Don’t Bend Your Elbows

Written by: Coach Slater

Technique Tip! Don’t let your elbows bend at the bottom of your kipping pullup (or C2B, or BMU). 

If you ever have bicep or shoulder pain after a pullup workout, you might want to check what your elbows are doing at the bottom of your swing. If they’re bending, they might be the culprit. 

Bending your elbows is a common fault which people do to get a bigger swing, and it lets them crank down on the bar as they initiate their next swing. The problem with cranking down from this position is that it puts a lot of stress on the elbow and shoulder joints. 

Instead, we want you to keep your shoulders in the most advantageous and stable position possible, so at the bottom of your swing, keep your elbows straight and pointed forward (if you can). Think about turning your pinkies toward each other while bending the bar in half in front of you. Doing so keeps your lats (the huge muscles of your back) engaged so they do more work, and not your poor joints. 

At the same time, we want you to drive your shoulder blades down towards your glutes. You should feel the space between your shoulder and your ear lengthening. Learning to use your lats in this way creates tension which will *eventually* make all of your kip swings easier. 

Yes, yes, yes… you’ll see some top-level CrossFitters bending their elbows in the middle of competition, but that’s because they’re trying to eek out the last little bit of effort to go as fast as possible. You, I’m sorry to report, are not Tia-Clair Toomey or Mat Fraser. We’d rather you worry about moving well and having a stable shoulder/elbow, instead of focusing on finishing 55th versus 45th place on today’s WOD. 

Hugs & kisses.

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