Pulling A Muscle At Muscle Beach Santa Monica

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I'm back from California and man am I missing the Sunshine.  It's totally pissing rain here in Vancouver and it looks like Fall is inevitable.  While down in California, I made a visit to Santa Monica, home of the Original Muscle Beach.

 Welcome to Muscle Beach Santa Monica!

Muscle Beach Santa Monica is rumoured to be where the whole fitness industry began.  You can find it South of the Santa Monica Pier.  I can definitely believe that there is some truth to that because I've never seen a city where so few people were overweight.  They even have prepackaged cottage cheese and fruit served at local coffee shops.  I can't stand cottage cheese, but it's a staple for a lot of fitness nuts.  The other Muscle Beach is on Venice Beach, also in California and home of Hulk Hogan.

Here To Pump You Up...

Pulling A Muscle At Muscle Beach Santa Monica

During the day you can see people working out with the equipment that doesn't resemble the stuff you see at the local fitness world. Instead you'll see people pulling out Russian Kettle Bells, skipping ropes, exercise balls and using their own body weight on the rings and the pull up bars. Trainers are all over the place with their celebrity or wannabe celebrity clients.  After walking around Santa Monica, it's pretty clear that physical fitness is important here due to the way people look and the number of healthy choices provided by even eateries that you would assume would be total greasy spoons.

Where Did C.J. Go?

I was at the REAL Baywatch Beach!

Muscle Beach Santa Monica is also where the show Baywatch takes place, even though most of the show is filmed in Hawaii due to the warmer waters.  I saw the yellow trucks and the rea life guard floater thingies, but no one was running around in red trunks or red speedo one piece swimsuits.  Bummer.

Turning Molson Muscle into Real Muscle... 

Since I was on Muscle Beach, I decided to work on my own muscles.  After driving around California and eating at a lot of less than healthy places (and some really great places which I'll talk about in another post), it was time to work it off.  Check out the video!

It's amazing what a little bit of inspirational Hasselhoff inspired music and some pretty pictures and transitions can do to fluff up the most boring of videos.  That's actually my worst set.  The first set I did was way better and totally continous, but the bar started to get sticky and my palms started to get torn up. The Machine could kick my ass on those, but she was busy holding the camera. The deadlift was from last month, but it kinda finished off the video with a bit of an inspirational kick.  Heck, I think I inspired myself.  I should really get back to my CrossFit workouts if I want to become a Spartan.

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  • Kellyfrankson

    From the Crossfit standpoint, the point of kipping pullups is not to make them easier (as leo pointed out, whether they are easier or not depend on what muscle groups you have developed more), the point of them is to do more work in less time as well as develop range of motion in your shoulders and teach your body to generate power from your hips (two things that become very important for the olympic lifts). Rather than just working the lats, you are recruiting other muscle groups making it more of a full body workout than an isolation workout. And since you are recruiting more muscle groups, (once developed) you can do more of them before your body tires. However, at the begining, most guys find them much tougher than regular pullups.

    And the idea of using a wider grip can be done with kipping pullups as well, but what it does is shorten the range of motion. I widen my grip when I want to do them faster.

    I never do the traditional "static pullups", except for odd occurence when we do them weighted or do L-pullups (static pullups holding your legs straight out in an L position) but yet I jumped up this morning to see how many I could do and I did 22 in a row. (however I can do 42 kipping in a row, so the statics were considerably less than my kipping max).

  • Leo

    I find that I'm a lot more winded doing ten kipping lifts then traditional pull-ups. But I've got pretty developed lats that help with the traditional whereas I find that the kipping relies on your core muscles more (if you do them properly). My core muscles suck.

  • Try them some time, I GUARANTEE. GUARANTEE that they’ll be harder than kipping them.

    Whoops! I was in the hallway doing the different pull ups when you replied with that. 😆

    Again, I do all three. Do them all the time. My rule is to never leave my office without doing one type of pull up (the bar is installed in the doorway of the bedroom so it's too close to miss). I always choose a static one because I find them easier. I find that I can take my time with a static pull up. I can't with the kipping one because I have to think about what I'm doing and I need to do them at a certain tempo which forces you to do more by default.

    I think Arnold would be ashamed because he'd be too inflexible to do one. You really do need a good deal of flexibility to be able to do one properly.

