My husband used a set of bicycle handlebars and a length of waterski tow rope to make this pull-up bar in the front yard. Chris LeBlanc photo

Back when shelter-in-place started here in Austin, my husband installed a pullup bar made out of an old set of bicycle handlebars and a length of waterski tow rope on a tree in the front yard.

The thing hangs there, taunting me. I venture out from behind my computer once or twice a day to do some reps. In between sets, I pull out Drake elm seedlings that have been sprouting like an army of iron-clad weeds in our front yard. It’s not a bad workout.

Back in the pre-COVID days, before my swim team cancelled practices, I’d sometimes do pullups after I got out of the pool. I got to where I’d do four or five sets of five, but then I went cold turkey. I lost my pullup muscles.

I’m starting from scratch now, and it’s ridiculously hard. I think it may have something to do with the fact that this pullup bar swings freely. It hangs from a tree, and when you try to pull yourself up, the entire bar sways forward and back. I can barely do three before I drop off.

This morning, I got up early and met a friend at a cove on Lake Austin to swim 2 miles. I just took a mid-morning break to do pullups and pull seedlings.

It feels old school, and I like it. Sometimes the best workouts are the basic ones.


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I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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