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My arms go to eleven

This weekend I was over in NY for a family party, celebrating some birthdays and getting to see my great-aunt who has undergone a months-long ordeal involving a stroke, a couple horrible nursing homes, and (finally) getting moved to a really nice nursing home near the family. As part of the festivities, some of my cousins and uncles and I had a chin-up contest.

Chin-ups, in case you're unaware, are exercises just like pull-ups except for the hand position. You hang from a bar overhead and lift your body up until your head is above the bar, then lower yourself until your arms are fully extended, and repeat ad defatigationis. For pull-ups, the palms of your hands face forwards; for chin-ups, they face backwards.

When I was in 5th grade, as part of a fitness evaluation, everyone in the class had to do as many pull-ups as possible. The big, burly jocks who were so proud of their muskles would go up and do three or four, or in one case, seven. Many kids could only do one or two, or sometimes none at all. Then I got up there, wiry little kid that I was, and did eleven. Everyone was surprised and amazed and I think even the jocks (who hated me, 'cause I was a dork) said some vaguely non-insulting things.

Since then, I've managed to do eleven pull-ups once more in my life, but never more than that.

For the last three months, I've been going to the gym regularly, doing a nautilus cycle three times a week on average, and watching as I can steadily add weight to each machine. It feels pretty good to be able to see that I'm getting stronger. So when we decided to have a pull-up contest, I was feeling confident that I'd do well. However, my aunt and uncle (whose house we were at) have a lovely fluffy cat, and while I am a big fan of cats (especially the lol variety) I am also very allergic to them, and so when the contest started, my expected asthma attack was well underway.

I got up on the bar and did eight chin-ups. My score stood while some of my younger cousins tried and failed to beat me. My dad and one of my uncles also gave valiant efforts but couldn't unseat me. Then my uncle Chris, who's in his mid-40s, hopped up on the bar and did nine. Argh! Curses!

And then one of my cousins, a skinny, wiry kid like I used to be, got on and did ten, soundly whooping us all.

Yesterday at the gym I did more shoulder and arm exercises than usual, and decreased the counterweight on the pull-up machine, forcing myself to work harder than usual. By this time next year, I'm determined to be able to do eleven!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
If you hadn't been having an asthma attack, I bet you totally could've done 11. :)

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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