How to Order and Train With a Crossfit Pullup Bar

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

First, you can either go to Rogue's site and purchase a pull-up bar (nice and secure, standard pull-up bar) or you can make your own and search for a cheaper brand. If all your going to be doing is pull-ups and just need a bar, you can easily find a simple metal iron bar that could be altered to fit a doorway cross beam, or find some shelter brackets and drill them into a secure wall with the bar.

Step 2

Once the pull-up bar is installed (really any strong, metal bar will work), then you need to learn the basics to become efficient at the pull-up exercise. Simply hanging from the bar and pulling yourself with your arms will develop some strength, but if you are trying to strengthen overall shoulder mobility and move quicker to get to the next exercise in a WOD, you will need to learn how to kip.

Step 3

Kipping is probably the most basic movement first learned by gymnasts to develop upper body strength about the bar. To practice, first hang from the bar with your arms about shoulder width or wider apart, thumbs positioned around the bar (not on top!), and elbows turned in as best as you can. It may take quite awhile to develop comfort with keeping an inward rotation with you elbows and shoulder. Eventually, it prevents the shoulder from becoming irritated by keeping it in proper joint position.

Step 4

Once you are in position, begin by focusing on your shoulder joints as you begin to push and pull about the bar, and your head should be going back and forth through you arms. As you pick up momentum and begin a larger swinging motion, keep you core strong and hollow, and incorporate your hips and legs into your swing. As your head goes forward, your legs are back, and vice versa. You should be creating an oscillating motion under the bar, not simply swinging. Your legs and head should not be in front or behind your hands together at any time!

Step 5

If you are not strong enough to hang and kip in the oscillating motion described, then you need to practice with bands described in another post. You can also slowly attempt swinging each day to build up muscle strength through pure repetition.

Step 6

As you begin your kipping motion and feel comfortable to kip continuous for a few swings back and forth, then you are ready to attempt a pull-up. On your back swing, just as your head passes back through your arms, begin lifting your knees and transfer the energy to your kips and pop your hips toward the ceiling aggressively. As you pop your hips, pull yourself up to the bar with your arms. If done fluidly, you should feel the momentum from the lower part of your body transfer and carry into your upper body giving you a boost to get up to the bar quickly. Once your chin has risen above the bar, you have completed a rep.

Step 7

Next, if you feel comfortable pulling yourself up to the bar while kipping, try doing consecutive pull-ups. At the peak of your pull-up, slightly push away from the bar on the descent while keeping your legs straight and infront of you. This push will create separation from the bar and you'll notice that as you return to the bottom position, you will naturally swing through your arms back to the kipping swing. Of course, you need to practice body control and develop the strength to hang, pull and push from the bar.

Step 8

Kipping can seem very frustrating and taxing on your body, much more so than doing a regular pull-up. You need to continue to practice and after your first time, take care of your shoulders through stretching and therapy and rest. If you ever experience intense, sharp pain, you should see a physician or chiropractor. When beginning, you may feel some tingling in your fingers and hands, callused hands, and muscle fatigue, but that is part of your body developing tolerance.

Step 9

Once you gather enough strength in developing kipping pull-ups, you will notice how much efficient the movement is in helping to complete several pull-ups at one time. An even more efficient movement is the butterfly kipping pull-up. This involves a perpetual motion that offers extremely fast pull up speed about the bar. It requires much work on developing strength and taking care of the shoulder joints. The butterfly pull-up should never be completed until kipping pull-ups are very comfortable.

Step 10

Butterfly-begin as you would with a regular kipping pull-up, but when you go to start the progression, lift you legs behind you and create a swooping motion. In other words, you your legs and swoop them from behind you to in front of you to start your body momentum backward away from the bar. Soon after the kip with your legs, complete a pull-up, but as you complete the movement guide your body slightly into the bar and keep your legs back. As you hit the bottom of the descent to full extension, swoop your legs in front again causing the motion to occur once more. It is quite difficult to describe, so I highly recommend just searching for a video to understand the movement I described.

Step 11

Working on a mixture of pull-ups like pure, dead hang pull-ups, kipping, and butterfly will help develop a certain amount of athletic strength you have not noticed or used before. Having a strong back and shoulders is going to help in all around strength and physique for bench press and several other lifts requiring upper body support.

Step 12

Learning the Crossfit pull-up is essential to complete more reps in a shorter amount of time, and to develop higher grade of mobility and strength in your shoulder capsule. When performing a fast-paced, high intensity workout, you will need to develop quick, efficient pull-ups to keep your heart rate up and improve your scores. Pull-ups only require a bar and body weight, making them a highly effective, but simple exercise.

Step 13

You can also add weight by using a heavy training vest or holding a dumbbell between your legs. To wrk on building up stamina, force your self to try and complete a goal amount in one hang. The next week, try to get at least one to two more and build upon it. Pull-up strength is easiest developed through repeating pull-ups and focusing on the motion.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

-secure pull-up bar -ease into exercise, watch video and take your time -try to complete repetitions each day. Consistency is key in getting better -take care of your shoulders and hands. -use super glue or heavy bandage to cover tearing on your hands. Excessive pull-ups will eventually cause large tears from callus development. Using a pumice block will help also file down and smooth calluses to prevent sticking and tearing.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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New Rules of Lifting $12.82

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When did you first do this & how did you get started?

Crossfit sometimes get a bad reputation for having pull-ups involving a kipping motion to complete the exercise. The truth is that it all depends on the workout presented and the most efficient or beneficial way of completing the lift. In the following "how to," I will list a pull-up bar to purchase from Rogue, how to complete the series of kipping movements and explain the benefits of this simple exercise.

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