By Linkan Marler

Hey everyone, hope the school year has been good to you so far. For me, things have been stressful with chores, homework, and football practice. Good thing I know something that can help blow off steam––working out!

I’ve been working on my pull-ups, because for the longest time I could barely do one. With practice, I can now do more than I thought possible. How many can you do in a row? If you can’t do any yet, that’s okay, here are some ways to build up to doing pull-ups:

  1. Flexed Arm Hangs: To build muscles in your shoulders and arms, start with flexed arm hangs. To do flexed arm hangs, place a box near the pull-up bar that puts your chin just over the bar. Place your hands on the bar with your palms facing you. Lift yourself upward and hold yourself slightly over the bar with your feet off the box. Hang with your chin above the until you begin to feel uncomfortable. Rest and then repeat five times, increasing the time you hang over the bar.
  2. Dead Hangs: Build your arm strength and work up to pull-ups with a dead hang. Place a chair near the pull-up bar so that your arms can just reach the bar. With your palms facing away from you, grab the bar and pull yourself up an inch, moving your elbows to the side as you pull up. Lift your feet off the stool by bending your knees and hold this position for as long as comfortable. Rest and then repeat five times.
  3. Lower Your Body Slowly. Place a chair under the pull-up bar and grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing you. Tense up your muscles as you step off the chair and lower your body slowly. Rest and repeat five times. Eventually, you should be able to control the speed of your body as you lower it.

Practice on the above exercises until you work your way up to doing regular pull-ups. Don’t forget to hydrate, eat healthful, and study hard!s

Have ideas for fitness challenges and/or comments about my workouts? Email [email protected] and put attn: Linkan in the subject line.

Linkan Marler is a 12-year-old fitness enthusiast.