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Make your pullups count!

Pullups are ubiquitous in CrossFit - they are a fundamental gymnastics strength and endurance element that adds spice to any wod. They are also one of the toughest for new crossfitters to master due to the high demand for upper body strength.

With diligent practice and perseverance, we can improve our pullups to the point that we can throw down a bunch, even when fatigued. For most people though, there is a tough spot in wods where you can do pullups but fatigue quickly in them and end up missing reps.

Now missing reps is kind of a big deal. What we're trying to do with our crossfit wods is test ourselves against our previous best. This is especially the case with benchmark workouts like Jackie (todays wod). We need to have an accurate measure of our performance from time 1 to time 2, and that comes down to having the same movement standards between those wod attempts.

For the pullup, this means that if we want to accurately assess our time (or fairly compete with others in benchmark wods), we need to ensure that EVERY rep starts with straight arms and ends with the chin CLEARLY above the bar at the top.

As people fatigue out, the top end of the pullup becomes harder to achieve. Increased effort is required to get your chin clearly above the bar, and the combination of fatigue and wanting to finish the wod can lead to people counting reps that are not performed to standard.

This is especially the case with butterfly kip pullups, in which the chin is further away from the bar, making it harder for the athlete to accurately judge their height. Although the rep may "feel" high enough, if the athlete is fatigued and it is later in a workout, chances are some are not going to be high enough.

So even if it means that your score may be a bit slower, and you may need to rest more between pull up reps, making sure that each one counts is the only real way to establish your performance. If you are new to butterfly pullups, it would be a good idea to have a coach confirm that your reps are high enough, and be ready to switch to regular kip as you fatigue out.

If you're interested in some tips on butterfly pullups, check out the video below for some exercises and drills.

Good luck in the wod, and keep those reps virtuous!

Coach Cam




6 cossack squats

4 lying thoracic rotations per side

10 light american kbs

12 reverse lunges


For time: Row, 1000 m 50 Thrusters, 45/35 lbs 30 Pull-ups

Classic crossfit workout and in gym leaderboard workout!

FG2: jumping pullups

FG1: 750m row, 30 thrusters training bar, 15 ring rows

CP: 2 rounds 500m row, 25 thrusters @ 65/95, 15 ctb


4 rounds for quality of:

10 Barbell Curls

12 T Rotating Planks

10 Plate Front Raises

8 Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts


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