50 Hang power clean, 155#(105#)
150 Double unders
50 Chest to bar pull-ups
Post times to comments and BTWB
Got pull-ups? By Courtney Shepherd and the fine people of Eat To Perform
We all have goats, weaknesses, that we are constantly trying to improve. A common one is the pull-up. I have had a lot of people come to me lately asking for advice on how to improve their pull-ups. Body weight movements can be hard in general, so when I came across an article in Eat To Perform titled “7 Reasons Why You’re Struggling With Pull-ups!”, by James Barnum, I thought the context could be helpful towards movements other than the pull-up.
I will preface, the very first reason given I’m not the biggest fan of, however I didn’t feel comfortable giving this article a new title of “6 Reasons Why You’re Struggling With Pull-ups!”.
1) You’re too heavy.
I can appreciate the point the author is trying to make. Body weight movements can be easier with less body weight, however, I don’t want anyone to think they cannot get a pull-up until they weigh a certain amount. In a blog post I wrote several weeks back I made mention of 1 of CrossFit’s mantras, which is that strength is the productive application of force. Meaning doing a pull-up is doing a pull-up, no matter what you weigh.
2) Your grip strength isn’t up to par.
If your grip strength isn’t sufficient to hold your body weight, there’s only a slim chance that you’ll be able to do a pull-up. To improve your grip strength, you need to perform exercises that involve static contractions of the hands, forearms, shoulders and upper back. Hang from the pull-up bar for time, carry heavy dumbbells for distance, load up a barbell and do timed holds for 30-60 seconds.
3) Your back needs to get stronger.
Although pull-ups are one of the best ways to develop back strength, the fact of the matter is that staring at the rig isn’t building a single ounce of muscle. Whether you can’t do a single pull-up or you can only bust out a few ugly reps before you’re gassed, you should add a few upper body pulling movements into your routine to help build strength. These can include, but are not limited to, pull-up negatives, ring rows, and lat pull downs.
4) Your form needs work.
Pull-ups are like any other exercise or movement – there’s a right way and a wrong way to do them. Here are some tips on maximizing your leverage and getting your back into it:
-Take a shoulder-width grip
-Keep your head up.
-Pull Up and back. Don’t think of the pull-up as a strictly vertical movement. Instead, lean back and pull the bar to your upper chest, not your chin or neck. Your lower body will be slightly out in front of you and your back will remain neutral – the classic hollow gymnastics position)
5) You don’t stay tight.
If you can’t maintain relative body position throughout the pull-up and you flop around like a mudkip, you have what we call an energy leak. What this means is that instead of using your entire body to pull, you’re relying on whatever muscle will do the work – most likely your rotator cuff. (Hint: that’s bad.) Everything should stay tight when you pull.
6) You aren’t practicing often enough.
You are what your repeatedly do. If your form is on point, but your specific work capacity sucks and you have to jerk your body around to get your chin over the bar after the first repetition, you’re just teaching your body to express an inefficient movement pattern. It’s much more difficult to unlearn bad form than it is to teach it.
Last week I wrote a blog about volume training, this would be a perfect time to incorporate it.
7) You’re over-reliant on assisted pull-ups.
Some people over rely on the bands to assist in pull-ups. Yes, using bands is a great idea, however constantly varied is what gives us the best opportunity to build multiple muscle groups involved in pulling. During WODs sometimes we use ring rows, sometimes we do rope pull-ups, some of you scratch your heads and wonder why? Because to rely on one thing solely makes that one thing our crutch. It’s hard to progress beyond our trusty crutches.
As I said before, I could remove the word “pull-up” and exchange it for the word “push-up” or “dip”. The points remain the same. In a nutshell, practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. For full article, click here.
**Big business this weekend!!
1) Nutrition Lecture this Saturday the 27th, 2pm-3pm, @ Verve, presented by Clara Wisner. Stick around after open gym and get your learn on. Open to family and friends.
2) i99 clinic is this Sunday from 12pm-3pm. The cost is $50 and there are only 4 spots left!! Get signed up now and work on some basic gymnastics. Think you are beyond the basics? Just remember, for those of you who have been in the hunt for a muscle-up, if we don’t even have an efficient, refined kipping pull-up how can we expect that to translate to a more skilled gymnastics movement? Perfect the basics!! Click here to register.