Friday, October 11, 2013

Mom of 5 Almost Dies From Pull-ups ~ My Story on Trainers, Rhabdomyolysis and Following Your Instincts

It was September 18th, 2013. I was just a little over a month away from my first marathon. I was in the best shape of my life. I was eating healthier than I ever had and felt great! I visited my trainer and we chatted over the half hour about how excited I was. How I knew I was ready. About how this was one of the last few sessions I would spend with him until after the marathon. And how I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any injuries. 

“So take it easy, ok?’ I said to him. 
“Of course!", he responded. 

Our relationship wasn’t new. I had been seeing him for months. I had developed a deep trust of his knowledge. I knew he was taking more classes for certification. I also knew the gym had recently been bought out by a bigger conglomerate and they were busily “re-training” the employees. I felt safe. I felt protected.

On September 19th, I had a makeup session with my trainer. At the beginning of the session we did core exercises, which I expected to be my focus. I was surprised when halfway through the session we moved to the other side of the gym and started working on arms. 

“We did arms yesterday, are you sure I’m ok to do it again?”, I asked. 
He gave me the look of, come on I got this, and said, “I’m sure, Michelle”. 

One of the exercises included jumping pull-ups. A jumping pull-up is when you use a booster (in my case a bench) to jump up into the pull-up, but then you must slowly lower your body, fully extending your arms. It is also called a negative pull-up. It's sort of like cheating a pull-up, but the lowering, and lengthening, puts an immense strain on your muscles. This was something we had never done. 

After he demonstrated the exercise I said, “NO WAY I can do this”. 
“Oh yes you can," he replied. 
I was to do 20 reps. After 10, I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”. 

He pushed me along. Assuring me I had no problem finishing it. And I did! Imagine my surprise at the end of the workout when he told me to do another set of 20. I pushed through 10 very sloppy ones. I couldn’t go on. 

“Yes you can”, he says “10 more and you can go home.” 

I trusted him. He had pushed me many times before. This wasn’t any different, right? Wrong! I learned later that the load he had me perform was out of the ordinary for the fittest of my male counterparts...let alone me, a 37 year old mother who hadn't done a pull-up since I was 12.

Immediately after leaving the gym, I was kicking myself. Wow, my arms hurt! I didn’t want to hurt this close going into the Marine Corps Marathon! We were supposed to be doing maintenance! “No injuries, remember”, I thought. I made it through my day with vague soreness. But, that night, I woke with a deep aching pain in my arms that prevented me to sleep. When Friday morning came, I couldn’t straighten my arms. 

“What the hell”, I thought, “how am I going to get through my day taking care of 2 toddlers with gimpy arms!” 

I was walking around like a T-Rex. Like the stereotypical meathead gym rat. I wondered, is this how it’s supposed to feel? I assumed the worst case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) of my life. After all, that IS the gym culture. Feel the burn. If it hurts then it’s working. In fact, my gym proudly displayed quotes of this nature in the training area. Lucky for me, I had leftover muscle relaxers and prescription strength ibuprofen in my medicine cabinet. Unlucky for me, it didn’t touch the pain.

Friday night’s sleep met with the same deep aching pain in my arms and I couldn’t find a comfortable position for the life of me. Saturday morning, I was unchanged. We were supposed to take the family to Great Country Farms, but it was foggy and misty, and my 2 year old was clearly needing an early nap. I decided to get on google to see if I could shed any light on my arm injury. I thought for sure I had torn a muscle. I typed in Jumping Pull-ups Can’t Put Arms Down. And what pops up? If You Exercise, Read This. Here I found a woman’s story of Rhabdomyolysis. "What the heck", I thought. Never heard of it. No way I had that, right? 

I had just gotten health insurance in June, so I decided to run over to urgent care on a whim. I NEVER would have gone if I had no insurance. It’s just DOMS right? When I arrived I was running a fever. The nurse practitioner was puzzled, but unaffected. I mentioned the article I read. That raised her eyebrows and she recommended I head over to the ER for a better look. While I drove to the ER, I started feeling....funny. Different. Not quite right. The ER doc took one look at me and one look at my urine sample and chuckled at the thought I might have Rhabdo. 

“No chance”, he said. “You just have a muscle strain. But, we’ll go ahead and do an x-ray if you really want to see if there is something broken.” 

