Jungle pull-ups are in the mind
When I think of pull-ups, I think of strength, willpower, and my scrawny friend in third grade that was so light he can bust out 20, but I also think of a grey, boring concrete wall. Pull-up bars need support and so we assume the athlete will just push their muscles to the limit while staring at a depressing plain wall holding onto a gray steel tube. What ever happened to the days of the mental edge where trainers created an environment that pushed athletes to the limit? The first person to lift over 1000 lbs was lied to by his trainers who had fabricated false weights. It was a mental barrier that was passed by the right message to the brain.
Lessons from the jungle
I don’t know about you, but when I sit in my office I feel like lifting a potato chip to my mouth more than I feel like lifting my whole body up to a horizontal beam. But when I was exploring the rainforest in El Petén I experienced a much different psychological and physiological sensation. Instead of a concrete gym I had the depth of green forest to hold my gaze as I startled with the sound of each howler monkeys in the distance. My hands reached out to vines as I watched lines of monkeys tree transfer with ease. I joined in with my vines, then branches and there was no “concious pushing or motivating myself”. I was doing pullups and side pulls and leg raises and even unidentifiable exercises with no fatigue. You see, I was acting naturally. The thing is, that when you act naturally in front of a grey concrete wall holding cold steel, well, natural is basically comatose. But in a living environment with life, danger, and possibility, natural is exercise, fitness, and health.
The living pull-up bar
In order to give some life to your pullups, chinups, leg raises and other raised bar workouts, let’s add the right vegetation. The main choice of plants we need are vines that run and follow branches or bars. English Ivy is one of the most common, but there are others listed in the table below. These create a green-vine bar experience. But we also need some sporadic mix of planned disorder. For this, at each corner of the bar we must place a plant that projects its progeny (little plants) out in all directions. These give a periodic swaying and movement feature with each pullup. Now our pullups become a rhythmic dance instead of pushing out our last ounce of strength as we think about our potato chips. Spider plant is a great choice for this effect and is also listed below.
Practical details of the bar and pots
Your bar will either be mounted onto a base or bolted into the wall. If you have a base you can place general planting pots at the bottom of the base. If you have a wall mounted bar, you would also want a wall mounted pot. In the table below we show wall mounted pots that are easy to mount and easy to clean. If you do hang pots directly on the bar, just attach them snuggly with a string or shoelace so that you don’t pull them down unintentionally and uproot your plants.
Now, you have the idea, you have the plans, go make yourself a jungle environment and either Tarzan or Jane it into the best shape of your life. Once you’ve gone primal, if you find yourself craving bananas instead of potato chips don’t blame me.
Hanging Vines for your Jungle Gym BarUse these vines to kick your instincts into gear and build muscle like you were meant to!
Drew dreams of a world where everyone farms their own vegetables and is inspired by botany to be active and explore. He consults on creating spaces that produce flavours people had never imagined before.