Before we get into the nuts and bolts of our Pull-Up accessory work coming up. I would be doing you a disservice by not looking at a few facts. As CrossFitters and Functional Fitness Athletes we seem to have milestones that we want to achieve. The most elusive of which is probably the Muscle-Up. Even though this may be the “I just want to be able to do one MU” dream for some of us, we need to think about physics and biology. While the kip and hip thrust can be a very powerful and effective movement, our upper body needs to be able to support the weight we are trying to toss up over the bar or onto the rings.

Building this base of upper body strength is not only a method of progression to achieve these more advanced movements, but it’s also essential knowledge for any athlete to know how to prevent injury. For most of us, injury prevention is not just something the physical therapist talks to us about but it should be a way of life. If we get injured, we are out of commission for fitness right? It depends; if we ignore the lesson to be learned and don’t take the time to build up to our advanced movements we run the risk of being injured again. We should take these steps in order to increase the longevity of our fitness journey, which will allow us to live a more abundant life as we age.

So enough of the why, let’s talk about the what! We have, at the least, two concepts we need to consider when we talk about Pull-Ups, which is the base of the Muscle-Up. Many will argue (usually not a coach) that you don’t need a strict pull-up in order to jump into kipping and butterfly Pull-Ups. While you may physically be able to jump right into butterflies and stringing kipping Pull-Ups together in a WOD, this doesn’t mean you are free and clear of tearing any number of things in your shoulder, arm, back or chest. It is important to take the time, in my opinion, to string 3-5 strict Pull-Ups before going into the kip.

Another thing of note as we get closer to discussing the details of the 6 Week Program is weight to strength ratio. I can tell you that I am 200lbs and even though I can Strict Press 155 lbs, this does not translate well because the guy next to me may only weigh 155lbs (hypothetically). So even though we are both lifting 155 lbs over our head, he is lifting his body-weight; strength-wise, I’m not even close. Also think about doing a Pull-Up with a weight vest on, even if it’s only a 15lb vest, this could easily make the difference between getting 5 strict Pull-Ups and not being able to get half way up the bar with the added weight. So as we work on these progressions, consider cutting some of those extra inches that you would like to get rid of anyway. The Kitchen WOD coaches suggest that guys should try to be below 18% bodyfat and ladies should strive for less than 25% body fat in order to maximize your success with any bodyweight exercise. Keyword here is MAXIMIZE.

So now that we have knowledge portion of this program out of the way, let’s discuss our the progressions. We have proven methods with a phase for each level of athlete. We will break down each phase requirement and ultimately you can start with phase one and progress the entire way through phase 5 which will incorporate butterfly chest-to-bar Pull-Ups. The intent is to build you up with a proper base and add to your existing ability.

The KEY:

  1. Stick with the plan. Consistency is king here.
  2. Take care of those hands. Ripped hands will keep you from being consistent. Shave your calluses or use a stone in the shower. Also, the more chalk you use, the more likely you are to rip from friction. A “VERY” light dusting goes a long way.
  3. Warm up. Cold muscles during any workout is like having cold tires during a motorcycle race.

Good Luck and have fun!!!