Thursday 150917

Take 20 minutes to esatblish 1RM overhead squat

Then, 1 tempo overhead squat @ 50% of today’s 1RM x 7 sets. Tempo = 3331

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Jeremy grinding through yesterday's 20 min barbell AMRAP.

Jeremy grinding through yesterday’s 20 min barbell AMRAP.


What’s my biff with butterflies? Completely, 100%, in the opinion of/ by Courtney “because they are basically like painted moths” Shepherd

And everyone knows moths are basically like flying vermin. Goo. However I’m not talking about that kind of butterfly. The biff I will be discussing is aimed at the butterfly pull-up. Now before anyone gets in an instant tizzy about this or, on the other hand, gets overly excited to bash the movement with me, just know now I think the butterfly pull-up is a great tool to have in one’s CrossFit tool box. With that said, I also believe not every CrossFitter needs to or should have this tool at their disposal. I also want to make it fully clear, the information that is about to follow in defense of why I feel this way is, as previously stated, 100% my own opinion. No part of this blog has been stolen from another. None of the statements made will be based on any kind of scientific fact or statistic. I base my opinion on 2 things, 1) being a CrossFit coach and what I would like to refer to as a professional level of creepily watching human movement, 2) being an active participant in the sport of CrossFit for several years. Am I qualified? That’s probably up for debate but I’m about to open my big mouth and blabber on anyway.

What is the butterfly pull-up? It’s that thing everyone watches The CrossFit Games athletes do on the pull-up bar that gets them a crap ton of unbroken pull-ups done in a really short period of time. Some outsiders may refer to it as seizure like activity on the bar. The butterfly pull-up is done in a continuous, circular looking rhythm. In contrast to the kipping pull-up that has a front to back change of direction with each rep. It is the continuous circular motion of the butterfly pull-up that, if done correctly, increases the cycle time of the pull-up, hence more done in less time. And overall what I would claim to be the number 1 reason everyone and their mother wants to work on their butterfly pull-ups. So let’s take this opportunity to address why having butterfly pull-ups in our arsenal is a good thing. Because in a competitive setting, butterfly pull-ups help you get more work done in less time. And. . . . . . that’s it. That’s what butterfly pull-ups are good for.

The kipping pull-up is CrossFit’s default pull-up. Because in comparison to the strict, dead hang pull-up, this is the first way we introduce increased work in less time by way of utilizing momentum from the hips. Both types of pull-ups require a great deal of work from the hips, the kipping pull-up  involves a pull with lat activation. The butterfly not nearly as much. And now is where I would like to address the benefit of sticking to the kipping pull-up just a bit longer before rushing to get your butterfly on. Because of this lat activation, kipping pull-ups help build pulling power. Increased pulling power, as well as mastering the rhythm of the kip translates to improved knees to elbows, toes to bar, chest to bar pull-ups, bar muscle-ups, and ring muscle-ups. The kipping technique needed for each of these movements is based off the kipping pull-up. The butterfly pull-up translates to the butterfly pull-up, it is essentially a dead end movement.

I’m not saying “down with butterfly, butterfly is weak sauce”. What I’m saying is the overwhelming urge some of us have to move on to the butterfly pull-up because we think, “well, I’ll be able to do more pull-ups that way”, is a completely flawed concept. You still have to have capacity to do pull-ups, butterfly doesn’t just give it to you. Chris Spealler can do 100 pull-ups unbroken. He didn’t get the capacity to do that because early in his career he just started doing all butterfly. He too was a kipping pull-up man. He perfected his kip, is was tight and efficient, and he built the hand and grip capacity to hang onto the bar for dozens and dozens of kipping pull-ups. He had a ton of pulling power and grip strength, so when he added butterfly into his bag of tricks, the capacity to do them wasn’t an issue. By the way, have you ever seen the video of Chris’s 100 pull-ups? Do you know how he finished the set of 100? Spoiler alert. . . . it’s with kipping pull-ups, the default pull-up. Because when the butterfly goes, he could still use his efficient kip to get the last set of 10-15 pull-ups in. What’s your default? If you skip mastering the kipping pull-up and go right into the butterfly, what do you have to fall back on?

Speaking of pulling power and capacity. I just told you kipping builds pulling power while butterfly does not. So if we skip the one that makes us stronger and translates to many other movements for the one we think makes us faster and more competitive, do we actually think it is truly giving us a competitive edge? Sure. . . . in one thing and one thing only, butterfly pull-ups. Would you be content in a world of 3-5 linked butterfly pull-ups, no muscle-ups, and poorly linked toes to bar? If so, butterfly on.

I’m certain you see people working on their butterfly pull-ups often. Most of these people worked up to them. I didn’t start working on my butterfly pull-ups until I was doing sets of 20 or more unbroken kipping pull-ups consistently. And to be honest, I would not of cared to even work on them at all if I wasn’t, at the time, getting ready to compete on Verve’s CrossFit Games Regionals team. We were heading into a big competition and I wanted to be as competitive of an athlete as I could be for my team. When I’m not competing, I sprinkle both into my training. I want to continue to work on my butterfly, I want to continue to improve on that competitive piece, but I like to keep my kip alive and improving.

If you are someone who has skipped ahead, or maybe you aren’t sure if you are that someone, do a little test for yourself. Do a max rep set of kipping pull-ups, a max rep set of butterfly pull-ups, and a max rep set of toes to bar. Not all at once, maybe over an hour. Check out your numbers, are they all below 15? Are the butterfly over 15 but the kipping and toes to bar below? I just threw that number out there, it’s not an official number but it might give you some insight into where you should focus a little more of your pull-up work.

Hey, you don’t have to listen to me. You are grown adults, capable of making grown up decisions. But. . . . if down the road, months from now, even years from now, you find yourself in a place where nothing has really changed for you. You’ve been doing “butterfly pull-ups” (that’s in quotes because most people that do skip ahead aren’t really doing what I would call the most efficient or technically sound looking butterfly pull-ups anyways), and you still don’t have muscle-ups or consistent sets of 10 linked toes to bar in workouts, come talk to me. You may not like what you are going to hear but I promise it will help. #keepthekipalive #freethekipanditwillfreeyou 

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