Keep it Simple, Make it Significant

Keep it Simple, Make it Significant.” These were my intentions last night as I walked into my gym to train. I had some energy to burn but I didn’t have a plan. I pulled up a playlist and started an athletic, dynamic warm up. My warm up then turned in to practicing hand stands and eventually I decided I was going to challenge myself to some pull up volume. I wanted to see how many pull ups I could accomplish in one workout.

Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been free-styling my training. I trained most of the summer months on programs which were preparing me for various photo shoots – a photo shoot in July and video shoot (August) for the upcoming book New Rules Of Lifting Supercharged plus another shoot with Experience Life Magazine (October).

While I certainly identify with strength training and being strong, I’ve also been following my instincts to evolve, experiment and have fun with my training. Oftentimes, the way I train is for body composition and athleticism. Sometimes it’s for a hired job and right now, I’m taking the liberty to just let it roll.

My most recent activity lately has been centered around yoga, conditioning and body weight mastery. I do not want to lose my ability to move some serious weight, but I really want to gain the skills as a bar athlete (see Barstarzz, Body by Chosen, Bartendaz) and work on things like controlling inversions and all things body weight.

In addition to yoga 4-6 days per week, I’m also keeping up with my energy expenditure between sprinting stairs, sled training or outdoor runs. My strength training has followed more pull ups, kettlebell swings, push ups, pistol squats, and single leg RDLs  to name a few. This has been a bit of an experiment and a time where I just want to MOVE. I want to play, sweat, maintain my strength and learn how to transfer my current strength to areas of crazy body weight ability –> read: muscle ups, human flag, etc.

I don’t see a lot of females in the bar athlete scene. Perhaps because I haven’t paid much attention to it until now, maybe because women aren’t interested or because they get the impression it’s not so possible. There has been a lot of talk circulating about the ability of women and pull ups lately. In my opinion, that’s a lot of BS.

To demonstrate, last night I wanted to see how many pull ups I could get in a training session. So I paired pull ups (body weight, unassisted, pull up grip, chin over bar) with KB Swings. I decided I was going to go back and forth on these two exercises until I could not pull myself up anymore. I wound up losing my attention span before I burnt out of pull ups, though I was pretty spent in overall energy.

See my workout tracker below:

This is not an opportunity to gloat but an example that there is no limitation to achieving your strength goals. Many women want to do pull ups because they ARE hard and the progress IS REWARDING! I understand because that’s exactly how I feel about muscle ups and the human flag. I have no idea how I will get there yet, but I know I’m going to pursue it until I do. I will ask the experts, seek tips and practice until I get it. Same goes for my hand stands. I can hold inverted for 3 seconds and then I continue to fall out of it… THE BEST PRACTICE IS REPETITION.

As for body weight accomplishments, your strength to weight ratio will certainly play a roll. So will technique and stability / ability to control your movements. When it comes to pull ups, work on increasing your overall upper body strength. Also start with assisted versions and yes, cutting down unneeded body weight / body fat will get you closer to your pull up.

With other body weight ambitions, once we accomplish the strength needed, it’s often the technique (for example the one arm push up or muscle up) that’ll get us there. Setting realistic expectations for ourself while attempting to practice and accomplish these things are important but remember, every goal is DOABLE! We just have to practice practice practice and enjoy the progress.

Here’s a little blooper and baby step of progress from my handstand efforts last night. There may be a better technique to practice, but as you can see, I’m self teaching ;)

Ps. If pull ups are what you’re looking for, check out my fellow GGS Co-Founder, Neghar Fonooni and her article “How I Stopped Sucking at Pull Ups” 

And remember, Keep it Simple, Make it Significant!


6 Comments on "Keep it Simple, Make it Significant"

  1. Ammi says:

    Skills! Nicely done Alli!

    It’s funny that you should post this now. I have been thinking about handstands for the last couple of weeks and thinking that I would like to master them, partly because everyone else could do them at school when I was 7 except me and partly because I believe I need to use my own body more for training. And it would just be satisfying to do. I’d come to the conclusion that the answer would just be to do it. Lots. Until I achieved it.

    It seems you agree (and it works)…

    • allimckee says:

      Like minds, Ammi!! And the following was a good tip on the GGS FB page.. “Tuck the tailbone and engage the core. And definitely look down between your hands. Claw into the mat/ground with the pads of the fingers to use as break pads. Kick up gently and slowly. Keep it up! You will get there! I LOVE handstands….I do them everyday. I truly believe that inversions keep you young!”

      Have fun!! :)

  2. Kristy Wilce says:

    Alli- I loved reading this! I do a pull up workout every single Sunday, and I strive to do better each time. I haven’t thought of super setting with swings or snatches, a good idea since I am getting to the point where my pull ups take a long time. I am doing them weighted, I have a dip belt and add a 10 pound weight so it’s 12 1/2 pounds added. I cannot do more than 8 at a time and need t rest in between, but I am up to 79!! I think soon I shall mix it up like you say here.



  3. Abby says:

    Congrats on the handstand! I’m a beginner in the world of strength training and hope to be able to one day do a handstand (or even a headstand at this point!)

    • allimckee says:

      You will, Abby! Enjoy the wonderful world of strength training :) …the people you’ll meet, the things you’ll learn and the accomplishments you’ll see and feel! xo

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