By Esther Stien
“I want to get a pull-up.”
“My goal is to be able to do a muscle-up.”
When it comes to gymnastics, there’s no question getting your first pull-up and your first muscle-up are incredibly rewarding moments. But sometimes by putting so much emphasis on such tangible milestones, we forget to celebrate the smaller personal bests—and the equally as important milestones—along the way.
Think about your pulling strength—your eventual road to a pull-up and muscle-up as being on a 100-step staircase. In this way, pull-ups and a muscle-up are simply just two other steps on the staircase, no less, or no more important, than the step before or the step after. Using this analogy, let’s say a ring row with a perfectly horizontal body is step 25 on the staircase, while a pull-up is step 50, and a muscle-up is step 75. The pulling strength you gain going from step 49 to step 50 is equivalent to the strength gained moving from step 50 to 51 (where step 51 might mean you can do 2 consecutive pull-ups), yet we’re more likely to celebrate reaching step 50 than 51. I ask why. Why is getting a pull-up somehow more important than being able to do two consecutive pull-ups? It comes down to ego and our perception of what is important. But if you change the way you think about your pulling gains-and your fitness in general-to being a staircase where no one step is more important than any other, you will have way more to celebrate along the way. You also won’t get as frustrated and impatient waiting to reach step 50 because you’ll also get enjoyment reaching step 46, 47, 48, and 49, too.
My challenge to you: Set 5 small goals along the way to your ultimate goal, and remember to pat your-self on the back when you reach them. Because, gains are gains!