Blog entries in Fitstream
If you haven't heard the name "Steven Proto" before then flick through the latest edition of The Guinness Book Of World Records and you'll find it next to the Official World Record Holder for performing the "Heaviest Weighted Pull Up" which he achieved with an extra 206.2lbs / 93.53kg strapped to his body!
Steven is in phenomenal physical shape, standing at 6" tall and weighing a hefty 200 lbs, he is a member of the Extreme Pull Ups Crew - a group of guys in the US who dedicate their training around the mighty pull-up and regularly hold competitions on their website with the aim of finding the best athletes from around the world who all share the same common interest -"Pull Ups!"
Here we catch-up with Steven where we talk about training, competitions & that monumental world record that he set earlier this year:
Fitstream - Ok Steven, we're thrilled to be interviewing you. Can you start us off with letting everybody know a little bit about yourself?
Steven - I am 30 years old and from Long Island, NY. I now live in Edmond, OK with my wife and son.
I first got into pull ups when I joined the Marines. When I arrived at boot camp I only managed 14 pull ups, three months later I was doing 20. Then I realized I could take it much further. At that time my goal was to do 20 reps fast and easy for the PFT.
Since I’ve been out my goal has to add more-and-more weight to myself.
Fitstream - So, tell us about the Extreme Pull Ups Crew - Did you set it up? How did the crew all get involved with each other?
Steven - The Extreme Pull up Crew was started by Damien Longley A.K.A. (E_P_C) on Bodybuilding.com. Once he created the website Extremepullups.com he asked me if I would be one of his sponsored athletes. Most of the crew are current and former service members who naturally trained pull-ups for years. The site is used to offer training advice and hold contests bringing the pull-up community together. Most of us were fortunate enough to meet one another at the 2011 Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas.
Fitstream - It's been a very successful year for you, not only have you set an incredible world record but you've been involved in some very hard fought out pull-up competitions hosted by the Extreme Pull Ups Crew, let us know about how you got on in these & any future competitions you guys have coming up in the new year...
Steven - The crew came along before the competitions.
The first comp was "2011 Body-Weight Max Reps Pull Up Competition" which I won in the 200lbs and over category with 34 reps. Then the second was "reps with a 45 lb plate. where I won with 22 reps in the 200lbs and over category". Finally "Percentage of body-weight added", in the under 200lbs category, and I won with 97%.
In the future there might be a 100 lbs for reps competition ... Keep checking the site for upcoming news.
Fitstream - Here at Fitstream we know just how beneficial the pull-up is as part of any training regime but you guys take it to a whole new level - Do you include pull-ups every time you workout? ... Do you only do pull ups or do you mix up your workouts with different exercises? ... Let us know what your weekly workout regime looks like ...
Steven - When I’m not doing a contest I’ll do a push / pull / legs routine.
- On back day: I’ll do weighted pull ups, a row variation, shrugs, curls.
- Chest day: I’ll do bench / incline or both, standing press, fly’s, pushdowns / skull crushers.
- Leg Day: Squats / Deadlift or both, leg curls & extensions, calf raises, leg press.
- Reps and sets usually vary on each workout.
Now when I train for a world record or a contest I’ll spend the whole time doing pull-ups. I am starting to believe I shouldn’t cut out the other workouts completely except for a couple of days before the record or contest. It’s all trial and error to see what works.
We have promoted several pull up training methods. Pull ups for time has been a good way for us to increase the number of pull ups we can do. This is where we perform 100 strict pull ups in the shortest amount of time mixing up sets and rest time. This has helped with the muscular endurance required for strict pull-ups, also 100 pull ups in the fewest sets.
Let’s say you’re a beginner and you wouldn’t get 100 even if you were given 100 minutes. You can still fit this routine into your training. Take your max reps in one set and multiply that by four . That’s your goal to hit in the shortest time. For your sets do ½ or ¾ the number of your max reps. So if you can do 10 pull-ups do sets of 5-8 keeping your rest time short around 5-15 seconds. Do the reps steady don’t hang or struggle save the energy for the next set.
