I learnt something important last week: know when to keep your mouth shut. After moaning that the arm exercises in the annual FitBrit Challenge weren't tough enough, I rashly told the team that I was lobbying for next year's challenge to be nothing but pull-ups – 100 of them, with a wide grip, from dead hang to chin over the bar, as fast as possible. The very next morning, I was ‘encouraged’ to take myself to the gym and do exactly that.
To be fair, there is a point to this sort of workout. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who always wanted his back to 'bristle with power' during his fight scenes, prescribed 50 wide-grip pull-ups in as many sets as necessary as the best way to build bulging lats. I decided the quickest way to get through my 100 is in reverse ladders: do five, then four, then three, two and one, then work back up to five, with a 30-second break between sets. That got me through my first 50 in 10min 8sec, but it was hard going and I had to switch to sets of two for the second 50. My final time? A not-too-shabby 25min 43sec.
With my shoulders and back sorted, I turned my attention to the rest of my body – and fortunately, sartorial enhancement was at hand. Equmen's Precision Undershirt promises to 'gently pull the shoulders back while compressing the core and self-adjusting to your unique body shape’. I'm not sure about that, but it certainly yanked in my fledgling beer gut and moulded it into a passable six-pack. Doing one of my favoured park workouts – a knackering set of Tabata intervals – I couldn't see any performance-enhancing benefits, but it was certainly comfy and well-ventilated. Oh, and my girlfriend seemed to like the shape it squeezed me into… but that could have been my bristling back.
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