I am equal parts triumphant and embarrassed today. Embarrassed because as a person with strong shoulders who took pride in beating all the boys at push-ups in high-school gym class, this is a goal I should have achieved long ago. Triumphant because yesterday, I did a pull-up!
I’ve been trying—OK, fine, *wanting*—to eke out a single pull-up for years. But last year, I realized it wasn’t just about shoulder strength, but also grip strength, of which I had none. So I got busy with my Black Diamond forearm trainer. That, plus my work on the assisted pull-up machine at the gym, paid off yesterday.
I was doing sets of six pull-ups with 10 pounds of assistance when I realized 10 pounds is really not a lot of assistance. So I tried one without assistance—and did it!
This is motivational for me because it proves something all endurance athletes know: If you pick a sensible training plan and put in the work to complete it, you can accomplish pretty much any athletic goal you set out to. It’s a timely reminder, too—I was in the gym yesterday because I still can’t run or ski or otherwise play outside. But I know that if I keep following my PT plan to strengthen and rehab my right leg, I’ll be there soon.
By the way, at six-plus weeks out, my PT lineup is actually worth sharing as a workout. I did a slightly revised version of this workout on my own at the gym yesterday, doubling my time on the StairMaster (SO HARD!) and using a leg-press machine that isolates each leg rather than doing straight-up single-leg presses.
Single-leg quad extensions – 40 pounds, 4 sets of 10 (it’s getting stronger!)
Single-leg hamstring curls – 35 pounds 4 sets of 10
Single-leg press – 90 pounds, 4 sets of 10 (or 210 pounds on the aforementioned machine that lets each leg work independently, but simultaneously)
Medicine-ball throw—at trampoline, while standing on right leg on wobbly thing- with 15 lb. medicine ball
Single-leg squat – 4X10
Squats on wobble board, placed diagonally – 4X10
Hurdles and side shuffle with machine – 5X, each way
Stairmaster – 15 minutes of intervals, at the highest level you can handle (again: SO HARD! I broke up my 30 minutes yesterday into two sessions)
Treadmill: walking backwards – 5 minutes
Stool scoot – two laps around room. I literally sit on a stool with wheels, and scoot myself around the room using the heel of my injured leg.
Calf raises – three directions – 2X15
Leg lifts – 11 pounds – all four directions
T.K.E.s I do these with a gray TheraBand to strengthen the V.M.O. muscle, which runs along the inside of the quad. My physical therapist says this is the first muscle to go and the last to come back in ACL rehab.
Of course, I supplemented all this with a healthy dose of core and upper-body stuff—including lots of pull-ups, some assisted, some not. Want to train yourself to be able to do one, too? Try Women’s Health 12-week plan, which starts with a flexed-arm hang and takes you through negative pull ups and mini pull-ups.
Today, I’m still patting myself on my (very sore!) back for my accomplishment. What accomplishments are motivating you this week?