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Old 09-08-2014, 06:38 AM   #1
Chris Tan
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How to grip a pull up bar?

Hi guys,

I've been doing CrossFit for over 2 years and I still haven't figured this out!!

I used to grip with thumbs wrapped around fingers, but I found it harder to kip from this position.

I then changed to thumbs next to fingers, but I now find that my hand tends to slide a lot in this position and I have to constantly re-grip + find it harder to hang on for as long.

I'm trying hard to keep my wrists, as high as possible and to pull elbows in to activate my lats, but this tends to focus the grip towards my weaker fingers rather than the stronger thumb / index.

How should I be gripping the bar when doing kipping / butterfly pull ups? Does anybody have a good link with diagrams or can you explain it in a nice detailed way for somebody a bit slow (yours tuly) to comprehend?

Thanks
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
Sean Dunston
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Chris-
I think you're going to get a lot of "it depends" answers.

I teach people to have their thumb around the bar when they learn pullups (all styles) because it is a stronger grip. If you are doing lots of pullups (or toes to bar, knees to elbows, etc.) in a workout your grip is going to get fatigued. When your grip is fatigued, it is easier to lose your grip on the bar. I want my members to have as strong of a grip as they can on the bar so that I don't see anyone slip off and hit the floor.

That said, it is a lot easier (for most people) to string together reps when you "cup" the bar with your thumb next to your index finger - as you describe.

So, just be sure that you have already built up considerable grip strength before your switch to the cupping grip - if you decide to go that route.

PS: I don't even teach people to butterfly, unless they are dead-set on competing in CrossFit. For the regular gym member, a normal kip is fast enough to get them through WODs quickly, without the additional potential risk to shoulder injuries that the butterfly can present.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:16 AM   #3
Christopher Morris
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

This video compares a couple different grip styles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSt3g7brI_c (wfs)

He grips the bar much harder than you would for a pull-up just to show which areas of his hands take the most pressure and turn red or get blanched.

For kipping or butterfly pull-ups, I prefer a grip that allows some sliding.
Check out the way Camille moves her hands here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXBbrq8hNuA&t=3m30s (wfs)
Every few reps she shuffles the hands to reset the grip without dropping off the bar. Miranda is next to her doing the same. This video has a lot of grip examples for kipping pull-ups.

If you don't allow some movement of the hands, you'll increase the shearing or torsion on the skin, leading to torn skin. You want a little freedom of movement in your pull-up grip.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:19 PM   #4
Chris Sinagoga
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Hook grip - as recommended by Carl Paoli.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SIFd-1U7wA
(w/f safe) - watch the whole thing, but the hook grip is at the 10 minute mark

Pinky knuckle over the bar, thumb wrapped around. This is an example of Carl's concept of "blocking movement." By keeping a hook grip, it automatically winds up the shoulder into a stable position. Plus your hands don't rip because it is barely moving. Do this!

In our gym, we tell athletes to come down from the bar and reset if we catch them lose this grip.
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Old 09-17-2014, 02:41 PM   #5
Nic Nakis
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

I'm with Sean and Chris. Some people find it easier to pull with the ledge or cup grip (thumb next to fingers), but I think it's more important to build grip strength and keep yourself on the bar longer. If you use a hook grip (thumb around the bar), you'll be stronger in the long run, and it's simply a better safety strategy. I always teach this grip.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:19 PM   #6
Jon Hanover
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Build up callouses.. use some tape... and grip the bar with whatever technique works for you. Never had a problem doing tons of pull ups this way. Also, keeps your hands dry with some chalk. Sweaty hands make for easy tears.
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Hanover View Post
Also, keeps your hands dry with some chalk. Sweaty hands make for easy tears.
But don't overdo it. Dry, chapped hands make for easy tears too.

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Old 09-20-2014, 03:32 PM   #8
Bob Herald
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

I like The hook grip, hollow body position. Legs straight toes pointed, elbow pits externally rotated towards the body. In KStarrs language it really helps you transfer torgue to the bar.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:31 PM   #9
Nic Nakis
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Bob, wouldn't the elbow pits be internally rotated in that position?
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:39 AM   #10
Bob Herald
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Re: How to grip a pull up bar?

Nic, it would still be external rotation. Think of the humerus as a cylinder. If it is corkscrewed clockwise it is externally rotating, regardless of wether or not the arm is extended overhead or hanging down.

External rotation is desired in virtually every exercise involving the arms. This creates a nice packed shoulder joint and enhances stability.

If you hook grip with the pinky over the bar the external rotation. Will take care of itself.

http://coachingmci.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/41/

http://www.mobilitywod.com/2012/08/y...bility-part-1/

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