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.

[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. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little 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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