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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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The View From The Top

It's been a hectic week, but I could not let it end without adding my two cents to the hubbub.  Many people have forwarded me Tara Parker-Pope's New York Times article entitled Why Women Can't Do Pull-Ups.  

The piece focuses on a study that purports to prove that some women just can't do pull-ups.  As the Gawker response does a wonderful job of explaining, all the study actually proves is that their training was deficient.  Moreover, by failing to distinguish between the difficult and the impossible, the title tinges the article with a particularly heinous message.  It begs for rebuttal, and has received it in spades from the CrossFit community.  (Some examples here)

Is it harder for women to learn to do pull-ups?  Yep.  Very hard?  OK.  Impossible?  Hell, no!  See Exhibit A:

(This video is from April of this year.  6 is still my deadhang PR.  17 is my kipping PR. )

It took me about eight months of dedicated work before I could do a single pull-up.  I practiced nearly every day by looping progressively thinner bands around the bar and using them as makeshift Gravitrons, until one day I didn't need a band anymore.  (If you were around in the early days of CrossFit Metropolis, you might recall the day that I happily exclaimed, "I got 3/4 of a pull-up!"  That was huge.)  It was a process, but if I can do it, it's doable.  

What irks me to no end is that women will believe this "can't" tripe, that this will amplify the negative noise in the head of a woman who's struggling to get her first pull-up, and that it will discourage others from trying or even considering trying.  There are too many women selling their strength short already; we don't need these kind of messages, especially when the "science" behind them is so plainly flawed.

Ladies, it's not news that sometimes we have to fight a bit harder for what we want.  Take it from me, though: the view from the top is worth fighting for.

-Gym Belle-

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