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Harvard lecturer completes 68 pull-ups in one minute

A Harvard University lecturer tentatively set the Guinness World Record on Saturday for the most amount of pull-ups in one minute. Again.

Adam Sandel, 32, who lectures on Social Studies and is also pursuing a law degree at Harvard, set the record -- which he had set before -- at a fitness competition in Orlando, Fla.

The most-recent record was set in November by Anthony Robles, when he completed 62 pull-ups during a New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

“It was tough,” Sandel said in a phone interview Saturday evening. “I was just so excited by the crowd and the support and the cheering, that it was kind of a big boost.”


Sandel, who said he grew up in Brookline and now lives in Cambridge, set his first Guinness World Record for most pull-ups in one minute in 2016 when he completed 51.

Then again in 2017. And before Robles bested him, Sandel had re-set the record with 61 in September, he said.

Sandel said he doesn’t know how long it will take Guinness World Records to review footage of his feat, but he hopes it is sooner rather than later.

A spokesperson for Guinness World Records could not immediately be contacted Saturday evening.

With approximately 10 weeks to prepare for Saturday’s event, Sandel said his training regiment was more accelerated than usual. He said he did between 150 and 180 pull-up repetitions per work out on Mondays and Fridays -- broken up into sets, and with weight added to him -- and cross trained on other days of the week, he said.

While in the throes of training , Sandel said hauling his chin over the bar gets tough near the end, when he reaches the 45 to 50 pull-up mark.


“That is when I think, ‘Ok really lay down the hammer . . . do not let up,” he said. “That is the make or break for this type of competition.”

The philosophers whose works Sandel teaches -- Plato and Aristotle -- have also influenced his ability to train hard and motivate himself, he said.

Take Aristotle’s idea of habit.

“In other words, not just by thinking about [the habits] . . . but actually doing the actions over and over,” he said. “You can’t think yourself to 60 pull-ups.”

It is fun to compete and set records, Sandel said, but he will continue training and thinking of new methods to take the record even further.

“It is a passion,” he said. “It’s a journey — you embrace being on the way not just hitting the goal.”

Alejandro Serrano can be reached at alejandro.serrano@globe.com.