Headstand: tutorial, advantages and disadvantages, is it worth to learn it?

We recently theorized about **how body weight could affect the ability to do pull-ups**. Both for a single pull-up or doing sets of many repetitions.

We were commenting on the issue of **people who use being bigger or heavier as an excuse to do fewer pull-ups**, and we explained that actually **in Weighted Calisthenics or Streetlifting competitions those who lift the most weight in pull-ups are those in the heaviest categories**, specifically on the -87 kg category the -94 kg. and the +94 kg categories

If we go to specific examples we have the Spanish Pere Coll, capable of lifting 116.25 kilos with a body weight of around 87 kg. Miguel Street Lifter capable of lifting more than 100 kg. weighing about 95 kg. or the Ecuadorian Xavier Overbar, who lifted 106.25 kg. weighing 91 kg.

I think here we can see that, **at the very least, the heaviest athletes do not have as great a handicap**, as could happen in other modalities or sports, where heavyweights would have no chance against light weights.

Several of you told me a detail to take into account, and that is that **in terms of relative weight, there is a clear difference**. For example, for a 95 kilo athlete, lifting 100 kg. involves lifting 105% of his body weight. While for a 70 kg athlete lifting 100 kg. involves lifting 140% of his body weight.

This would seem to indicate that, in a fictional world where light athletes lifted the same as heavy athletes, lighter athletes would have a great advantage when working only with their body weight, since it would represent a much higher percentage of their true capacity. . But the point is that in real life, as you can already guess, light athletes do not lift the same as heavy athletes, and **it would be necessary to carefully analyze how the numbers and percentages vary.**

Therefore I give you the good news that I have taken the trouble to obtain real data from the world Street Lifting championship, analyze it and interpret it so that we can solve this mystery of pull-ups and body weight. Lets go for it.

Actual body weight and weighted pull-up capacity data

Below you can see the data we are going to work with, it is from the Final Rep world championship that took place in October 2023 and in which there were different weight categories:

As you can see, to the data on body weight and weight lifted in pull-ups, I have added the % of weight lifted in relation to body weight and the total weight lifted.

Thus we can see that, for example, **the record for pull-ups was achieved by Ludo in the -87 category with 120 kilos**, which represents almost 140% with respect to his body weight and a total of 206 kilos lifted adding up both weights.

To simplify the analysis of the data, and seeing that the differences between those who lifted the most and the least in each category were not excessively marked, but rather were quite even, I decided to take the average of each data with respect to each weight category. And so we have the following table:

In it we can see that **the average extra weight lifted has an upward trend from the -66 category to -87**, where it reaches its highest point, and then remains quite high in the heaviest categories.

However, **if we analyze the data on the percentage of extra weight lifted with respect to body weight, we do see that it follows a clear downward trend**. Which means that the **heavier categories actually lift more weight, BUT, this represents a lower % of their body weight**, so it could be said that their relative strength is lower.

With this I was almost determined to agree that heavy weights have more difficulties with bodyweight pull-ups than light weights. But at the last moment it occurred to me to **analyze another piece of information, which would be how much the athlete's body weight represents in relation to his total capacity in pull-ups** that you can see below:

How much does your body weight affect your ability to do pull-ups?

For example, the -66 kg athletes lifted an average of a total of 143 kilos, adding the extra weight and their body weight. This means that its own weight represents 46% of its capacity. It could be said that for these athletes, a pull-up with body weight represents an effort of 4.6 out of 10. **If we analyze how this data evolves with respect to the different weight categories, we see that it has an upward but very flat trend**, being for the heaviest athletes in the +94 category only 53.91% of their capacity, or an effort of 5.4 out of 10.

This information seems to me to be the most relevant to what we are discussing in this article, which is “how difficult it is bodyweight pull-up for a heavy weight relative to a light weight.” And I think **the conclusion is clear, and that is that it is a little more difficult, but not by much**. So I think I can reaffirm my argument that that excuse of “if I were as light as you I would also do pull-ups without a problem” is more of an excuse than reality.

Other aspects to take into account

Now, there are some things to comment after analyzing the data. The first is that **we are talking about athletes who, in the different weight categories, have a low percentage of body fat**, that is, when we talk about a 94 kilo athlete, it is 94 kilos of pure muscle. So if a person is heavy but with a large percentage of body fat, that would have a negative impact on his performance, since it would almost certainly correspond to a smaller amount of muscle than an lean athlete of that weight would have. Therefore, an excuse that would be valid could be “if I weren't so fat, I would also do pull-ups without a problem.”

Another point to keep in mind is that with this data **we are analyzing the ability to do 1 single repetition, not the ability to do many repetitions.**

Maybe one day I could do an analysis of the data on endurance athletes, but I think that if you are a little bit aware of that category, **it is obvious that the majority of top endurance athletes are small in stature**. Although they also tend to be relatively heavy for their height due to having a large amount of muscle mass.

So at first it seems that **in the case of the ability to do many repetitions, heavy athletes do have a greater disadvantage**, which is quite logical with respect to the data we saw previously, since if for you a pull-up is a 5 difficulty out of 10, there will not be much difference compared to someone for whom it is a 4 out of 10, but if both have to do 30 pull-ups, the difference will be noticeable.

Conclusions

To close, we are going to conclude that **it is true that in terms of relative strength, heavy weights have a slight disadvantage, especially in cases of extreme weights, but it is not so decisive for doing one or a few repetitions**, fat percentage is much more decisive. Finally, **for large amounts of repetitions it does seem that there is a greater disadvantage in heavy weights**.

Finally, remember that in Calisteniapp we have routines to learn how to do the pull-up, to get more repetitions of pull-ups and to work with weighted pull-ups.

Join our newsletter

NEW ARTICLES EVERY WEEK

Learn everything you need to know about calisthenics

Start training calisthenics and street workout