Jun 22, 2022 - Sports

Former NCAA wrestling champion chases pull-up record

Anthony Robles at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

Anthony Robles at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Attempting the world record for pull-ups in 24 hours (currently 7,715) is among the most daunting challenges on Earth. It's also among the most popular.

Driving the news: Former NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles — born with one leg — was the latest to attempt the feat, falling short in a heroic effort last month.

  • With Guinness officials on hand, Robles began with a strategy of completing ~12 pull-ups in the first 15 seconds of every minute, followed by 45 seconds of rest. He also planned for multiple 30–45 minute breaks throughout the day.
  • Robles was on pace to break the record (2,721 in less than nine hours) when he felt a pop in his bicep — a torn tendon. He tried to continue, but simply couldn't.

What he's saying: "Not failure, but low aim, is the crime," Robles, 33, told the crowd of 50, channeling Bruce Lee. "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail."

The backdrop: Former Navy SEAL David Goggins put the pull-ups record on the map when he broke it in 2013 (4,030). It's been broken 12 times since then, with Goggins' bestselling 2018 memoir serving as a catalyst.

  • Robles read the book, as did former Army Ranger and current record-holder Brandon Tucker, who broke it in 2019 with a different strategy (three pull-ups every 30 seconds, no breaks).
  • Fun fact: Guinness requires teams of two counters to switch out every four hours because even counting these pull-ups accurately is exhausting.

What's next: Robles, who has a baby on the way, plans to give it one more try when his arm heals.

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