Raw Strength Starts with Strict Pull Ups

By August 6, 2017 Articles No Comments

Raw Strength Starts with Strict Pull Ups
Written by: Coach Karlie

So you want to kip your pull ups but have you developed enough raw strength of the shoulder joint? The kipping pull up requires strength, body awareness and learning body control. If we lack any of those we set ourselves up for the possibility of dealing with a shoulder injury later down the road.

You may have noticed that we did a lot of strict pull up work last cycle. This is not by accident. We purposely want you to get stronger and we saw a lot of great improvement! If you are still unable to perform 3-5 strict pull ups and with proper form then your shoulders are not yet ready for kipping pull ups. You should continue to develop that raw strength by doing more strict pull ups.

But Coach! Yes, I get that kipping pull ups look cool and they are fun. I know that most of us have pull ups on our goals list so let’s keep the momentum going with progressions that will help get you there. Work hard and take no shortcuts when building pull up strength. Start doing the progressions listed below 3 days a week and you’ll be one step closer to getting your first pull up or to making your pull ups even stronger. We always talk about building a foundation and strict work is one of those foundations.

Day 1:

a) Banded Pull A-parts – Take a red band in both hands with arms straight in front of you. Stand with feet under hips while squeezing your glutes and core. Now punch your shoulder blades down and back then pull that band apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Make sure that you keep your arms straight out as you pull the band apart making contact with your sternum and that your ribs and spine stay neutral. Don’t let your back arch.

2 x 20 (1x palms up / 1x palms down)

b) Negatives – Get a box and set it up under the pull up bar. Get on top of the box then jump up with chin over the bar while slowly lowering yourself to the bottom of a pull-up position. The goal here is to lower yourself with control

5 sets of 5 negatives (aim for a 5 second decent to the bottom of a pull up)

Day 2:

a) Hollow Body Hold – These holds are a gymnasts foundation. Master this and you will see improvements in not only your gymnastics but also in your Olympic lifts.

Tabata holds: hold hollow for 20 seconds / rest 10 seconds – repeat 8x (4 minutes total)

b) Chin over Bar Static Hold – Jump up with chin over bar and hold that position as long as possible. Make sure your hands are just outside the shoulders, pull up grip, thumbs wrapped around the bar and maintain a hollow position with your core to toes.

Hold 10 to 30 seconds for 5 sets

Day 3:

a) Banded Pull A-parts – Take a red band in both hands with arms straight in front of you. Stand with feet under hips while squeezing your glutes and core. Now punch your shoulder blades down and back then pull that band apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Make sure that you keep your arms straight out as you pull the band apart making contact with your sternum and that your ribs and spine stay neutral. Don’t let your back arch.

2 x 20 (1x palms up / 1x palms down)

b) Scapula Pull Ups – Start from hanging position on the rig with hands just outside the shoulders. Find your hollow body position then pull your scapula down and back resulting in a slight elevation of the clavicle and chin. Hold this hollow body position with the scapula down and back for 2-3 seconds each.

10x for 5 sets

Work your weaknesses and build shoulder strength by getting those strict movements first before you start to kip. Keep your shoulders safe and live to CrossFit another day.

Look for the second edition of this article that talks in detail about how to master the kipping pull up.

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