Strap it On! Upper Body Push / Pull Strength Challenge.

by Marianne  - December 22, 2011

Hi all,

At Christmas it is difficult to find time to do our usual training and it’s easy to get distracted and maybe forgo that workout you’d planned. While I actually think that’s is quite alright to do this at Christmas, as a few days off never did anyone any harm, I do like to add in the odd spot of training when I can.

So, yesterday I thought to set myself a little challenge to beat by Pull Up and Push Up scores from one of my last workouts. The I thought of a handy way to add weight to these exercises.

My numbers again:


  • Pull Ups – BW x 7 reps (+ 2 on my last attempt)
  • Close Grip Push Ups – BW x 24 reps (+ 5 on my last attempt)


  • Pull Ups – BW+3kg x 3 reps
  • Close Grip Push Ups – BW+3kg x 10 reps (I think I had one more rep in me)


  • Pull Ups – BW+6kg x 2 reps (very hard)
  • Close Grip Push Ups – BW+6kg x 9 reps (total max out)

I was very pleased with the results today. As you can see my numbers significantly drop even with 3 kg. In the gym I have been doing more weighted chin ups and I can manage more reps on the thinner bar there.  I have also been doing weighted Dips, which feels totally badass 😀 This has really helped me increase my BW reps in my upper body push / pull routines!

After I did this I performed a short 21 min Conditioning Workout that I will post tomorrow.

Hope you enjoy the video 😀

And feel free to let me know if you do the challenge yourself or try the progression.


Don’t quite know why I did an Austin Power’s pose! :-/


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Burn Off a Mince Pie! Christmas Conditioning Workout and Message!

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  1. Hi there,
    So I stumbled upon your website and really like what I see. I am a personal trainer that is always looking to improve by finding people more knowledgeable to learn from. I really enjoyed watching the few clips that I have watched so far. You are informative, precise, like able, & you do not use your boobs or butt to get someone to view your videos (like some other popular internet trainer we know…) Haha.

    You are inspirational and realize that not everyone can do a pistol squat or jump over a bench without killing their knees! 🙂 I do have 1 question though. I have tried for years to do hanging pull ups without success. I can do a negative pull up & I can do a Burpee & jump up into a pull up (probably only because of I get a running start. Haha).
    This is a goal of mine & curious what tips you have that may attribute to my future success! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hey there, thank you so much for stumbling upon my site and leaving a comment. Great question 😀

      I just love love LOVE coaching women to do Pull-Ups: I did THIS article on them a while back and I recommend following Neghar’s tips in this post by Girls Gone Strong.

      Please let me know if you need any more tips 🙂

  2. Marianne,
    We did this workout today after the glute journey (not sure if thats the name but it was a butt couplet workout of yours lol) My scores were
    Pull ups 2 (boo, need to work on these)
    push ups 25
    Pull ups 1 with 10 sec hold and slow decline
    Push ups 10 with 14 lbs
    Pull ups 1 with 10 sec hold and slow decline w/ 14 lbs
    push ups 8 with 37 pound sand bag! yeah this was an awesome feeling completeing those, now i need to get there on my pull ups 😉
    Have a good day!

  3. Awesome! I really like the idea of adding more and more weight to create a bigger challenge to max out. I’m going to try this later today.

    Also, thanks for your kind welcome and answering my questions about weights and other things. You’ve been so helpful! 🙂

      1. Hmm, I did this before my workout and my scores are as follows:

        BW: Pullups 12
        Pushups 32
        + 5KG Pullups 7
        Pushups 20
        +10KG Pullups 3 (they were a real bxstard! 🙂 )
        Pushups 12

        I really loved this one and felt properly badass doing weighted pullups! I’m really looking forward to following this site in 2012 – especially as the scales are protesting against my mince pie and booze overload this Christmas…

  4. love the simplicity! I am really working on my pull ups as well and they really are a FULL body exercise… you are such an inspiration! keep it up Marianne!

  5. What a great idea with the weighted backpack Marianne. I had a vision of me at the gym putting weights into the bag to do the exercises………..LOL…might do them at home the gym staff might have a fit. I think they are already on ‘backpack’ alert at our gym!!! Have a safe and happy Christmas and I will look forward to more workouts in 2012

  6. Did you see your site in SHAPE magazine. You made the top ten best workout sites. Im happy that you are being noticed for all the work that you put forth for all of us. Way to go Marianne.

  7. ooh nice challenge I think I can keep up with you on the push ups but the pull ups you are a beast. Will give this a try before my swim tonight. I love challenges like this.

    1. Finally got a chance to do this challenge. I am typing on my new new computer, so happy. This was quite tough.

      I did a farmers walk with 26LBs of groceries, about 10 minutes (it’s cold out)
      did 100 skips
      some stretching and then I went to it thinking I was a tough cookie.
      I figured I’d use my new Christmas present, since I don’t have the right weights or backpack.

      My scores
      push up max no weight 30
      pull ups 1 regular 2 assisted using contraption on the above link.

      pull ups elevated on 2 KB 15
      same as before. that was death.

      push ups using contraption elevating feet (oooh that hurt) 15

      Then I did renegade rows with 16kg (2)KB
      that was really tough.
      to add to the torture, I did some leg raises on the contraption shown in the video above.

      I’ll do a short run in the morning plus hot yoga.

      1. Wow! I’m jealous of all your Push Ups!!! >=| LOL I feel like trying again now hehe! My competitive side is kicking in 😛 Maybe I will just do some elevated ones too.

        AND look at what else you did. Putting me to shame here Mickela! Nice work 😀

  8. Hey Marianne you’re brilliant!

    I love it when you get all tongue tied, sooo funny! But you’re just being yourself and that’s what we all love about you 🙂

    I don’t know if you remember but about a year I mentioned that I bought a backpack specifically designed for carrying a kettlebell? I have had it for just over a year now and it is really well made and is not showing any signs of wear and tear even though I have used it quite a bit. It is quite pricey and for anyone living outside the US you may need to pay some import tax. But it is well worth it if you get to the stage where you are thinking about putting a 16, 20 or 24kg bell on your back. Here are a couple of links show you more about it.

    I guess given the price it’s only for really serious users, but I would definitely recommend it.


    1. YES, I do remember you talking about that bag. In one of my MANY takes during this video, I actually mentioned it! But it got left out because I talked on and on and on, then I said something like “strap it on your front” :-/ dear dear! It’s like I suffer from Bushisms LOL! Marianneisims 😛

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