    Is that guarantee money back? 🙂

  • Those are sissy pull-ups! You sissy!

    Arnold would be ashamed 😉

    • Try one... then let me know if you can do them. I find regular ones and benchpress ones easier than these.

      • I do real pull-ups, not swinging my bodyweight around to help me swing up 😉

        • So what you're saying is that you can't do them 😛

          I can do them forwards, backwards, and kipping. Proper kipping ones are hardest they use more muscle groups than static traditional pull ups.

          • I'll state again, a proper pullup that works the lats should be a much wider grip, and not swinging around using your body weight to help you up.

            Try a proper wide-grip "static traditional" pullup and I guarantee it will be much harder than what you've been doing.

            Pullups are tough for me, since I weigh 204 lbs. If I narrow the grip they are much easier since biceps come into the equation. And I'm sure if I try to swing myself up like that, it will be even easier.

            But anyway, it doesn't matter. I was just joking around, pulling your chain. I'm not your trainer so I am not telling you what to do. Do pullups whatever way is most enjoyable to you!

          • And for the record, I looked up kipping pullups at various sources, since I had trouble with "traditional" pullups. This includes the US Marines, various martial arts sites, and CrossFit sites.

            The whole point of kipping pushups IS to make them easier. It is what allows newbies to do pushups at all. That is how it fits into the whole CrossFit regime, and if you watch CrossFit's video on pullups, they explain HOW it makes pullups easier and WHY they want to do easier pullups. Their goal is to do as many reps as possible, and to do this, they allowed kipping.

            USMC used also allow kipping; as part of the Personal Fitness Test a Marine has to be able to do 20 pullups to get a perfect score in that category. However, they now view kipping as cheating, and a Marine now has to do 20 proper pullups to get a 100 score.

            Now when I said that your pullups were SISSY I was not saying they were WRONG. It all depends on what your goals are. If your goals are building strength and lean mass in your lats (as pullups are intended to do), then they are not the best way to do so. But as part of an overall fitness regime such as CrossFit, where cardio is just as important as strength, then by all means they are perfectly fine. But as I said, Arnold would be ashamed 😉

            So I understand WHY you do them. But for you to say that they are HARDER than doing "traditional" pullups... I dunno man. You are either lying, or haven't done a traditional wide-grip pullup (trust me, they are NOT EASY).

            Try the some time, I GUARANTEE. GUARANTEE that they'll be harder than kipping them.

          • Try a proper wide-grip “static traditional” pullup and I guarantee it will be much harder than what you’ve been doing.


            I walked over to my chin up bar, yes I have one installed here, and although I do all three types of Chin Ups all the time, as part of a daily work out, for argument sake, I just did five wide grip front, wide grip back, and Kipping Pull Ups. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the kipping pull up is actually harder to do. The biggest difference after all of them is that I always feel winded and feel more muscles worked after a set of kipping pull up vs either of the statics. I actually stumble off the bar afterwards.

            The reason I am qualified in saying they are more difficulat is because it took me over 3 months to build the muscles and technique necessary to do them properly. The first time I tried to do a kipping pull up, I tore up my palms and nearly pulled my shoulder out because I thought they LOOKED EASY. I even made fun of them and thought they looked stupid. Some people even call them the "Cheater Pull Ups", but I betcha those people have never done one. The only person that looked stupid after my failed initial attempts was me. One time I nearly ended up flat on my ass.

            I'm not surprised that you have such a staunch stance on the static pull up. Each variation has its believers. However, when you're talking an effective all in one full body work out in one powerful motion, you cannot beat a kipping pull up. What makes it hard is the unique combination of Technique AND Strength AND Flexibility AND even Cardio. I always feel kinda wasted after the kipping pull up set. A regular static pull up only requires strength and isolates a small group of muscles ie. the lats, like you said. I actually warmed up with static ones done slowly before attempting my kipping pull ups in the video.

            Again, I do all three and if I have a hard time doing either of the static ones, I don't even attempt my set of kipping ones because I will not be able to do them properly and I'd probably hurt myself. Since you have never done them before, go ahead and warm up with a few static ones, then try to do five kipping pull ups on your next workout and let me know how it goes. I think you will be VERY surprised.