That Pull-up...

Let's take a break on here from the general theme of getting the most from your training and look at something a little more specific. The pull-up. A movement/skill that has many of you frustrated still trying to get your first and some of you who have at least one, wanting to get better and stronger to be able to knock out multiple or even weighted. I won't go into the argument that you need to master the strict pull-up before progressing to kipping, I think (at least I hope) I have made that point clear in class. Today I just want to talk about getting your first one or making what you have better. 

First and foremost if you want to get stronger with pull-ups, you have to get on the bar regularly. And when I say regularly I don't mean once a week when it comes up in a WOD. And I don't mean doing a few reps on a band each time you come in. I mean you have to make it a priority to get on the bar and do some real work several times a week, for many weeks. And you have to do the accessory work to help your pull-up when you are not on the bar.

Now that we understand that the first step to getting stronger with pull-ups is committing to doing the work and doing it regularly, we need to look at what work to do. Before we do that, however, we need to first establish what a strict pull-up should look like so you can work towards mastery. Master the proper form on the pull-up, build strength from that, and you will be setting yourself up for not only progressing to more advanced skills on bars and rings, but also setting yourself up to stay injury free when it comes time to add some momentum to the movement, i.e. kipping.

I can think of no better resource for establishing what a strict pull-up is than Jeff Tucker, the subject matter expert and founder of the CrossFit Gymnastics program. Take a couple of minutes and read his post on the strict pull-up which includes a video showing what it should look like and why.

From Strict To Kip

Now that you know what it should look like when you have mastered it, you need to establish a plan to getting there. There are literally hundreds of plans out there for getting your first pull-up or for getting stronger with what you have. Some are good and some not so good in my opinion. In February I did a pull-up clinic that detailed a progressive plan complete with accessory work for improving your pull-up strength or getting your first pull-up. Those that followed the plan from start to finish, saw great improvement. If you would like a copy of that plan, schedule a 20 minute skill session with me and I will get you started and show you how to do the work.
For those of you who are still struggling to get your first pull-up and want a plan right now, Box Life magazine published a pretty good article complete with detailed instructions, progressions and a weekly plan to follow. This is a good start to building the basic pulling strength needed for a pull-up. Go here - Conquering Your First Strict Pull-up.

If you already have a pull-up or multiple pull-ups and want more, get with me and I will give you a copy of a few plans that will help you build on what you have.