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Different Kinds of Pull-ups

October 31, 2012


There was a demo video on CrossFit.com (Sunday 121028) for a pull-up heavy WOD that got me thinking.  In it Cherie Chan discusses butterfly pullups briefly.  Cherie explains that although butterfly pullups are faster, clinic she performs them in 1/3 of her pull-up WODs.  Why?  Because butterfly pullups don’t offer all the great things other forms of pullups do, order pulling strength and carry over to gymnastic movements…they’re just faster.  If you want great muscle ups, viagra doing a bunch butterfly pullups may not get you there – the kipping pull-up, or even better, strict pullups will do wonders to develop the pulling power you may need.

I developed my own butterfly pullups a few years ago, but I don’t like to teach them.  I would prefer that athletes discover their “own butterfly”, usually after thousands of solid pullups.  I do feel like my personal reliance on butterfly pullups led to my shoulder/chest injury last year – the hundreds of reps in a partial ROM may have created an imbalanced shoulder joint.  Not great…

I used to follow James FitzGerald’s OPT blog, and I think he saw the problems that may come with high reps of butterfly pullups.  James saw this, even though he created the butterfly with a guy named Brett Marshall, aka “AFT”.  James and Brett finished 1 & 2 in the first CrossFit Games in 2007, mainly because they had insanely fast pullups.  James programs COVP pullups, Chin Over Vertical Plane, or in non-Canadian Fitness Geek Speek, Chin over the Bar Pullups.  If you are doing a million butterfly pullups, do yourself a favor, and work other types of pullups into your regimen.  Slow down so you can get stronger, then you can speed up.

If you are looking to develop your pullups or develop the powerful pull for the muscle up, there are more ways than just more kipping pullups.  Strict, L-Pullups, and Weighted Pullups are excellent ways to develop your pulling power, and they will be finding their way into our programming.  It’s a shame that I haven’t programmed an L-Pullup in years.  I promise you, they are humbling.

If you don’t have pullups, jumping and bands are excellent ways to scale workouts. But if getting a pull-up is a goal, you need to put in a little time to develop that powerful pull.  The use of hanging, negatives, and  “scapular pullups” may help develop the upper body strength to get your chin over the bar and your body over the rings.

Connie got the hang of handstand walking on Monday night’s WOD.

Workout of the Day


5 Pullups

10 Pushups

15 Squats

I will add this scaling option for advanced athletes: If you have over 20 rounds of Cindy, you can do “Mary.”  If you have over 10 rounds of Mary, you can do “Nate.”  Mary and Nate will not be “coached”, but if you are able to meet the work output needed to perform the WODs, you’re probably aware of what you need to do.

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