Fitstream - Ok, so go on then ... "The Big One!" ... How did you come about becoming the Guinness World Record Holder for "Heaviest Weighted Pull-Up" - What did you have to do in order to achieve this remarkable feat? ... Did you break a previous record or set this one?
Steven - I first contacted GWR to see if the category existed. Since I knew this was a long process I started training early. A couple of months later they let me know there wasn’t a category but they were interested in adding it. They set the minimum at 200 lbs and gave me a very strict criteria to follow. Once I read the official rules I had to make a few changes to how I was performing them. My legs needed to be straight, only a slight bend at the knees would be allowed. First I installed a homemade pull up bar that was high enough to accommodate leg room. Second I had to start practicing with my legs straight which changed my center of gravity which made it more challenging. On July 9th 2011 I performed a Pull up with 206.2 lbs attached to myself.
Before my Guinness record I read an article in REPS! magazine about Tim Ferguson, an Australian who performed a chin up with a combined weight of 386 lbs. I knew if I trained hard enough I could beat it with a over-hand grip. Shortly after the crew got started Damien got me in touch with Dale Harder who keeps these kinds of records and Dale gave me the rules I needed to follow to make it official.
I also contacted Ralf Laue of recordholders.org to verify this existing record. On April 29th I performed a pull-up for a total weight of 402 lbs - a new world record. Although I did weigh 199.8 lbs when I did my GWR; since I didn’t weigh myself on camera I failed to make a new world record of 406 lbs total weight. Once my bicep heals I will train to make another GWR attempt with 225 lbs / 102 kg added and I’ll definitely remember to weight myself this time.
Fitstream - To be able to pull that much weight is incredible! ... How did you work your way up to that?
Steven - I have spent the last 7 years training weighted pull-ups on and off. I started adding 25 lbs at 186 lbs and worked my way up via pates size 35,45,50,70,90,100,110,115…. For the longest time I was able to add 186 lbs with decent form. Once I hit a personal best I would stop training. I knew if started up again I would get back to where I left off in no time.
For GWR I changed my routine a little. My old routine 4 sets of 5 wouldn’t help me with a 1 rep max so I broke my training sessions into days of 1-2 reps, 2-3 reps, 4-6 reps pyramiding my way up and down for 6-8 sets changing the weight around; no workout was the same.
Fitstream - To be honest after watching the video, you looked like you were pretty comfortable lifting all that weight - How did it feel? ... Do you think that there is more left in the tank and you could possibly lift more weight?
Steven - Well I might have done more but I went with a safe number that I’ve done previously with no one watching. Good thing because I had to make a second attempt since my legs were bent too much. So really I did two sets of one. My adrenaline kicked in witnesses were taking time out of their day I couldn’t let anyone down. The only thing holding me back was a injured bicep from when I performed a rep/hold with a slow negative with 206.2 lbs. a few weeks before.
Fitstream - Most of us start out doing pull ups whilst being back at school attending P.E. lessons but normally starting out with the "chin-up grip" or "pronated grip" (palm of the hand facing towards the face) but after a while most advance to the harder "pull up grip" (palms facing outwards) and the chin up becomes somewhat neglected. Has this happened to you or do you still train the chin up as well as the pull up? ... After-all it is an extremely effective exercise!
Steven - I am definitely not as strong with chin ups as I am with pull ups. I can do them but for me chin ups aren’t natural and puts my wrist and elbow in a awkward position if I lock out or come to a dead hang. I’m sure I will always stick to pull ups.
Fitstream - Are you aware of the big freestyle bar movement that is going on right now with very strong athletes from around the globe who showcase their extraordinary skills through web-sites such as You-Tube and Vimeo? ... Guys like LittleBeastM or crews such as Bar-barians & Barstarzz? ... What do you think of the way these guys mix up basic body-weight exercises & combine them with gymnastic skills on the bars in the parks around the world & have you given it a go?
Steven - I have seen more and more of this over time. I haven’t tried it, I would definitely need to build up my endurance. At 200 lbs I really don’t see myself competitive with these athletes.
