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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-23-2005, 11:39 AM   #1
Beau Chapman
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Ugh...pull-ups are frustrating me. I'm pretty strong, and I have strong shoulders as far as military press and I can do a lot with lat pulls. But I have never been able to do many pull-ups. I just started cross-fit and right now I can do 4 pull-ups, and those aren't easy pull-ups. Maybe the first one I can get w/o straining hard. Anyway, I tried kipping b/c most people say it doubles the amount you can do, and I still can only do four pull-ups. I've watched some of the crossfit videos and I am just amazed how fast they can do pull-ups and just the shear power that they have. I mean they are violently throwing their throat up over the bar with ease. I am slow even on my first one, and I don't know how you guys do it. Am I doing something wrong? B/c I have trained pull-ups before (of course not the cross-fit method) and I've never been able to get much over 4. I consider myself to be pretty experienced with weight training, and of course crossfit is an eye opener for me at how weak I really am. Do you guys have any tips? I would kill to be able to do at least ten after a month of training. Is this too big of a goal b/c I don't know how long it takes to improve your pull-ups.


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Old 06-23-2005, 11:52 AM   #2
Brendan Melville
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First, throw the lat pull out the window, that thing is s**t compared to doing pull-ups.

Now, it will take you a long time to get the kip down (well, it took me a long time, and I think it will never be perfect), but when you get it smoothed out, you will be much more at ease doing pullups. Work slow at first, maybe one kipping pull-up at a time. And start, not with the pull-up itself, but with learning the swinging motion of the kip, and then adding the hip thrust that lets you move vertically.

Also, when you've got a workout with a lot of pull-ups, don't go to exhaustion, go to maybe one or two before that, and then resort to singles.

There are many articles around here with proper chest positioning, proper kipping movement, etc. that I'm sure others could show you. But most importantly, it takes time to get numbers, work slowly, and don't be discouraged!
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:52 AM   #3
Ben Kaminski
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You'll improve faster than you think, just do the WOD to your level of ability! If you want to get explosive pullups you should practice swinging on the bar, and of course kipping pullups. One trick to the kipping pullup is to keep your arms straight until after your legs are done moving. There are lots of discussions of how to kip on the forums, do a search and find a wealth of information! There are also several CFJ issues that deal with kipping, too.
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:19 PM   #4
Beau Chapman
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Yeah I've been trying to read up some of the articles. I am having a lot of trouble understanding the terminology. Of course, I realize it is something that is very hard to describe and much easier to show.

Let me see if I have this correctly and make sure I am not doing it backwards...let's say you are at the top of the pull-up. You would let yourself down as your mid-section swings forward, your arms and legs will stay back like ), then once you get to a certain point you begin swinging back and at this point you use the momentum to drive your hips up like (. Is that correct??

I do think swinging on the bar will help me a lot. I haven't done that yet as I just found a post speaking about it.
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:22 PM   #5
Beth Moscov
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I don't have a ton of pullups yet either but have gone from zero to ten with crossfit. What I do when trying to increase them is do a lot of singles or two at a time throughout the day. Sort of a Pavel style grease the groove kind of thing.
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:53 PM   #6
Alex McClung
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Work hard and stick with it. In 9 months I went from 3 straight to 15 straight at BW = 225#. I don't have any trouble sticking 100-150 in a WOD if I break it up in sets of 5 - 7. Breaking it up still kills my times and I'm striving to get my sets above 21 for Angie, Barbara, Fran, etc.

There's lots to learn about helping those numbers climb: Kipping, GTG, gravitron assists, jump-ups, negatives. 2 important points from my experience: it's not easy and it's not quick. Fitness and the stockmarket favor the long term players. My advise: Work your *** off in every WOD, cheat like hell until you can string together multiple sets of 5. The big numbers will come, and pretty soon you'll be pulling some kinda crazy Matt G. weighted vest stuff, to be sure...
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:38 PM   #7
Josh Brehm
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I hate cheating, I always do near perfect form pull ups every time. I might bring my legs up in an l-sit type hold for a sec as I'm coming up, but I don't kip. How many perfect form pull-ups can you all do?
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:57 PM   #8
John Messano
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I agree that volume is the answer. You will improve by doing more and more pullups. Vary the grip for fun. Pullups are in your warm-up, right? and the WOD has Pullups just about every four days... just bang them out, rest, then jump back up.

in 6 months, I went from a max of 8 to 21. a 160% increase. now i'm in a crazy race to get 50 pullups in one set by November! that's another 138% increase! or a ridiculous 525% increase in one year!

well, it may be a little soon for me to be boasting

But it could happen!
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Old 06-23-2005, 02:13 PM   #9
Matt Gagliardi
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Josh, it may be semantics but kipping pullups ARE NOT "cheating" (I say this as someone who only does dead-hang). You're doing the same amount of total work when you kip and achieving the same result (chin over bar). Kipped pullups are just another kind of pullup. That the military doesn't accept them doesn't diminish their effectiveness or validity. Ask anyone in the military if everything they do makes'll get a lot of laughs. It might also interest you to know that pretty much all the military guys at the seminar this past weekend were kipping.

FYI, I just did a no-kip single set of 30 pullups (overhand grip) at 170lbs. And I should have my 1-arm dead-hang pullups to both arms within the next week or so. I'm also trying to develop my kip in order to be a more well-rounded performer.
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Old 06-23-2005, 03:14 PM   #10
Brendan Melville
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Matt, I thought I saw you in the Frellen video doing dead-hangs, you crazy sonnova...
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