree, it was good to run again…I can’t belive I’m saying that. :o) Perhaps after I achieve my pull-up goal I’ll sign up for a 5K and focus on running more.

  3. Andraea says:

    Great class last night! Always a fan of pull-up work since I really need it. Although I was a bit sore from doing pull-ups on Monday since I had missed the Sunday class but they are such a struggle that I need all the practice I can get. I got to give it up to Mackenzie who was banging out the pull-ups last night! You are definitely motivating me to get a pull-up bar for my house. That’s my goal for this weekend!

    I did manage to get 2 pull-ups for the first 2 rounds, then I got 1 each round and then the last round sadly I didn’t get any. Wall walkers were feeling better last night, it’s definitely a fear thing I have but I’m slowly getting there.

    Metcon was rough but so rewarding to get through it!. Those push-ups were killer, getting a bit sore now, I’m sure it’ll be worse later on.

    Great job everyone!

  4. Erica says:

    Last night was humbling, two of the movements I struggle most with. I am working on pull ups with an overhand group, so have zero of those, so did 6 rounds of 2 negatives.

    The metcon was rough for me. I was the third person in on the first run and the third to LAST person to finish. Pushups are a true weakness of mine. I could only get 3 rounds of 7, before dropping to rounds of 5, and then at the end 2 or 3. Seriously rough. Something to work on 🙂

  5. Tom Brose says:

    Its frustrating to hit the muscular endurance wall on both pushups and pullups. There is just nothing you can do except wait (and throw in some jump squats) until the ATP recharges in the muscle. For people used to the limitation being total systemic burnout, breathing fine and NOT being miserable, yet unable to move ahead can be the worst.

    One of the lessons to be learned from a workout like this is when to game it a little, and not take a set to failure. Maybe backing off 1 or 2 reps shy will break things up more, but often once you’re “done”, things fall apart and don’t regroup very well. The way Erica broke it up probably was a lot smarter than going to failure right away and doing something like 12-4-2-1-1-1- etc. Also, failed reps are a KILLER in a workout like this, even more so with ring dips or HSPU.

    Use workouts like this not just to get stronger, but to learn where your margins are. Its OK to crash and burn now and then, but it should always be a process of testing and remembering where that happens.

  6. Kenna says:

    Steph, totally agree with work travel being sucky! I am definitely feeling the four+ weeks I’ve had to travel this summer. I hope to stay in town for awhile…

    That said, I literally couldn’t straighten my arms when I got out of bed this morning! This workout focused on a lot of my weaknesses (pull ups aka negatives, and push ups, agh). It’s always motivating to see all the gals doing pull ups, major props! I’ve actually been able to see a huge difference on wall walkers. I enjoyed the running too, even though I’m a slowpoke. I did 40 pushups (on my kneees, still not whole on those) with 30 jump squats, I think the clock said 15:00 even when I came back around for the second round.

  7. Mark Minukas says:

    Tom – I like the thoughts on respecting one’s own threshold during a workout to maximize output. I know I tanked on the pushups – just felt like I ran out of gas. Any ideas on the best ways to move this threshold?

  8. Tom Brose says:

    Mark, i think that workouts like Tuesdays will help. Along with that, if you identify one or two movements where this is a sticking point, you can add in some specific near max work on these. As long as it doesn’t interfere with a workout or recovery, adding in something like 6 sets of ten seconds pushups/10 seconds rest after a workout will help.