100 Pull-up Challenge

Need some pull-up inspiration?

Take a look as 46-year old Crystal West knocks off 100 reps for time on the bar.

And yes, for those who may be wondering, she was featured on the blog once before (2 years ago). Glad to see that she’s still going strong with no signs of slowing down.


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

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  1. Awesome pulling power! And great form too! Like many people who started training in the seventies I focused way too much time in “pushing” exercises like the bench press, military press, incline press, pushups & dips. The pushing over pulling imbalance is probably as common as favoring the upper body over the legs. When you think that the only way you can improve on pullups is by losing weight, gaining strength or both it’s the perfect functional exercise and is probably far superior as far as functionality goes over the more popular “pushing” exercises. I’ve read that the late Vasily Alexeev despite his tremendous bulk could perform numerous reps in the pullup exercise. So many “big” guys won’t go near the bar and will use the weight handicap as an excuse to op out for the vastly inferior lat pulldown machine. As you proved with your past article on “heavyweight” handstand pushups featuring Paul Anderson & Doug Hepburn, being one of the “big” boys shouldn’t give you a pass on this valuable exercise. Another “mature” wonder on the pullup bar is John Peterson who has some vids out also where he reps out an easy 25 clean reps and goes on to tell how a typical day might see him do about 10 of those sets. Interestingly Peterson tells in one vid how perhaps the number one exercise for increasing pullup power/reps is the hanging straight overhead leg raise which he also performs letter perfect.

  2. I wonder how often she performs this routine? And, does she try to continually increase her number of reps each week, month, year or what?

  3. Lol, I thought she was going to do 100 in one set. Still awesome performance, most women can’t do one clean, FULL ROM pullup.
    From my own experience I’d recommend adding weight using dip belt, after you can do 15-20 clean pullups/chinups. I wasted years doing 20-25 reps per set and thought: “If I just keep doing them long enough, gradually the reps will start to increase again”. That was a pretty awful approach, to put it mildly.
    Developing strength also increases max reps, whereas trying to add reps indefinitely increases wery little to none strength and is a sure way to hit the brick wall.
    You can use microloading when adding weight, but obviously that can’t be done if you’re just trying to do more reps. When you hit you max reps, that’s pretty much it, doing even one more is sooner or later impossible.
    Next I’m going to try to use chains in every other chinups session(once every 8 days) for dynamic effort training. Because there’s only two ways to increase intensity(intensity to me is lifted lbs/second in one set or rep): increase weight or increase speed.

  4. Good, but I’d rather see a little kip at the bottom to come out of the hole than see the lack of extension. She appears to be a long way from fully extended at the bottom. Am I wrong that that’s not an ideal way to do pull-ups? I don’t let myself get away with that and I’m 64.

  5. The pullup is such a demanding exercise being that you’re using nearly all or all of your entire bodyweight that I’m sure we could find fault with all but the most adept athletes who perform this exercise. Perhaps only some elite gymnasts might be able to do this exercise picture perfect for multiple reps. I’ve found that with bodyweight exercise, weight training exercises, or even running & swimming, if I don’t count reps, laps, or distance, and just focus on timed sets or timed runs/swims, and concentrate on performing each movement right instead of worrying about “numbers” my form doesn’t suffer as much. Too often we get caught up in performing X-amount of reps instead of concentrating on working the targeted muscles. I remember Muhammad Ali said he never counted reps until the exercise started hurting while doing his “table exercises.” No doubt when you perform numerous reps of 20 or more you naturally lose focus even if you’re still physically capable of performing the exercise correctly. Watch a lot of those competitors who attempt “world records” in pushups for example. One can clearly see many of the reps performed are certainly questionable. I notice on John Peterson’s vids there were comments questioning his range of motion or not coming to a complete dead hang while doing pullups. If you’re doing multiple sets of 25-35 pullups per day, I’m certain not all reps will be letter perfect.

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