I guess I don’t blame his early, uninformed diagnosis. Everything on the internet said if you have rhabdomyolysis, you will have cola colored urine. Mine was almost clear. Of course it was! I’m a health nut! I drink tons of water and eat a clean diet! But there was a sensation I had that something wasn’t right...and I decided to push him for blood tests.

Thank God I did. For had I walked out of that ER that day, I can’t say with any certainty I’d be writing this.

The ER doc walked back in my room about 30 minutes later to say he was still waiting for my CK test to come back. 

“Your liver enzymes are a bit elevated, but I still don’t see anything to indicate rhabdo. Again, it just looks like a muscle strain. Follow-up an orthopedist next Wednesday if it’s not better. But, we’ll go ahead and wait for the CK to come in...” Those last words he said in a way I expected him to continue....just for shits and giggles.

The next hour in that room, I felt things really deteriorating. I was dizzy. I was out of it. I overheard nurses outside my room talking. 

“Oh my God, I’ve never seen it that high in a heart attack patient”. 
“I know”, said the other. 

Were they talking about me? What was going on?! My ER doctor quickly appeared. His cocky, know it all demeanor had diminished. 

“I’m sorry, but things just got a little worse for you. Your CK came back at 42,000.” 
I asked, “What is it supposed to be?” 
“Undetectable”, he responded. 

Terror flooded my mind. I’m a mom. I’m needed. I’m only 37. I’m healthy. How is this happening to ME?! 

“We are going to have to admit you to another hospital”.

Things started happening really fast then. I was being transported via ambulance. They did an EKG before I left. Then decided to monitor my heart on the way. As soon as I was put into the ambulance, I starting having chest pains. "What was happening", I thought. Tears filled my eyes as I stared up at the lights in the ambulance. Was I going to die right there? Without my family. Without saying goodbye. My kidneys were failing. My electrolytes were out of whack. And I was having heart arrhythmias. Because of PULL-UPS. Pull-ups! Unreal.

So, what is rhabdomyolysis? In layman’s terms, when your muscles are pushed beyond their limit, they virtually explode. Releasing dangerous myoglobin into the bloodstream. Your kidneys try to do their part in cleaning the blood, but are unable to properly filter the myoglobin out. They then begin to shutdown. If left untreated, rhabdomyolysis will kill you.

I was in the hospital for 6 days. I reached out to my trainer immediately to cancel my membership. He told me to come into the gym. “But, I”m in the hospital?” I tried reaching the training manager. He did not return my email or phone calls. I finally reached the GM. “Oh, ok, how about I fax you the form,” he said. “Again, sir, I’m in the hospital”. I finally filled in the paperwork for cancellation when I returned home and faxed it in, but at that time I had already been charged for October’s personal training. Seriously? I didn’t want to go after them for negligence, I just wanted to cancel my membership and get October’s money back. For 2 weeks, the GM and I tried to get a response from corporate. When I finally did, it was this: “It will be another 30 days for your membership to be cancelled”.


At first, I wanted to blow this whole thing up on how crappy my gym is and how cancellation for extenuating circumstances like, your trainer almost killed me, should trump standard cancellation policies. But, as time has worn on, this is much bigger than my gym sucks. What if I had died? What if there is another mother, father, sister, brother out there who is just as uninformed as I was? What is the responsibility of the trainer? Of the gym? Should they be legally held accountable for pushing a client too far? Does there need to be more education on the part of trainers and their clients before beginning training sessions?

The nurses I talked to while I was in Loudoun Hospital (which provided me the most amazing care) told me that they see rhabdomyolysis all the time now. This is not acceptable. I want to make sure my story is heard. Nationwide. It is ridiculous that I almost died over something so small and careless. I want to make sure my story can be used to help others.


  1. Holy Crap! That is terrible and I can't believe how irresponsible the gym is being about the whole situation. I hope that you can recover fully from the personal trainer's negligence... and i know you are very tired and need your rest... but it sounds like contacting a lawyer would be in your interest. At least tell them you will if they don't give you your refund?
    Good luck to you mama! And i hope to read about your happy road to recovery with a "happy ending".... (((hugs)))
    ~robin @

  2. Thank you for sharing your very scary experience. I will be re posting your story. And i will be praying for a full recovery.

