How To Improve On Your Pull Ups

Pull ups are a basic movement in CrossFit. But in terms of gymnastics they are fairly intermediate. Most people who start with CrossFit can hardly pull their own bodyweight up.

When we think of CrossFit pull ups, we think of kipping or butterfly pull ups, right?

But doing a kip before you master the strict version (at least 5 reps) can reck havoc on your shoulder because you simply lack the stability to perform a safe kipping pull up. Point blank.

Elli Hachmann doing pull ups during this year´s Cry Me A River challenge
Elli Hachmann doing pull ups during this year´s Cry Me A River challenge

There are many ways how to get your chin over the bar but not all of them are getting you stronger.

Here are 3 things you can do which are worth your time:

1. Mobility first

If you can’t get your arms overhead properly, how are you going to hang on the bar?

If you start of with tight shoulders, you are already working yourself towards an injury.

I made a video for shoulder mobility – it is in German but you can easily replicate the exercises by just watching here:

Spend atleast 15min 3-4 times per week on these exercises and your mobility will improve within a few weeks!

2. Train your grip

If you can’t perform a pull up yet, you can train your forearms which you will need in order to hang on the bar. You can do farmer’s carry with kettlebells for example. In a 10 minute time frame, try to get as many rounds of 20 seconds in as you can with a challenging weight (keep your chest up, arms extended, shoulders back). Or – if you have a nice overhead position – you can try multiple sets of hanging on the bar for time (active shoulders, tight belly).

3. Work on your strength

Ring rows and negative pull ups (jumping up and letting yourself down slowely) are an effective way to build strength for the pull up. You shouldn’t do more than 8-10 reps per set to maintain good form while keeping the movement challenging.

– Elli

Suprfit-Athlete Elli Hachmann
Suprfit-Athlete Elli Hachmann

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