I don’t rip on pullups much anymore, but i had my day. it’s almost a rite of passage at a gym like ours, often memorialized on social media, accompanied by that shockingly painful first shower afterwards. i bought grips and used chalk and did all the other things people do to not rip, but mostly i realized a pattern that emerged- i always ripped on pullup #99.Now, i don’t literally mean the 99th pullup of every 100 pullup workout, but very often in higher volume workouts i’d rip at the very end- the last set or even last few pullups. and, like any good fitness detective, i asked myself why(yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy)?The reason was the relationship between capacity and intensity. At the end of workouts its pretty common to “send it”- to push the pace, empty the tank, and throw everything you’ve got at the last few reps. in doing so, you almost inevitably get a little squirrely. maybe not dangerous, maybe not ugly, but…squirrely. you throw yourself over the bar with a little more abandon, you hang on for dear life, you do whatever it takes, and fairly often, what it takes is a dime to quarter sized piece of skin.This also doesn’t exclusively have to happen at rep #99- much like everyone has their own El Guapo, everyone has their own #99. if you are just getting the hang of pullups, or toes to bar, or whatever, your capacity threshold (aka you #99) might be #24, or #7, or whatever. the point is, if you keep your intensity appropriately below your capacity threshold, you won’t rip. seriously.Yes, you can grip the bar differently. yes, you can use chalk, or wodwax, or elmer’s glue. but isn’t it easier to simply have a better plan, and execute on it? So, if you tend to rip, try this- next time there’s a workout with a movement that gives you rip-phobia, think about how many reps you would normally do in a set, and half it. drop off the bar, take a few breaths, and hop back on. I bet your overall time/score/feeling suffers very little, if at all, and i also bet you don’t rip. You could also invest in one of these...
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