  3. You are still in my prayers, Michelle. I hope you are well enough to still come to our 20th high school reunion next week!

  4. I'm praying you make a full recovery and grateful that you were able to get help before it was too late. You should hold Gold's responsible for what happened and the trainer himself. From the sound of it he wasn't at all interested in helping you, he was getting his kicks out of putting you thru a hard workout that wasn't appropriate for you at all. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Busted, thank you for your words of encouragement. I definitely had the vibe that he had his own agenda. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and hope you share it with others to spread the word fast. I am humbled by how many have already read it and STUNNED by the number of stories I'm hearing about people who have been through something similar.

  5. I wanted to chime in on two counts: One - I'm very sorry this happened to you and that you survived and Two - kudos for you for not trying to sue the world and make it rich off of someone who (from inference I would believe) was trying to help you - misguided though he was.

    Many people wouldn't hold the individual directly accountable as there is no money in it. Instead they choose to go after the corporation since they have (much) more money.

    Given the approach you took, I have already forwarded this blog/article to several of my CrossFit-esque friends. I wish you the best in a speedy recovery going forward.

    1. Thank you very much for sharing this with your crossfit friends. I know I have read the crossfit community has taken a strong stance to educate their trainers and clients on the issue of rhabdomyolysis. It's time to educate the rest of us. If it can happen to a 37 year old "regular" mom, it can happen to anyone!

  6. My Mom used to work for an orthopedic surgeon and they saw more folks from Gold's Gym than the others. I think that it might just be their way.

    1. Travelinglight, thank you for sharing that. It does seen like a culture of More is More!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. This is a terrible cautionary story that emphasizes the "just because you can doesn't mean you should" adage. There is so much to be value to be placed on listening to your body and trusting your gut more than a professional (be it trainer, Dr., ect). Your story is one to learn from. Thank you again for sharing. I am glad you are doing better!

    1. Christine, thank you for your kind words. That is very well put, jut because you can doesnt mean you should. A big takeaway from this for me is that you have to be in control body. Whether it be doctors or trainers, you really are your only advocate. Sad, but true! Everyone seems to have their own agendas.

  8. I just wanted to pop on here and tell you that fitness is not the only way to get Rhabdo. 6 years ago I got it from a virus, yes a virus. At first I thought that maybe I had the typical body aches you get with the flu but as the days passed I couldn't move. By the time I went to the ER I couldn't squeeze my fingers together to sign in.

    You can also get it from a fall, car accident, etc.

    I highly suggest that you get regular stress tests on your heart as your heart is a muscle and Rhabdo affects every muscle in the body. I was in decent shape when I got it but now I'm on meds for high bloodp ressure and panic attacks, something I never had before.

    Thanks for posting this for others and I hope you fully recovered.

    1. Casino News, thank you for "popping" in. How very scary that must have been for you! Talk about put of the blue! Rhabdo is super nasty and you really need to catch it quick. I'm so sorry to hear you have continued care as a result, this is definitely something I fear. I wish you well on your long road of recovery!

  9. I am so glad you opted to go to the doctors and get it checked out. While I agree with you to a certain extent about not pursuing this via the courts, I think you should see a lawyer. At the very least, you were hurt because you were following someone's advice who was supposed to be qualified to train you. " I learned later that the load he had me perform was out of the ordinary for the fittest of my male counterparts...let alone me, a 37 year old mother who hadn't done a pull-up since I was 12." Yes, you have insurance and thank goodness you do. But you are still getting bills for copays. If you work outside the home, you're still missing time from the office I'm sure. If you don't work outside the home I'm sure it's had in impact on what you can enjoy with your family. I'm not saying you should go to court and take them for all they're worth but I think you need to try to get your medical bills covered. Personally I would hesitate to go to a lawyer because I'd keep thinking, "Hey! My fault. I went to the trainer, I did the exercises even when it didn't feel right. My fault." I would need someone to push me to try to get my bills covered just for that reason. You go to the gym with the expectation that the gym has knowledgeable, qualified personnel to teach you the routines so that you don't get injured. It is a reasonable expectation. Like going to a restaurant and expecting them to provide food that doesn't kill you because it's used after it's past it's prime. Anyway, I just wanted to give my advice (which you may well not want). Again, I'm very happy that you listened to your body and got yourself to the doctor and then stood your ground. I hope you continue to improve and that your kidney's get back to normal along with your life.

