Facing my Goliath

I was feeling frustrated with my stalled pull-up progress. Many people I spoke with at my gym (well the three ladies who can do unassisted pull-ups) all said it took them about a year or less to do unassisted pull-ups with consistent training. That was my first mistake. Comparing my progress to others.

What is wrong with me, I wondered? Is it taking me this long to do one unassisted pull-up because I’m that weak? I am at the stage where I really want it and want it now. On Friday, I was also on the verge of giving up. Thinking this was all pointless, maybe I should devote my time to another gym goal.  A more feasible goal that is within reach. Then I thought, but I really want this. A pull-up to me would be a true testament of strength. I thought back to when I was in junior high. I had to do a speech in front of my entire class for speech arts. This was mandatory. I am terribly shy when it comes to public speaking and the thought of speaking in front of an entire class with all eyes on me was terrifying. The fear was so crippling that I wanted to play hooky from school and just fail the project.  My mom showed me a verse in Samuel chapter 17 in the Old Testament that evening as I practiced my speech. It was about David facing his opponent the giant Goliath and defeating him in battle. I still read this passage today when faced with an intimidating situation. Whether you believe in Biblical stories or not, David’s hubris and bravery cannot be denied.  It makes any obstacle seem possible to face. My mom assured me that if young and small David faced and defeated a giant, I certainly had nothing to fear and to remember this before my speech. To make matters worse, the speech was about wolverines. I mean why? We could research and speak on any topic. Why I chose wolverines I don’t know. The speech had a few bumps in the road, and I’m pretty sure Peter Alexovski in the front row of desks was falling asleep during the hunting habits of the wolverines. (Funny, he kind of perked up when I got to the mating habits part).  I completed the speech and got a B- for my efforts. After all was said and done, it wasn’t as terrifying as I expected.



Today I had another Goliath to contend with. The pull-up bar. Standing beneath the bar it looked cold and unwelcoming. I felt as tiny as David looking up at the bar, like my symbolic steel giant.  Time to face my Goliath. I pushed a secure bench under the bar and stood on the bench. Placing my hands on the steel about shoulder width apart, I gripped firmly overhand. With a deep breath, I pulled myself up…..about an inch. Yes, that’s it. I inched myself up and dangled there for about 10 seconds before releasing and stepping down on the bench.

A success? Um no, but the bar doesn’t seem so scary anymore since actually making contact with it.  Now is not the time for a defeatist attitude. This is all about baby steps because one inch today might be two inches tomorrow. Let’s face it, I have one helluva obstacle to face.

My nemesis. The unassisted pull-up bar.

What “Goliath” are you facing in your goals if any?

Artwork of David and Goliath by Von Glitschka
Visit: www.vonglitschka.com



16 thoughts on “Facing my Goliath

  1. As long as you keep trying you’ll eventually get there! Pullups are one of the hardest strength moves, so it’s definitely a large feat you’re taking on! Right now, my “Goliath” is working on my running and cycling speeds!

    1. Hi Cassy! They are soooo hard. I think this is my biggest challenge so far. If I can at least make my head touch the bar I’ll be happy. Lol! Best wishes on your running and cycling speed work. You seem very determined so I’m sure you’ll meet those goals and conquer Goliath.

  2. I think holding on for 10 seconds is the best bit. You’re strong enough to hold yourself an inch for 10 seconds! 10 seconds can be a long length of time! As for comparison, I feel like we’re bombard with headstands, handstands and forearm stands. They look so easy, yet take a long time to get there and hold. And there’s that hold aspect again! Anyways, you go girl!

    1. Thanks very much for your supportive words. Seems like women are getting stronger and tougher these days. There is a hand/headstand epidemic going on. They do indeed make it look easy. That felt like the longest 10 seconds of my life. Lol!

  3. Keep at it…you’ll get it! Try doing some negatives. Start hanging from bar in the top pull up position ie arms bent and slowly (very slowly) lower yourself until you’re hanging with arms straight. This will help you gain strength and get you closer to your goal faster.

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