Janis Finkelman PRs With 27 Pull-Ups, One Year After a Bicep Tear

Pull-ups are freaking awesome for becoming a better powerlifter.

The lats are great for helping stabilize the spine — so they help contribute to better core stability for squats and deadlifts — they’re instrumental in the pulling motion of the deadlift, and they also help push the barbell of the chest during the bench press. Pull-ups also improve the elbow flexors, grip strength, shoulder health, and they develop more motor units in the back.

Pull-ups are dope, and if you want an impressive powerlifting total, it’s smart to become as proficient as possible.

[Can you do an L-sit pull-up? Check out our 10 favorite pull-up variations for superhuman strength!]

We’re telling you all this so you can extra appreciate this insane feat from powerlifter Janis Finkelman: twenty-seven unbroken pull-ups.

No kipping, no jerking, and every one of them from a dead hang. And it’s even more impressive because she tore her bicep just fourteen months ago.

In fact, Finkelman’s recovery from the injury has been nothing short of phenomenal: nine months after the tear she deadlifted 460 pounds for two reps at 135 pounds bodyweight and a few months after that — in early August, thirteen months post-tear — she set a world record in the lift with 496 pounds (225kg) at 143lb (65kg) bodyweight.

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Here is my 496 all time world record at 132 from yesterday; I want to thank @markvbrandenburg for getting this video. This was a lift I'm pretty sure I got basically only because I wanted it, it was what I came for, and I had no other choice. It was not perfect, or easy. Nothing hard won is. I'm grateful for the last year, one of the hardest of my life, and not remotely just because of my arm. I just started a new job three weeks ago, I have had some pretty significant emotional turmoil, I've dealt with a lot of depression this year. This lift gave me closure on things that needed it badly. I had no idea what was going on after it returned to the ground. I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love that I have felt in the time since I completed this lift. I have felt alone very much in the past year. I know I am not. Thanks to everyone for your support and amazing words. If I haven't gotten back to you yet, I will. #prohooker #notirrelevantasfuck #girlswithmuscle #girlswhopowerlift #deadlift

A post shared by Janis Finkelman (@janisfinkelman) on

[Want to avoid a bicep tear? Here’s everything you need to know.]

But rehab wasn’t all PRs and world records. She has been outspoken about the difficulties and stress she endured on her road to recovery, writing in April:

I have really screwed up and fallen backward into dark mental places multiple times. I have been afraid more times than I know and I have almost quit more times than I want to say. But I didn’t.

Oh, and part of her training for high-rep bodyweight pull-ups? Low-rep weighted pull-ups. Watch another PR from earlier this week of six pull-ups with fifty pounds added around her waist. This was followed by another set of six and one more of five.

As is often the case with strength, low reps, high reps, and a bunch of different grip variations are key to progressing in pull-ups. When’s the last time you mixed things up?

Featured image via @janisfinkelman on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. At BarBend his writing more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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