Pull-up Failure

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by zak09115, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. zak09115

    zak09115 Member

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    How you guys doin? I'm doin good, thanks for asking, but I have a situation. I can only do like 2 pull-ups and I can't seem to get much better. I would like if someone could give me like a workout routine or some exercises that would help my pull-ups. I was thinking doing shoulder presses, deadlifts, bent-over rows and pull-downs. Pull-ups use shoulders and upper back right? I got about a month and a half to when I want to take the CFA. It's gonna be the last thing I send in for the application most likely. Thanks for your help guys/gals.
     
  2. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    I don't see how deadlifting would help you out considering it's all lower back. I didn't do much direct preparation for the CFA because I was way too much absorbed in weighlifting. But what you can do is focus on your shoulders, back, and biceps. Regarding shoulders, I mostly feel it (pullups) on my rear delts, which is used a lot when training back, so you'll be hitting it fine when training you're back. Anyways I suggest you train back and biceps same time, maybe 1-2 times a week, depending on how you feel and if you feel you've recovered, so maybe monday and friday. Then train shoulders in between. And if you can, do a practice CFA every week. The key to doing your max performance on this test is muscle endurance, so don't be fooled if you are increasing in strength. Although that is good, make sure you're reps are increasing as well. Stay at a range of 12-15 reps on you're exercises, and get in some super sets and drop sets to really build up you're endurance. You can google my terms up by the way so that you know what I mean.

    Some exercises for back I recommend are obviously pull-ups (assisted or negatives), dumbell-rows, cable rows, barbell-row (T-bar if you're gym has it). Anything that hits you're lats are great. For biceps, regular curls obviously, chin-ups, and concentration curls. There's a whole bunch of ways you can mix up you're bicep routine, espescially for super and drop setting. Lastly for shoulders, you can do shoulder flyes to hit most of your shoulders, and military and shoulder presses. Also try to look for some rear-delt exercises, so that you can isolate it. Other than that 1 month should be good enough time to get you 10+. Also make sure you eat lots of meat so that you're effort doesn't go to waste. Remember, you don't build muscle at the gym, you build it at home watching TV!

    If you need a place to refer to for exercises I would recommend bodybuilding.com, it even has pictures so you don't have to guess.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Buy a pull up bar and place it your doorway, everytime you enter or leave do at least 5, keep increasing and within a month if you are honestly doing it you should be higher.

    2 will def hurt you for your CFA...you want to be much closer to 9 at the least, since 18 is the max.

    You do not need to rush the CFA. This is where kids get confused. They push it to get it down so the file will be reviewed, yet never realize if you have no nom, than you can't be reviewed. Also, if you have a nom (excl pres), you can't get an apptmt until everyone on the slate has submitted. SO...don't rush it.

    6 weeks from now is mid Oct., the board does not close for 6 MONTHS. They very rarely ask for a re-take unless your packet is incredibly strong...don't risk the chance that you will be able to take it over, instead do it to the best on the 1 st shot out.

    DS had pull-up issues, in the end he was mid teens and that only took 6 weeks. Yet, he was true to himself, he did it everytime he walked in and out of his room, even to go to the bathroom.
     
  4. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Just keep doing them...

    Pyramids work too. 1 2 3 4 3 2 1 etc..
     
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    In years past, we ALO's had to administer the CFA and fully 30-40% of the male candidates we tested FAILED the CFA. Why?

    a. Pull ups
    b. Push ups

    It always amazed me...okay, true confessions time: I'm 6'2", and about 25lbs heavier than I want to be (for my own good health, I still do fine on the fitness test and folks are amazed because I still look good in uniform, and yes, I am losing it due to an increased workout regimen) BUT...I was still beating "kids" 20+ years younger than I am; heck, almost 30 years younger.

    Why? Because there's NO focus on fitness in school, home, etc.

    PIMA is dead on accurate and if you want to ask about fitness tests, ask Bullet about the Airborne PFT.

    I wanted my jump wings BAD when I was a 'dink...but back then, if your GPA wasn't above a certain level you would NOT be selected for AM490 (freefall at USAFA) so...I did soaring, BCT, SERE Cadre, etc...etc...etc...but no jump.

    THEN...I said: I can go to Airborne! All I have to do is pass the Airborne PFT. BUT...PROBLEM...Steve is an IC...shot put, discuss, javelin...I'm a BIG guy and get this: while I can/could do 16 pullups, I never EVER did more than about 38 pushups. NEVER. Figure that out.

    SO...the Airborne PFT required 45 minimum; more was better. And I had a whopping 2 months to take the test.

    SO...just like PIMA said, my roommate and I made an agreement: you walk out of the room, for ANY reason, when you return you "Drop!" So we did (he did AM490...great academics) it; he wanted to help.

    LONG story short, well not really if you've read this far, I have a nice shiny set of AIRBORNE wings on my uniform to this day, I am NOT a LEG! Why? Because that preparation ensured that on PFT day, I breezed through the pushups. I did 60+ with ease.

    YOU can do the same thing with a pullup bar, either at school, a local gym, or at home; and that would be best if you can get one and set it up like PIMA said.

