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10 Tips, Exercises and Progressions to Improve your CrossFit Pull Ups

10 tips for athletes of all different ability levels.

Tip 6 – Improve your strict pull-ups

Begin with improving your strict pull ups: wide grip, chin ups, rope pull ups, weighted, etc. Improved overall strength will be your advantage and could possibly save you from injuries that can occur during fast, explosive swings and hanging movements.

If you’re a beginner, scale them with ring rows, place your feet on the box and do eccentric pull ups. More about progression later on.

CrossFit pull upsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Tip 7 – Develop and learn to control the (explosive) kip during CrossFit pull ups

Efficient kip is what will get you through higher volume of CrossFit pull ups. Start swinging your feet backwards and forward, from global extension to flexion (hollow position), while maintaining tension throughout your body.

Kipping is about coordination, controlling the movement and keeping it in a certain, efficient rhythm which creates weightless momentum when you can “pull” yourself up with using less strength than with a strict version. The power generators in this phase are the hips and the core, and the explosiveness of the kip depends on the force produced (with it). Chest-to-bars need a stronger kip, more power generated to bring your body higher.

See Carl Paoli’s video for bar kip progression.

Tip 8 – Tighten the glutes and core more

Using the hips means engaging the glutes, large powerful muscles, consisting of gluteus maximus muscle (considered to be one of the strongest muscles of the human body), gluteus medius muscle, gluteus minimus muscle and tensor fasciae latae muscle. They enable us to bend and straighten the hips and produce the explosive jumping power, or in our case, the explosive “kipping” power.

Besides keeping our spine stabilized and our movement under control, core’s task is also to generate more power within the movement. Tight core will enable you to produce a higher power when kicking down and up with your legs during pull ups.

Tip 9 – Move elbows behind the back

Don’t allow your neck to break (or your head to fall back at the top of the movement). As Carl Paoli says, keep it in a neutral position. At the finish position elbows go behind the back (pull them all the way back) which allows chest to touch the bar.

For more tips on how to improve your CrossFit pull ups, this is a great place to start: 

Why Do I Suck at Pull-Ups? And How to Get Better at Them

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