We Are All Late Bloomers

Pike Position: a more challenging way to chin

I was reminded yesterday while watching the Green Bay Packers defeat the San Diego Chargers of how often people are not able to initially live up to other people’s or their own expectations. Very often there are setbacks and disappointments that have to be overcome in order to live up to what appears to be some kind of destiny. Of course, then their are the many people that dramatically exceed expectations simply because they were set so low or were non-existent to begin with.

Clay Matthews starting out as too much of a runt for big time high school, then college football is well documented: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Matthews_III

Likewise, Aaron Rogers, another California kid, was ignored by big time college programs coming out of high school. Then, even after a very solid Junior year at Cal, he unexpectedly fell to the Packers with the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL draft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Rodgers

Back when my wife and I owned the fitness center, we were often fortunate to witness the joy and surprise whenever a member managed some feat of strength or endurance when they had no idea that they were still capable, or for that matter, were ever capable of accomplishing. One member, “Sue”, had lamented on the day she first joined that she had never been able to do a single pull up or chin up. (For a nice summary of the distinction between pull ups and chin ups, check out http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/pull-ups-vs-chin-ups/) I assured her that if she worked consistently at performing the exercises that would strengthen the muscles involved in doing pull/chin ups, that it was unlikely that she would not be able to do a set of more than one.

One day, about two years later, I observed Sue performing cable pull downs (a movement similar to pull/chin ups). Since she was cranking out an impressive 10 very strict repetitions with 100 pounds selected on the weight stack, I asked her how many chin ups she could now do. I was surprised when she said that although she had tried only a couple of times, she still could not do any! Given the amount she was using on the machine, I knew she had the strength to easily do one, and maybe up to 3-4 chin ups. However, try as she might, she just could not manage even one.

I reminded her of the proper form and how to start the movement. I reminded her that it was not a matter of strength, but more of coordination and confidence. I told her to rest up and try again a few days later. Sure enough, she was thrilled when in her late thirties she accomplished the first strict, clean chin up of her life. Within a week she had done a set of three.



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