Three strong ladies do pull-ups.
The Myth That Women Can't do Pull-ups
When I was growing up, I'm almost 47 so you do the math, I was told by my family, by my PE teachers, and by my male friends that women just can't do pull-ups. This used to really piss me off, and it still does. Women can do pull-ups, and when I was growing up and if a man said this to me I happily knocked out a few pull-ups to prove him wrong.
Women are more than capable of doing pull-ups, the problem is that the expectation for our physical strength is very low. We are the "fairer sex" after all. All too often women are portrayed as weaker, softer, "less than." From a very young age the expectation for women is to be small, cute, petite, diminutive. When we hit our teens the focus increases for our physicality is to be smaller, e.g. smaller thighs, smaller waists, smaller arms, and the warning to not get too bulky. The pressure for women to be diminutive and physically weak starts young and continues throughout most of our life.
This pressure and expectation to be weak is even prevalent in the fitness industry. Look at how many group fitness classes are marketed to women to get "toned" but not strong. I recently checked out the description of 2 popular group fitness classes in Bozeman, marketed to women, and was so disappointed by the descriptions of toned, lean, dancer-like bodies, and long-lean muscles without bulk. You'll have long and lean muscles if you're over 6 foot with 12% body fat.
CrossFit has changed the perspective of fitness and strength for women. In our fitness word, no longer are long, toned, lean, dancer-like bodies the ideal, and a great many CrossFit women can do pull-ups.
All of the women I've trained through the CrossFit method have changed their perspective of their bodies and what it means to be a strong women. We want to be strong because we want to be functional. Smaller thighs can't carry a backpack uphill, smaller arms can't carry the groceries, smaller butts can't help us balance on slippery river rocks. Yet, all of us wanted to be smaller before we started CrossFit, and after we started CrossFit our perspective shifted. Now, we all just want to be able to run, jump, climb, throw, push and pull hard and fast and be able to do fucking pull-ups.
WE CAN DO PULL-UPS! It just takes time to train for them. We have to increase our capability and overcome years of brainwashing and low expectations.
The fitness we get from CrossFit makes us more capable. We can rely on our body to do whatever we ask of it. Load the kayak, canoe or skis on top of the car? No problem, shoulder presses and jerks make us able to do that. Carry a backpack with a rope, climbing gear, food and water uphill for several miles? No problem, squats and sled drags have trained us for that. Carry our kids at the county fair? No worries, sandbag carries enable us to do that.
CrossFit makes us capable. Being capable makes us useful. Being useful makes us relevant.
My mission is to help people find their power. I am especially passionate about this for girls and women. When we find our physical power we find our voice. When we find our voice, we can change the world. Who knew a fitness program would have such an impact on womens' lives? Who knew that the mere physical ability to pull-yourself up so your chin goes over a bar could empower you so much? Hang in there ladies, we can do pull-ups, and once we've discovered that physical power, imagine what other powers we might find!
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