3 Types of Pull Ups all Crossfitters Need to Perfect

In the sport of Crossfit there are three popular kind of pull ups. Many people make fun of the kipping and butterfly versions, failing to understand the reasoning behind the mechanics. TIME. Crossfit WODs are timed, it´s all about speed and efficiency. Ask yourself the simple question: Which will take you longer: 100 strict pull ups or 100 kipped?

What will be more exhausting: 100 strict pull ups or 100 kipped? What will therefore be more efficient if it is your time that counts?

No doubt, strict pull ups are the best pull up variation you can do for building strength and muscle. And no Crossfit Athlete should work on kipping or butterfly movements without being able to do strict pull ups first.


To be good at doing pull-ups, you need to do pull-ups! Lifting weights and lifting your body upwards are two different tasks. The latter requires a much more complex interaction and motor pattern. Even if you have strong pulling muscles, it doesn’t mean you’ll be good at pull-ups.

Pulling your body up is a motor skill. And to develop a motor skill you must practice it often. Frequency trumps volume and intensity when it comes to motor learning. When you want to improve your pull-up performance you should do pull-ups as often as possible.

  • Grab The Bar. Grip it about shoulder-width. Full grip with your palms down.
  • Hang.Raise your feet off the floor. Best slightly forward so you feel your core is activated. Hang with straight arms.
  • Pull.Pull yourself up by pulling your elbows down to the floor. Keep your elbows close.
  • Pass The bar.Pull yourself all the way up until your chin passes the bar. Don’t do half reps.
  • Repeat. Lower yourself all the way down until your arms are straight. Breathe. Pull up again.


The Kipping Pull Up is the next step when you dominate the strict ones. It is a movement lead by the hips and you will need it in many Crossfit movements as Toes to Bars or any Muscle ups.

Once you get the hang of the drill (see the video) on the floor, move to the bar and practice this hip drive. Once your body is pulled behind the bar, with hips high and lats engaged, you can slightly bend the knees and aggressively pop your hips to propel you over the bar, just like you did on the floor. If done correctly, you should have so much momentum that your chin is up and over the bar.

It takes a few tries to get the timing, but with some practice you’ll be cracking those hips and getting your chin over the bar with ease!

  • Palms face away from you
  • When the feet swing forward, the butt swings back
  • When the butt swings back, the hips project forward
  • The backward swing of the butt continues into upward momentum
  • When high enough, snap your hips forward and pull with your arms to bring your chin over the bar
  • Push away from the bar and drive your butt back to come back down


The butterfly pull-up is like a kipping pull up… but in reverse. The motion behind butterfly pull ups is compared to pedaling a bike backwards, and is the opposite motion of the kipping pull-up.

  • Grab the bar with a wide grip and “hollow out,” tightening your quads, abs, and glutes.
  • Pull your body up and back in an arc.
  • Powerfully kick your legs toward the ground while pulling up with your lats and arms.
  • Finish with your chin over the bar. As you fall back down, immediately kick your legs forward to start the next rep.

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