    1. Hi Mary!

      Thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement! I know that calling a lawyer is a knee jerk reaction for most, I feel a strong need to make sure this story is heard once and for all. Not brushed under the carpet through litigation. I think most people think "that would never happen to me" or "this is so rare" but I keep hearing countless stories. My hope is that this will be picked up in he press by someone who will do some real investigative reporting on the matter. Gyms should discuss this with their clients before starting PT. People should know "working out" carries more risks than strained ligaments and pulled hamstrings. Trainers should also be educated on this extensively in training or certifications.

      Thank you again for reading and sharing my story!

  10. I'm with Mary on this one. I'm so glad you listened to your instincts and are "okay." But, these people... Prayers for you and yours!

    1. Jess thank you a very much for your prayers! They are appreciated!!!

  11. Michelle:

    I am deeply sorry that you are experiencing such a terrible medical condition and I wish you have a full and speedy recovery. However, I would like to note that the onset of your illness cannot be blamed on your personal trainer. With the information you have provided, the best possible outcome, for you, would be that Gold's Gym gives you a full refund of your membership dues that you have paid following the onset of your illness. The only thing that would hinder a refund would be a stipulation, in the membership paperwork you signed, stating that you must provide a given amount of time to cancel your membership. Also, to my knowledge, Gold's Gym requires all of it's members to sign a medical release form, upon joining and upon receiving personal training, that prevents the gym, or it's employees, from being responsible for any of it's members' subsequent injuries or illnesses.

    About your illness: There is no way that your trainer would have known that the amount of work he instructed you to do would have caused such a condition or any negative repercussions for that matter. The fact that you were "in the best shape of your life" (which I assume means good shape), training for a marathon, very health conscious, a nurse (according to your profile information), and that you had been being trained by him for a while, supports my claim. Also, two sets of 20 negative pull ups, which you ended up completing, is not a very large amount of work and would definitely not be considered that mark of a fit male counterpart. The exercise, given that you had no prior conditions, does not constitute as dangerous as could the bench press or squat be remotely considered. However, it is understood that it is the job of a personal trainer is to push his/her client, that they are not the law of the land, and do not threaten their clients. You could have stopped at any time if you had felt any unusual pain or symptoms. I find it very unlikely that your personal trainer, or your gym, would be found responsible for your illness.

    Something else to consider: There is high prevalence of Rhabdomyolysis in marathon runners. The consequences of running a marathon, which is much more strenuous than pull ups, may have been much worse. Your personal trainer may have just inadvertently saved your life.

    Once again, I am very sorry that you sustained such an unfortunate illness. I hope that I have helped you better understand the possible outcomes of your situation and I wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery.



    1. Hi Eric,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story and share your opinion.

      Are you a doctor? (I am not actually a nurse by the way, just a tongue-in-cheek reference to the many jobs moms play). The kidney expert I saw begs to differ on your opinion. While I have heard stories in marathoners (usually ultra marathoners) with this disease, I had blood work a month prior to the incident with no CK elevation. Additionally, rhabdomyolysis is actually rampant among crossfit athletes, which is what this exercise entails. Take a moment to google a little more on crossfit and rhabdomyolysis so you can understand the causes of the illness. Additionally, I have found that this exercise specifically "jumping pull-ups" is he number one cause of rhabdomyolysis. There is something about the lengthening of the muscles under the weight of the body that causes catastrophic damage to the muscles.

      With regards to your comment on the trainer not having any idea that load would cause the illness...are you a trainer? I have spoken to several since the incident (including the general manager of this Gold's Gym location) and each trainer has said that they are STUNNED he would have had me do something so reckless. "Maybe 5, maybe 6, but in NO WAY should he have had you do that amount". There are COUNTLESS other stories like mine on the Internet regarding jumping pull-ups and rhabdomyolysis. My trainer definitely should have known. It was his job to know. Exercise like his should be worked up to large sets, not started with large sets.

      I did my homework before I decided to write this blog post. Writing something untrue does no good for anyone.