Anything that draws attention to pull ups, outdoor bodyweight activities; with minimal risk of injury is a good thing. I hope it becomes more popular over time, for right now I’ll just enjoy watching it.
Fitstream - Thanks for your time Steven, it's been a pleasure to chat with you. Once again congratulations on your World Record and we look forward to seeing you competing in more up-coming pull up competitions in the new year.
Steven - Thank you, I wish Fitstream the best of luck educating and supplying today’s everyday athletes.
Welcome to the first Fitstream competition ever!
This is going to be the first of many, where we'll be dishing out top equipment to winners taking part in our strength and fitness challenges and posting the results on our blog and Fitstream Facebook page.
... and which better exercise to start with for our first comp than the mighty pull-up! Here are the rules and the prizes up for grabs -
Participants will be competing to perform the most deadhang pull-ups. There are three classes available - Men's, Women's, and 18's and Under.
We've partnered with Astone Fitness to bring you our first place prize for the men's competition - The Human Trainer, providing you with the ultimate bodyweight training system. Urban sportswear brand fizzYcaL is contributing the prizes for the women's and 18's and Under classes.
18's and Under Prizes
- All videos must be titled: "Fitstream Dead-Hang Pull-Up Competition 2012" and competitors must state their full name and country in the video write-up.
- The video must clearly show the date at the beginning of the attempt (e.g. on mobile phone / newspaper).
- Video must be filmed from the front position and clearly show the full body in view.
- Grip used must be overhand grip / pull-up grip only (palms facing outwards).
- Competitor must start with a one second deadhang before the first rep and the words "one second" must be called out.
- Hands to be placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart (extra wide grip is not allowed).
- Both hands are to stay on the bar throughout the whole set (no holding with one arm to let the other recover)
- Arms must fully lock out at the bottom of the exercise and competitor must say the words "One Second" before performing the next rep. Shoulders must come to a relaxed state at the bottom - thus creating the "Dead-Hang" position.
- Chin must cross the bar at the top position.
- No kipping / leg kicking.
- Winner is the person who performs the most reps.
- In the event of a tie - the video submitted first will be awarded the prize.
Entries and judging:
- Videos must be uploaded to YouTube (or other video sites e.g. Vimeo) and added to the Facebook Event Page where they will be approved at the judges discretion.
- Contest will be judged by Fitstream athletes Lee & Jay (what they say goes).
- All approved entries will be posted on our Facebook pull-up event page and on this blog post.
- The contest will begin January 1st and run until February 12th - so plenty of time to get that pull-up training in!
* In the event of any winners residing in Outer Mongolia or other such regions outside of Europe, Fitstream reserve the right to pay you the monetary equivalent of the prize via PayPal.
Fitstream Athlete Lee Wade Turner demonstrates the Dead-Hang Pull-up permitted for the competition below:
...and here's the top prize The Human Trainer in action -
Fitstream Athletes and competition judges Lee Wade Turner and Jay 'KillingGravity' pictured below -
New Fitness Tools and Calculators 19-08-2011
We've recently launched an exciting new section on Fitstream for Fitness Tools. We're going to use this area to develop our own online fitness tracker and smaller health and fitness oriented tools.
We'll be building on this section over time and would love to hear your ideas or feedback so feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fitstream Facelift 13-07-2011
If you're a regular visitor to Fitstream you might have noticed that we've updated the site a litte. The interface has been redesigned, navigation improved and it's all a bit prettier around the edges.
We'll be keeping the updates coming thick-and-fast as we've got some exciting new features in the pipeline, so watch this space. You can stay up-to-date with all new changes by creating a Fitstream account or liking our Facebook page.
As well as this general site facelift you'll also find some new exercises in the directory for club training, and some functional favourites such as the Farmer's Walk, Ball Slam, and Weighted Step-up.
We've also released a new article on maintaining motivation for fitness and recommend quick techniques to help create the right frame of mind for hitting those fitness goals.
We'd love to hear any feedback or ideas you have for the site so feel free to get in touch at email@example.com.
