Alex Lowe 400 pullups a day


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Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - May 11, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
I read that Alex Lowe often did 400 pullups every day. I also read that I should rest 48 to 72 hours after a workout where I work to failure. Maybe Alex got away with it cause he didn't work to failure? I'd like to be able to do more pullups so I would look like a bad ass and also be able to climb 5.15. Anybody have any ideas on how I could get to a point of doing a bunch of pullups without causing problems. I know I should also work opposing muscles, which I will. Just wanted to see if there are any climbers out there that do pullups every day and how many, how often, work to failure in each rep, how many reps do you do to failure, any issues etc?

Trad climber
Las Vegas
May 11, 2010 - 04:42pm PT
Nothing Alex achieved applies to us mortals !
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 11, 2010 - 04:45pm PT
opposing muscles are good. Rock rings are easier on the joints than a fixed bar, but basically you are going to need real good genes to keep up with Lowe or Climb 5.15.

Those are tougher to come by.

Try a campus board.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 11, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
Just because you read it, what makes you think it's true? On a related note, Alex Lowe wasn't a great climber because he did 400 pullups a day.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 11, 2010 - 05:27pm PT
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 11, 2010 - 05:56pm PT
Legs are useless weight in a pullup contest.

Trad climber
Placerville, California
May 11, 2010 - 06:10pm PT
hi john i've not seen you in ages.
love to share some time with you, hopefully soon.

at the base of the mountain alex would lean into the first moves of his route. The mountain, when seeing the look within his eyes, and the might within his soul, would simply crawl away.
thus the pursuit became alex's, and his aspirations flourished.

i've no explanation for the avalanche that took alex from our world.

no explanation whatsoever.


Trad climber
Placerville, California
May 11, 2010 - 07:08pm PT
whenever i find myself at the playground with my lassies,
after i work all of the under-slide boulder problems,
and then change my diaper,

i begin reps of pull ups on the monkey bars.
all the moms are peeping, i know. i cando 12 good cleans ones in a rep, a few times per sesh.

my 6 year old daughter can already haul her asse up thru one pullup!
im quite amazed but im within, arrogant and snooty.
that's why i believe all the mom's are gawkin' at me?

but really they're not. they're believing their own story, not mine. and not alexs'. for how else do you navigate this spread without dreams within?

good for alex. 400 pullups and a life well-travelled.
i strive for a song similar to his.

Trad climber
May 11, 2010 - 07:13pm PT
John. If you want to look bad ass get better with your foot work.....

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 11, 2010 - 07:28pm PT
If you do them in sets of ten, it wouldn't take that long. I did 100 while I cooked dinner last night. I couldn't do 400, I don't think, but maybe it's not that unreasonable.

They do get easier the more you do, over the long term that is.

Trad climber
Northern California
May 11, 2010 - 07:33pm PT
If I were to try to injure my shoulder, I'd say trying to do 400 pull ups every day might do the trick.

May 11, 2010 - 07:56pm PT
Alex grew a horrendous protuberance on his elbow from overdoing it. Jenni was completely unimpressed.
And never mind the pullups, the stuff he'd do any given day before he went to work at 08:00 was mind boggling.

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
May 11, 2010 - 07:59pm PT
yaniro did so many pull ups no one could keep track. Seemed to help him.

Social climber
May 11, 2010 - 08:52pm PT
Hans Florine recently did 100 pullups a day for 100 days straight.

It's not 400 pullups a day. But it's a lot. No rest days is what makes that stuff mind-boggling to me. I can work hard. But I need to recover...
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
May 11, 2010 - 09:00pm PT

A fine commentary on the subject from the Talking Heads.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 11, 2010 - 11:19pm PT
This may be a "legend" but I remember hearing that Alex Lowe took part in a study analyzing the red blood cell count of high end alpinists and climbers. I guess he had an average that was several times what normal people have. Quite simply, it took a lot more for him to get tired than it would you or I.

I'd be willing to bet that high end sport climbers have similar genetic mutations. Or, perhaps their bodies flush lactic acid much faster than ours?

You can't change your genes, only your memes!

Boulder climber
Butte, America
May 12, 2010 - 12:38am PT
Allez, I thought that it was VO2 max that they measured on him--nonetheless, the man had genetics to envy.

Boulder climber
May 12, 2010 - 12:59am PT
every line takes a different set of muscle routines,

so having upper or lower, which one will you need? what ratio?

so how can you train?

you climb, of course.

Bill Sherman

Mountain climber
Culver City, CA
May 12, 2010 - 03:07am PT
I climbed with him in Bozeman when I used to live there. That guy did more laps up ice in Hyalite in one morning before 0800 than I did in a week of hard climbing.

I remember the first time I met him or rather encountered him. I was on my way up to the Grand Teton and got passed by him around the split for either Garnet Canyon or Disappointment Peak. As I was getting up to the Lower Saddle, he was on his way back after already soloing the Direct Exum and coming back down from the Upper Saddle (OS route). He was running uphill faster than I can sprint a 100m. It was mind boggling.

He did have his VO2 max measured at one point and it was near the top end of anything that had ever been recorded. He was about on par with Olympic cross country skiers and Lance Armstrong and way above just about any marathon runner.

I've heard the rumors about 400 pull-ups a day but from what I saw of him, most of his training was in the mountains: running, skate skiing, climbing.

I miss him and his contagious laughter. He always had a smile and was always very unassuming. I think about him every time I'm back in Bozeman and pass his house.

Trad climber
May 12, 2010 - 07:00am PT
I would consult the cross fit website and eric horsts website. I would strongly suggest getting a good personal trainer for a 1:1 session who can accurately assess your fitness strengths and weaknesses and how to approach your goals.
We climb with the whole body. Assessment of your weakest component and addressing that component will most quickly translate to a jump in your ability to climb better.
If you have weaknesses in balance and flexibility a small gain in balance and flexibility will help much more than pull ups.
If you cannot do a one legged squat, you certainly would benefit from an increase in leg strength.
We climb with the whole body. Any good supplemental fitness program will address all the components. Power and strength in grip, pull up, lock off, etc are all of course critical but we have much better information available to prevent overuse injury than previous generations.
Good Luck!
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