      My point is this. If I could get it, so could you. Something as ridiculous as pull-ups could put you in the hospital. People need to be educated on this stuff, ESPECIALLY the trainers we pay to take care of us.

    2. I bet Eric works for Gold's Gym.... just a hunch. Truly, litigation might be the only way this story and rhabdomyolysis gets the coverage they deserve. I also think that, despite reading this post, there are many folks who say "that will never happen to me"...and hearing about this might be a cautionary tale they will remember. And, maybe because you have already spoken out about it, GG will be less likely to force you to stay quiet as part of a settlement situation.

  12. I think you should get a lawyer. Gold's Gym's response to you is abominable. This trainer and others like him need to realize the harm they can cause and be educated if they're going to work with people and the possibility of injury and in your case possible death is really scary to me. Gold's Gym makes a lot of money off of their personal training sessions and need to be accountable. If you don't take a stand, who will? You were lucky, and I'm also a 37 year old mother, and although I don't believe in being overly litigious, I believe in your case you really should pursue matters. A company like Gold's Gym who barely even responded to you and showed no concern for your well being whatsoever should be ashamed, and make this right. I know they're probably just protecting themselves, but this is unacceptable.

    I am so happy for you and your family, that you caught this in time. I wish you health and healing and am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story, it's a reminder to us all to trust our instincts, and not let another person push us beyond what we feel is safe for ourselves.

  13. Oh my goodness!! Thank God you are ok!! Will keep you in my prayers!!

  14. Hi Michelle! Could you email me please? Had some questions for you!
    Email: jolabanji at wjla dot com


  15. Ugh, sorry you had to go through this. That Crossfit case in question was just down the road in Manassas and the trainer, affiliate, and gym in which it was performed were all forced to pay damages. This is something my company works tirelessly to educate people (and especially trainers) on. We have been involved in high intensity, low volume exercise instruction for decades. By nature of our methods, we hold the volume (sets and reps) down. We've never encountered this in all of that time. 40 pull ups doesn't sound like a lot, but done in a negative only fashion, it is VERY taxing and damaging. Essentially you did the equivalent of 4 sets of 10 negative only reps. That's 3 times what I would have prescribed you for that exercise. This is something everybody needs to learn about exercise. Particularly trainers who should moderate intensity, volume, and frequency appropriately. It doesn't take a whole lot to do a lot of damage. Again, I hope your recovery goes smoothly.

    Chris Lutz

  16. Wow! Your story touched a lot of us!

    God bless and heal you. What a trauma - not just for you, but your family as well. Thank you so much for sharing!!


  17. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you since we heard through Vienna MRTT! We will continue to have you in our thoughts as you recover. Your story is an important one to share as we all innocently dismiss the things our bodies try to tell us as moms.

  18. I am a certified CrossFit trainer and I think that CrossFit is being responsible in teaching about rhabdo in their certification courses as well as making people aware of what it is. With that being said, not all trainers are created equal (CrossFit or not) and not all pay attention to what is being taught. Not all think "more is better" or "no pain, no gain". Your rhabdo was not caused by "jumping pull ups" but the "negatives". Jumping u and then holding that long contraction of the muscle should never be done more than a few times and trainers need to know that. Yes, other things can cause it too but this exact thing in particular is specifically addressed during CrossFit certifications as well as some other typical CrossFit exercises that should never be done in high reps or for time. I'm sorry this happened and I'm glad you caught it and got better. Good luck.

  19. I experienced just about the same exact thing but fortunately didn't get to the point of the heart or kidney problems...though i never got checked out. I went for a Crossfit free day that included 50 pullups (assisted or jump), some thrusters and a run...x2. The next day i couldn't move my arms and felt exactly the same way as you described (t-rex, typical weightlifter walk). It took about two weeks to regain my strength and be able to do a single pull up again.

  20. thank you so much for sharing your story, it's a good reminder to all of us

  21. Thank heavens you went with your feelings and made them do the test. What a horrible experience. Thank you for sharing your story, for maybe saving someone else's life.

