Having enough upper body strength to do even one proper pullup is incredibly difficult to achieve. Even individuals who are incredibly active and fit, often struggle with the body weight exercise of doing a pullup. Although the exercise is tough, this does not mean we should try to get stronger at it. Many of the older adults and limited mobility individuals I work with often need a much easier version of the pullup to actually perform the exercise. The video above, in addition to the rest of this post, will show a great pullup alternative for seniors and individuals who aren’t strong enough to do a proper pullup.
Before You Begin
Before you begin this exercise, you will need just one piece of equipment. To perform the exercise, you will need to purchase a TRX Cable for yourself. A TRX Cable is essentially a strong piece of cloth material connected to handles. With this device, you are able to attach the cable to a sturdy piece of metal, cross member, or even a tree limb. Make sure when you are placing your TRX Cable, that the point of contact that stabilizes it is extremely sturdy, and will not move or shift when loaded. If you do not have a TRX Cable or want to purchase one, you could use a rope. I will say, however, that the TRX Cable does offer a comfortable grip and can adjust very quickly and easily to your height level. If you would like to purchase a TRX Cable, you can use my amazon affiliate link here: TRX Cable. You will also need to have a sturdy chair of yourself to use.
Assisted Pull-up for the Elderly to Strengthen Legs and Arms
The great thing about this exercise, is that there really is not much to “think” about. Once you have your TRX Cable stationed on a sturdy and fixed object, you can then place your chair directly beneath it. I would then recommend scooting the chair back a tiny bit, as this makes the assisted pullup a little bit easier to do. Once you have your equipment setup, you can do the following:
- Grab the handles of the TRX Cable in front of you.
- At the same time, push with your legs, and pull with your arms, allowing yourself to stand as tall as possible.
- Slower lower yourself back into the chair with both your arms and legs doing equal work for the movement.
- Make sure you keep equal pressure through your foot when you are standing up in place.
- Complete this exercise for 10 repetitions, before taking a break.
If this variation is extremely easy for yourself, you can actually take the chair out from under you and do the same movement. This will increase the range of motion heavily, so go slow when you first try it. Good luck on your strengthening exercises! Keep consistent and you will be doing many assisted pull-ups in no time.
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