A Fitness Christmas 15-11-2009
It's that time of year again as Christmas creeps up and all of us here at Fitstream are doing our best to make your Christmas shopping as easy as possible. We know how difficult it is to find the perfect gift for the special people in your life so let us help out with the fitness enthusiasts you know by offering up some suggestions. Check out our staff Christmas gift picks...
Fitness Christmas Gifts
TRX Suspension Trainer Professional - Bestow the gift of Suspension Training. The TRX Suspension Trainer by Fitness Anywhere is the perfect fitness gift for anyone looking to get in shape at home, or perhaps the traveller in your life that wants to get fit on the road.
The Power Wheel - Know someone who's lost the weight but can't quite get those abs? Help define their six pack with the Power Wheel. Attach it to your feet and walk out with your hands or roll your knees up into your chest. It's intense, but it works!
EXF Gymnastics Rings - Ring training is the ultimate form of bodyweight training. Train at home, down the park or in the garden with these portable, lightweight gymnastic rings available from Ring Training. The perfect choice for anyone looking to build strength or develop the lean and powerful physique of a gymnast.
War Hammer - For the gym rat who has it all and looking for that extra edge - inject a bit of variety into their routine with sledgehammer training using the Torque Steel War Hammer.
Gym Boss Interval Timer - They've got all the gym equipment they need but need that little bit more control over their workouts! Give them the Gymboss. This interval timer does it all and is a solid buy.
Fitstream shop live! 19-10-2009
It's been a long time in the making but the Fitstream Shop is now live!
We will be supplying top quality niche fitness and training equipment throughout the UK and rest of Europe.
At the moment we're stocking resistance bands (you can read about resistance bands and what they can do for you in our resistance band guide.) but we will soon be selling gymnastic rings, weighted vests, kettlebells and weighted clubs.
Some of these products can be really difficult to get hold of in the UK and when you do you often pay crazy prices. Our focus is upon product quality, affordability and on fitness equipment that really delivers.
Fitstream Store LIVE! 10-10-2009
The Fitstream Store is now live!
In the UK and Europe we supply our own fitness equipment but outside Europe we're recommending selected third party retailers gear. This kit is the very best equipment available and we only recommend products we firmly believe in and would use ourselves and that can help you perform world class workouts.
If you have a product you would like us to add to the store please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be continuously adding equipment into the store as we find things which catch our eye, keep us motivated, are of the highest quality, and do their job!
What's on the horizon for fitstream? 24-05-2009
The short answer is "lots!".
The Fitstream product specialists are currently in the process of sourcing quality training equipment all over the world and you'll soon start to see these appearing on the site. Yes, the fitstream store is not far away.
We keep on churning out the fitness articles and adding exercises to our directory but we're also working on a number of ideas for fitness applications that could help make tracking your progress that little bit easier and more fun!
Watch this space...
Site progress 24-05-2009
Well we're still working hard behind the scenes to get things up-and-running but since our last blog post the Fitstream staff have been busy in the background working on a number of things for your benefit.
We've added new articles in the fitness articles directory. You like training with Kettlbells? So do we. Check out our guide to training with kettlebells. Heard of club training or Clubbells? We're recent converts, read our introductory guide to club training and the benefits or working out with weighted clubs.
Both of these articles provide a wealth of great information for anybody looking to get to grips with these exciting training methodologies.
Our blog is born 02-05-2009
Welcome to the Fitstream blog, where we’ll be posting on our fitness related musings, keeping you up-to-date with company news and information, linking to the interesting things we find around us and publishing the Fitstream inner monologue up on screen.
Our training is diverse. Our posts will be too. We’ll be covering a range of topics from broad health and fitness pieces, to posts about specific forms of exercise such as kettlebell and ring training.
What you read here will be our reflections and opinions on topics where one size doesn’t always fit all. If you want generally accepted know-how and hard-and-fast rules go visit our fitness articles directory, this place is reserved for our personal pondering and company news. We just tell it how we see it and talk about what works for us. Take what you want from it, but we aren’t physicians or dieticians – just people that are passionate about physical fitness and our posts will be about what we are learning along the way more than anything else.