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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 02-28-2007, 09:34 PM   #1
Allen Lee
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I started Crossfit a couple months ago and couldn't do a single pull-up. The other day doing "Josh", I kipped 90 unassisted pull ups for the first time(granted the sets were broken down all the way to singles near the end, and not all of them were done from a dead hang). Felt great, but I was very sore the next day.
Then I begin to wonder. Is it really necessary to do pull ups this often? It seems like pull-ups are in the WOD almost every other day. Don't get me wrong, I think the pull-up is a great exercise, but nearly all the movements crossfit uses are great exercises, and many of them are only rarely used.
This seems to me like a violation of some of the key principles of crossfit. Involving pull-ups in so many workouts disregards the principle of variation. The kipping pull-up also isn't the most functional movement in the crossfit stable.
Can anyone shed some light onto why the pull-up is used so often?
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Old 02-28-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
Scott Parker
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one thing i learned today about kipping pull-ups and crossfit in general: it's all about opening up your hips, whether you are doing olympic/power lifts, KB swings, wall ball or kipping pull-ups. kipping pull-ups dont just hit your arms and back. i did my first real kipping pull-up today and thought i tore every one of my abdominals. it felt like a shockwave of energy that started from my hips/core and worked it's way up and shot out through my fingertips, sending me over the bar. and this my own personal opinion, but the pull-up is probably one of the least used and underappriciated movements but incredibly effective. i noticed when i began doing a lot of pull-ups all my other lifts also went up. most people go into the gym and always hit the lat pull-down machine. why not do pull-ups instead and just as often?
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:32 PM   #3
David Werner
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Pull-ups are as important to the upper body as squats are to the lower body. Pull-ups are also a gateway movement to other cooler stuff, like levers, muscle-ups, clapping pull-ups, and all maner of swinging and climbing. It would be very difficult to over emphasize pull-ups.

Pull-ups are hard though and most people suck at them, so the ramp up can be challenging. Stick with them for a while and you'll find that doing pull-ups becomes much less of an issue.

It's a very cool breakthrough when you discover that the pull-up part of a workout is the easy part. It sounds like you've made really nice and rapid progress but be patient, the whole progression will take several years.

Dave Werner
Crossfit North
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
Michael Stehle
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I like to mix up my pullups and grips. I do them at least four times/week and never to failior. All variations complememt each other. Here's a work/family safe video I threw together on some of the variations I use.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMG1VpgLk34


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Old 03-01-2007, 08:39 AM   #5
David Stegman
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Great vid Michael and LOVE the S.D. soundtrack!!!!
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:01 AM   #6
Troy Archie
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Along with squats and push-ups, pull-ups are one of the most basic fundamental exercises at our disposal. Like the push-up and squat, if you are having problems with the pull-up you simple need to re-learn the movement. Somewhere along the line you've forgotten how to perform this basic movement and need to re-educate yourself. Don't believe me? Just watch some kids playing on a set of monkey bars or climbing trees; I doubt they're training the pull-up or doing the WOD.

Great vid Michael. I'm not a muscle up expert and can't do one so if I'm stepping across the line I apologize but from the video it looks like you need to lean forward a bit more at the top and keep your elbows in more closer to your body. But again this is coming from someone who has yet to do one (or even try one).

(Message edited by troy on March 01, 2007)
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:42 AM   #7
Michael Stehle
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Yes Troy I do lean forward a little. I just started working on MU's. They're a work in progress, still a little pain in my left shoulder from an old injury.
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:25 PM   #8
Charles Steven Ossenheimer
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one thing i learned today about kipping pull-ups and crossfit in general: it's all about opening up your hips,

I have never understood that.. "opening your hips" can anyone explain how to do that? Or anyway of walking us through it? lol..im so baffeled!
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Old 03-01-2007, 05:59 PM   #9
William Hunter
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Well, first of all, get your mind out of the gutter young man!

OK, sorry about the bad joke.

Powerful hip extension (moving from a position of flexed, or bent forward hips, to fully extended hips) may be the most athletic of all maneuvers. Think of the powerful explosion out of the bottom of a KB swing or a squat, cranking out a heavy DL or clean, propelling yourself forward off your lead leg while sprinting, going from the forward C to a backward C while in the middle of a kip - you're always "opening your hips". Those that can do it faster, with more power...win.

OK, enough shop talk, I gotta go do some curls.
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:16 PM   #10
Allen Lee
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Isn't kipping pull up is more of a "closing" of the hips rather than opening of the hips?
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