    Good luck! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Oh...you're one of THOSE Marines...:muscles2:

    5'4", 120lbs, built like the "small" Blackhats... :biggrin:

    My size, you, anyone though...the gig pit made us all equal! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. NavyFan11

    NavyFan11 Candidate Appointee

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    i'm struggling as well, but over 3 weeks i've increased my maximum by about 6 so i'm sitting around an 8 or 9 now.

    my friend is spec ops and he told me this:

    or pullups make sure that your thumb is on the same side of the bar as your other fingers, so your not actually gripping it, that way you use less muscles in your forearm. Pyramids work well for pullups. Like go from 1 to your max and back down to one. So 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 if 4 was your max. Its also good to do negatives. So lets say your max is 4 and you want to do 6, do 4 and then either jump up so your in the up position on the bar or use a chair to get up there, and then let yourself down slowly to the down position. It helps develop the muscles for doing more.

    just keep at it! i do pushups, situps, and pullups everyday in prep for the CFA, best of luck!
     
  8. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    On the CFA pullup your thumb must be over the bar, not on the same side as your fingers. Might as well build/work the muscles that are needed.

    Here's the instructions: http://www.usafa.af.mil/superintendent/pl/Incoming/CandidateFitnessAssessment.pdf

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I remember him as an 0-3 going to "real" jump school, how much he trained. For all of you saying I don't know where I will find the time between school, sports and work, then you don't want it bad enough.

    Bullet had 30 days to pass the test, while he was a 29 yo ADAF officer and a parent of a 3 and 1 yr old. The AF does not take PT as seriously as the Army. IE you don't run daily at 5 am with a 70 lb rucksack. He would fly come home and go running/pulled wearing boots and a backpack with a 3 yo Border Collie (they are runners). He would then come home and do sit ups, push ups and other exercises. Of course it was a family activity..DS1 would get on his back for push ups. He never had the time to go to the gym because by the time he was done with his duty day, eat dinner and change he was already at 7-8 pm, and so he had to do it at home.

    The point is, if you use I don't have time than you don't want it bad enough, have already gave yourself the easy out.

    We can all give you tips, but only you can answer how bad you want it.

    PS. Bullet is away right now, but maybe training for AB FT you might see faster results.
     
  10. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    I couldn't agree with you any more.
     
  11. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Uh, where does it say that? I must have missed it.


    We usually do "same side" grips on the PFT. In fact the guy who runs the PFT and Recondo recommends it.
     
  12. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Nope; pronated grip. Picture shows it.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  13. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Just a couple things. First of all, my son couldn't do a single pullup when he started last spring. None. Between getting him a pullup bar and a lot of practice, at the summer seminar he managed to do 8. He did more practice over the summer (just at home - whenever he had a chance), and managed to do 10 when he took the CFA when he took it mid July. Same with pushups - he started out barely able to do 20 and managed to do enough to get over 50 at NASS and when he took it with his PE teacher. DS is 6'3 and built like a twig, so these things were much harder for him than the running aspects.

    As far as the pullup grip though, he had been doing it with his thumb on the opposite side before NASS, but said there and at WP they told them the "trick" was to move your thumb to the same side so that it would help too. He hadn't done this before the summer seminars, but was taught to at both of them, so evidently it is allowed there. Well, at least by his squad leaders/testers in each place. Interesting if it's not supposed to be that way - I'm curious how much difference it would make. I did give all the instructions to his PE teacher, but can't imagine the phrase "pronated grip" would mean anything to him (or really, to me!).
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Yeah, I'm now very curious as well as we're told how to administer the test (pronated grip) but cadets on this board are saying that it's "okay" the other way??

    Hmm...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. luv2swim

    luv2swim Member

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    pronated vs supinated

    I certainly don't know a thing about actually doing the CFA, but as far as definitions go, "pronated" seems to indicated overhand rather than underhand and perhaps does not define which way the thumbs wrap around the bar...

    pronated grip
    a grip on the bar when your palms are facing down and away from you, your thumbs are pointing inwards to each other.
    See also supinated grip.
     
  16. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    The best way to increase your amount of pull-ups is by doing them. I personally wasn't interested in shelling out a couple hundred to get a bar at a store, so I went to Home Depot and built one pretty sweet one for less than $20. If you really want to do good, then make the effort and do tons of them.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  17. titan2010

    titan2010 Member

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    Practice, Practice, Practice.
    I try to do 3 every time I go under my bar which is in my bedroom doorway. So if I'm just grabbing a pencil, I have to do 6... (This causes me to sometimes be more efficient in what I need from my room)

    Anyway as far as technique, I am not going to join the thumb argument because I frankly know nothing so I just put my thumbs on the other side. However, I find it easier for me to lean back a bit so that my body is not 100% perpendicular to the ground. It uses more back, less shoulders. Try it out. Maybe it's easier maybe not.

    most importantly... practice practice practice.
     
  18. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I'm curious, how many have you done in a day with that method?
     
  19. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Well, practice to get good at the strict definition of the CFA test pull-ups.

    (On the PFT, I have never seen anyone corrected for "same side thumbs"...but that's the PFT.)
     
  20. btown13

    btown13 Member

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    dude, i got mine for $15 at sports authority last year. They're really cheap. glad to see the effort though
     

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