Invictus athlete doing a butterfly pull up because he was properly cued how to do them.

Stop Using THIS Cue for Butterfly Pull-Ups!
By Coach Travis Ewart

Attention coaches and athletes! Do you suffer from shoulder pain after doing butterfly pull-ups? Do you want to prevent pain and possible injury from doing this movement? Then STOP using the cue “push your head through” as you move through the downward phase of butterfly pull-ups. 

Why This Butterfly Pull-Up Cue is Harmful

When you cue someone to “push their head through” as they are coming down from the chin-over-bar position to into the bottom, straight-arm hanging phase of the butterfly pull-up, they can easily end up hitting that position with their shoulders rolled forward in almost a “pass through” position. When you hit that position under load and then transfer into the next rep, it grinds hard in the shoulder joint.

This Cue is Better!

Try using, “keep your chin up” instead and throughout the entire movement. Meaning at the chin-over-bar position of the rep, your chin should be pointed to the ceiling and just above the bar as you come through the top through the downward phase. All the way down and into the next rep, your chin should still be pointed up. What this does is keep the bar in front of you and keep the shoulder down and in the correct position.

Watch the Video: This Cue Leads to Injury in Butterfly Pull-Ups

Prefer to listen to or watch this article instead? Sometimes it helps to see what someone is explaining so here’s the video version where I talk about why the “push your head through” cue is bad for your shoulders. Then, I’ll give you the new cue all while demonstrating what I’m talking about.

Smart Gymnastics Training

Gymnastics is strength, yes. And, it is also a skill. Skills needs to be practiced a lot. But all that practicing the same movement — especially if you’re not quite strong enough to do it yet and/or you’re using a poor movement pattern to force it, can lead to injury, frustration and eventually burnout. The key to avoiding these things is having a smart coach who can watch you (in person or via video analysis) and customize for you, not only for progressing in the skill, but also to help prevent pain and injury; I know I get super excited to do this for any of my athletes who ask!

For smart gymnastics training, check out Invictus Gymnastics.

Notify me of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top