Get a Grip Part – 1 The Pull Up
Ah, the pull up. The one movement that I think most CrossFit athletes obsesses over. We want that first pull up. It’s a right of passage, and it’s HARD! It’s not easy to pull your own body weight off of the ground, much less figure out the coordination it takes for the kipping pull up.
My goal for this article is to discuss what I see most athletes doing incorrectly regarding your pull-ups and how to make your pull up grip position better and stronger.
First of all, let’s talk about your grip. You need to ensure that ALL 10 fingers are wrapped around the bar. Yes, this includes your thumb. Think of it as a reverse hook grip. This isn’t only the safest grip but the strongest grip. We have thumbs for a reason, so use them. We know that a hook grip on the barbell is the strongest grip to move load from the ground. The same goes for moving your own bodyweight up and over the pull up bar. In addition, when we start working on that prized muscle up, we want to hold the rings the same way – all 10 fingers wrapped around the rings.
Poor grip. Poor wrist position.
Second, I want to discuss your wrist position. I see many athletes pulling with their wrist directly underneath the bar and knuckles facing backward. You actually want to grip the bar with that reverse hook grip position with your knuckles on top of the bar pointed to the ceiling. Even get your pinkie knuckle up there! It will feel awkward at first, but once you get used to this new position you will be able to hold onto the bar longer. With the knuckles on top and the new wrist position you’ve created we now have more external rotation of the shoulders and lats, which is a much stronger pulling position.
Better grip, poor wrist position.
Now what about the kip? Well first, you need to get your timing down with the core swing or hollow body and superman. You need to have enough shoulder strength to push down on the bar on your hollow position and get some lift up without the use of your hips. Once you have accomplished this and can perform at least 10 core swings with a good lift on your hollow swing, then we can start adding some hip drive and pull. You need to have the prerequisite strength to hold onto the bar and perform those 10 core swings before you even attempt to pull your chin over the bar.
As with anything new, you must practice to get better at it. Practice with the correct technique. Hook grip, knuckles on top of the bar. You will feel uncomfortable with this new position at first. Here’s my advice, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It will get better and you will get stronger. I promise!