Pro Tip for Pull-Ups: Achieving Weightlessness
Written by Fritz Nugent
Dynamic pull-ups of the kipping and butterfly variety are essential to a successful piece to any CrossFitter’s arsenal. Today’s pro tip is this: when performed correctly and violently, your leg kick and hip extension provide a powerful degree of weightlessness to your lower body. This is paramount to increasing your velocity up to the bar. Greater velocities allows for other gymnastic fun: chest-to-bar pull-ups, bar muscle-ups, and ring muscle-ups. Improving your velocity can help you achieve the next level of gymnastic performance.
Try performing a kipping pull-up while JUST kicking the legs alone, omitting the hip extension. There is a limitation to the speed at which you float up to the bar. The harder you kick, the greater speed the legs accelerate upwards against gravity, causing them to weigh less or close to nothing for a very short amount of time, allowing you to pull up about half of your bodyweight, allowing for an increase in speed.
Next, add that violent hip extension back in immediately after you kick. What happens to your speed? It increases. You are now accelerating up to the bar at a faster rate. When paired with proper technique, transferring this extra velocity into bar and ring muscle-ups is a piece of cake. If you already have bar and ring muscle-ups, you can improve your efficiency with them by tightening the screws on timing your leg kick and hip extension with your pull. And with a powerful enough kip, mastering higher level gymnastic skills like rising muscle-ups become accessible. Once you achieve optimal power and timing, you will surprise yourself at how easy these gymnastic progressions become, and how much more volume you can produce and tolerate.
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