CrossFit Workouts: The Pull-Up and How to Do It Right


Pull-up is one of the common CrossFit workouts in the gym that is included in almost every regimen. Based on the hand position, you can classify pull-ups into three. The first one is the traditional pull-up where your hands are in a pronated position and facing away from you. The second type of pull-up is known as chin up, and here your hands are supinated and the palms facing you. The third one is referred to as a neutral grip pull-up where your palms face each other.

Each of the above grips gives your system a slightly different stimulus. If well executed, a pull-up achieves many things amongst them shoulder extension, elbow flexion, stabilization of lumbopelvic positioning, and scapular retraction. It achieves this by working out the big gun muscles such as the biceps, rhomboids, lats, obliques, mid and lower traps, abdominis, rectus among others.

CrossFit workouts

When you do a pull-up, you should feel it in your biceps, the muscles around, below and between your scalps as well as the core. On the other hand, if you feel your pull-ups on the neck, upper traps, and the front section of your shoulders, just know that you are doing it wrong.

The pull-up movement is, therefore, one of the amazing CrossFit workouts that teaches you how to use your core and builds tremendous upper body power, size, and strength. This is because it enables you to move a large load over a much wider range of motion while most of the time is spent under tension. This sounds in every sense a winning combo.

CrossFit workouts

The Technique

The best place to start is to look at the common flaws committed in pull-ups. The following are the major flaws that any athlete in a CrossFit gym must keenly focus on.

Driving into Extension –Extension is important particularly for power development, but in pull-ups, you must always maintain a neutral lumbopelvic position. Since the lats play a big role, to counteract the drive into extension, you need to fire your rectus, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

Scapular Anterior Tilt and Humeral Anterior Glide –In order to keep your shoulders strong and healthy with CrossFit workouts, you have to maintain the position of the humeral head within the socket. If you make the mistake of pulling your elbows way past your body, you will not accomplish this goal. What you are simply doing is cranking on the front of your shoulder and circumventing the very muscles the pull-up exercise is meant to use.

Flailing – Waving or swinging as you go up doesn’t help you in your workout.

CrossFit workouts

To do it right, you have to maintain an impressively strong lumbopelvic position and initiate the movement by first pulling up your scalps in the direction of their opposite butt cheeks. After the scalps are set, pull your elbows straight all the way down to your hips and simultaneously pull your chin over to the bar. After you reach the top, reverse everything you have done and gradually descend your body to the bottom where it started. In your CrossFit workout routine, you may also throw in exercises such as isometric holds, eccentrics, and band assisted pull-ups to help you build strength.


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