“The goal in your pull-up work is ‘more.’ You want, you need, more pull-ups. The more you can do, the stronger you become. Muscular endurance, absolute strength, relative strength—whatever you want to define and measure gets better.
How significant is the pull-up? In our view the pull-up is:
- At least as important as any other upper body exercise
- An essential part of athletic training
- Perfectly functional
- A gateway exercise to highly developmental gymnastics movements
- Singularly unique and valuable, and so has no replacement (“lat pull-down” is a weak substitute)
The requirements for the CrossFit pull-up are simple yet tough to execute. The pull-up begins from a hang at full arm and shoulder extension and ends, regardless of grip, with the chest pressed tightly to the bar.
Pulling the chest to the bar is very hard but encourages fully “opening the chest” and pulling the shoulders back or “closing the back.” In the early stages of developing a pull-up it is acceptable to bring Adam’s apple to the bar instead of the chest, but leading with the shoulders forward rather than back is a fault that needs to be fixed long before you are going to get to 30 pull-ups.
Technically correct pull-ups:
- Go from full hang to chest pressing tightly to the bar.
- Lead with the chest up and shoulders way back.
- Are visually directed, that is, a sightline is chosen that is shortened as the body rises to the bar.
- Synchronize respiration to the pull-up: inhale down, exhale up.
- Are motivated by trying to drive the elbows down to the ground, not by trying to flex the arm!
Nearly any surface on which you can get even a fingertip hold and hang is a potential platform for pull-ups, but for the regular practice, you need a pull-up bar for which there are several options.
Every personal best pull-up is an event worthy of celebration. You’re going to live to be 100 but you’ll not get that many pull-ups, so treat the new ones like birthdays.
We help you become the best version of yourself in terms of moving safely and efficiently. Every coaching process starts with assessing an athlete’s abilities and mindset. Our coaching philosophy includes balancing various elements of your life to put your goal first. As coaches, we do not judge our athlete’s potential, instead, we work with athletes to develop a positive mindset and a belief in self-achievement.
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