Strength and conditioning are super important in the martial arts. All other things being equal, a stronger martial artist is a more effective martial artist.
Fundamentally there are two basic upper body motions that it’s important to get stronger at: pushing and pulling.
In a martial context a pushing motion can be a punch, a shove, or a frame to maintain range.
And a pulling motion can be used to drag someone forward, offbalance them, clinch or hold them.
When it comes to improving your upper body pull the single most important exercise is pullups.
If you’re going to try to improve your pullups then you might as well learn from one of the very best in the world!
In 2015 Mike McCastle set a new world record: 5,804 pullups in 24 hours. And if that’s not impressive enough, consider that he did this while wearing a 30 lb backpack!
On a trip to Portland I interviewed Mike for my Podcast (Pain is a Universal Language – The Strenuous Life Podcast episode 240). After we finished that fascinating conversation I decided to pick his brain about how ‘normal’ people can train to do more pullups.
In this video Mike shares his best tips.
He includes details on
- How to start if you can’t even do one pullup
- How to increase from 10 to 20 pullups
- A shoulder positioning hack that moves the strain from your biceps to your larger latissimus muscles
- How to increase the challenge if time is limited
- And more
Check out the video below – I think there’s a ton of great information in it about one of the most important exercises and, when it comes right down to it, a fundamental human movement!
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And, most importantly, good luck with your training!