Ladies, if being able to do a pull-up is part of your fitness goals, it may just never happen, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Dayton in Ohio have found that even fit women struggle to do pull-ups, and the maneuver is not actually a good measure of fitness.
The researchers recruited 17 women of a healthy weight, and trained them for three months, with a focus on exercises that would strengthen their upper back, improve aerobic fitness and lower their body fat. The idea was that at the end of the three months, the specific training the women had undergone would allow them to successfully complete a pull-up. At the end of the training period, only four of the 17 women could complete even one pull-up despite increasing their overall upper-body strength by 36 percent.
According to study author, Paul Vanderburgh, women have a harder time doing pull-ups because they have less muscle and more body fat than men. Being tall, with long limbs is another factor which would increase the difficulty. "Generally speaking, the longer the limb, the more of a disadvantage in being able to do a pull-up," Vanderburg told the New York Times. “
Despite this, the fact remains that at least four of the women in the study were eventually able to do at least one pull-up. And while I’m not yet able to do one myself (I’m working on it), I’ve seen women who can.
What fitness goal are you striving to complete?