I had a conversation at CrossFit today about chest to bar movement standards and got asked to write an article, so here it is. The movements standards for chest to bar are: full arm extension to chest touching the bar, the chest starts below the neck till about the end of the sternum. Not only am not a big fan of kipping or butterfly movements, I suck at them as well. I understand that they make it easier to get more and faster reps out, but I also understand I’m not going to get stronger with my pull-ups as the movements are so completely different to that of a real pull-up.
So what am I going to achieve if I learn butterfly and kipping pull-ups, how is it going to make my performance better, is it going to make me stronger, no, but it will make me more flexible, explosive, improve coordination, work my cardiovascular endurance and grip. This is why these things get me on the fence, on one side I’m like, if we’re doing pull-ups we’re all doing pull-ups, if we’re kipping we’re all kipping, if we’re butterflying then we’re all butterflying. But, I also see that this is not fair, as one works on making a movement as efficient as possible, take the CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch for example, same thing, you can pull, swing or dead snatch. But then again, is a butterfly pull-up still really a pull-up, is there much pulling going on or is it more motion and movement?!
Having said all that, I’m doing CrossFit, I’m a qualified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, so I need to shut the hell up and work on my kipping plus butterfly skills.
So if you see someone in the gym jumping up and having full arms extended going into a chest to bar pull-up —pulling up—, it might be me! But also know that they’re still meeting movement standards, they just need to work on their skills and are making it harder for themselves.
In all seriousness, I want to improve my kipping and butterfly skills, but I also want to keep my strict pull-up skills that I’ve developed. I’m puzzled why CrossFit does not program strict chin-ups or pull-ups, or if they do, why they don’t do more. As the chin-up is such a great exercise to work the biceps and rear delts, and there is nothing better than the wide grip pull-up to develop broad lats.