  22. Hi Michelle, I received your email about rhabdo and wrote you back but the email keeps bouncing back to me so Im not sure if you received my reply or not. I did post your website on my Facebook page in the hopes that others can benefit from what you went through.
    Im REALLY sorry this happened to you! Here is my review on rhabdo

    As for personal trainers, I feel those who say its "rare" are the ones more likely to see it. I think the risk of rhabdo is increasing because of all the high intensity exercise programs out there today.
    If I can be of any other help, just email me

  23. 4/11/2014 I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolsis and my story is extremely similar. Assuming that I had MOST CERTAINLY tore a muscle based on the pain i was in, like you, I almost did not go to urgent care and could have died. Luckily, the nurse practitioner (completely unbeknownst to me) had thought almost immediately I had Rhabdo and did not bother to do anything except order blood work and a urine sample. My story began exactly as yours...

    I decided that being 50 pounds overweight and a terrible eater in my early 30's was no longer acceptable (im female/31) and I made the choice to change my life. I changed my diet, started a gym membership, and found a personal trainer who could act as my nutritionist as well as a work out trainer. For the first 3 weeks we did cardio to get my body used to movement for the first time in 10 years and created a meal-plan. We did grocery shopping and kept a food journal together. On 4/9/14 we had our first muscle work out together. The first thing we started with was legs. 3 sets of 20 squats with 10, then 15, then 20 pound weights, then laying on the floor doing 20 leg raises, then 20 calf raises off of a step. My trainer wanted me to do jumping squats and I physically could not do one (should have been a sign NOT to use 20 pounds weights?). So I just did regular squats and after the first 10 I felt significant pain, but i thought, this is good right? it should hurt, right? SOMEHOW I got through all 3 sets and then moved on to arms. By the end of our 1 hour work out I felt like my legs were made of jello, which is pretty unusual because muscle pain should start significantly the next day. My thighs had almost no strength and I could not push the gas petal hard enough to even drive home from the gym because my thighs were so weak, as if they were replaced with jello. The next day the pain was severe, but I still continued to think that I just had a hard work out and I assumed that within a few days I would start to feel better. Getting from a standing to a sitting position was impossible to do on my own. That night, the night of the 10th things got worse. MUCH WORSE. I went to get out of bed and hobbled to the bathroom to pee in the middle of the night and as i was getting back into my bed my leg had a spasm in it and i began screaming and crying. It was the first time I cried my way through an injury. By 10 am the next morning, on 4/11/14, as the pain began to grow, we went to urgent care.
    Again, the nurse practitioner said we will do a blood and urine sample and she had me just lay on the bed and wait for the results to come in. I was so certain it was nothing (I had never heard of Rhabdo at this point) more than a torn muscle that I got dressed with the help of my husband and waited for them to release me with some much needed muscle relaxers. She came back in and said Jill, as I thought, you have Rhabdomyolysis. At that point my CK was 19000 and my liver too had some damage. She explained what Rhabdo was and that I would be taken to the hospital via ambulance for constant fluids to avoid kidney failure. I was released 5 days later with a CK still of 19,000 but physically feeling much better. It is such a rare and uncommon condition that no one not even nurses i know have ever heard of it. I would love to get the message out there and just how dangerous it is to work out your skeletal muscles too hard. Im with you all the way!

  24. If I may, I have read your previous replies to other people who have posted as well and I respect the level of research you have done. Myself being a recent survivor, if you will, of Rhabdomyolysis the only thing we can do is research and help ourselves to help others. When I told my family what I had while in the hospital, I told them it was best to just google it, because it would them the best idea about what I was going through. I do not believe in my case that it was my trainers fault, my fault, the gyms fault, or anyones fault (well maybe mine a little but I didnt know then what I know now). The best indication that our bodies are not ready to perform a certain exercise is our bodies resistance to it. My body dosent like to do arm curls with 10 pound weights, but it will do it with not much hesitation. While I was doing the squats it felt as though my body was trembling, I was uncontrollably strongly resisting them and I should have stopped and said, wait, I can't do that. To many people doing 60 squats is very little and to others it is hard, but not impossible. My skeletal muscle was not ready for it and I should have been more in touch with that. My biggest hope to come out of this is to educate trainers, coaches, and athletes about Rhabdo and also to tell people working out that your skeletal muscles are dangerous, which is why squats and push/pull ups are the biggest causes of Rhabdo. I want people to know not to push those muscles because when damaged, it can kill you. People don't know that. How can we reach them???