Butterfly Pull Up

Blocking Movement for Quality Pull Ups

In this series, Coach Carl demonstrates how to apply the concept of blocking movement to clean up positions and facilitate skill transfer. We've seen this demonstrated with the Push Up progression already where we do that movement with the elbows in, and now it's time to take this concept to other movemnts to clean up your form.

In this video, Coach Carl and Courtney work cleaning up the Pull Up by forcing the feet to stay together throughout the whole movement.  They accomplish this by tucking and holding a Slingshot between the athlete's feet while doing the Pull Up.  While this may significantly slow down the movement and may feel more difficult and more work, it will help the athlete focus on better mechanics and greater efficiency by tightening up the legs and activating the hips in a better position to drive the athletes up to the bar.

Butterfly Pull Up

  • Initiate a kip by swinging feet front and back, and follow swing motion through to hips and then shoulders
  • The body should bow from global extension to global flexion
  • At the apex of the "from" portion of the swing you will spot the bar, and do the fastest pull that will get your chin over the bar (or chest to the bar)
  • Follow through by pulling yourself under the bar by maintaining global extension
  • When arms reach full extension, the body should be fully extended as well; i.e. arms behind ears, hips forward and feet behind you
  • If you hit the sweet spot the body should be fully loaded to initiate the next swing and pull up

Note: Make sure to maintain traction through full range of motion.

Butterfly Pull Up Progression Pt.1

The Butterfly Pull Up is the most dynamic Pull Up variation and utilizes the entire body to transition into faster and stronger pulls.  Compared with the Kipping Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up cuts down on half of the swing cycle and thus results in much faster reps.  Compared with the Strict Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up maximizes the use of the kip swing and thus results in the ability to do more volume.  Needless to say, this Butterfly Pull Up variation requires the most skill - which means more practice!

In this first video, Carl demonstrates the fundamental differences between the Butterfly and Kipping Pull Up transitions on a low-bar.  With feet still on the ground and relaxed, this set up is a great opportunity to find your optimal body positions for the pull up and the drop.  Note that the head position is now different than what was ideal for the strict and kipping pull up; you will want to look up above the horizon and bar as your body is in global extension during the transition and you may not even see the bar as you pull past it.  The rules for the head position are the same: if you look up at the right time your body will project in global extension to load up properly for the next rep; if you panic to spot the bar or the ground you will likely interrupt the kip and drop prematurely.

Butterfly Pull Up Progression Pt.2

The Butterfly Pull Up is the most dynamic Pull Up variation and utilizes the entire body to transition into faster and stronger pulls.  Compared with the Kipping Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up cuts down on half of the swing cycle and thus results in much faster reps.  Compared with the Strict Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up maximizes the use of the kip swing and thus results in the ability to do more volume.  Needless to say, this Butterfly Pull Up variation requires the most skill - which means more practice!

In this video, Coach Carl demonstrates the butterfly pull up in slow motion and pausing at the end of each transition.  Carl discusses the body shapes for the butterfly pull up; going from a kip up to the bar by pulling the body up in global flexion or hollow body, to dropping down to the bottom by pushing the body into global extension or superman.  The ability to create these big shapes with your body is key to learning this skill, so start off slow to figure out how to get into these basic shapes before attempting to go fast.

Butterfly Pull Up Progression Pt.3

The Butterfly Pull Up is the most dynamic Pull Up variation and utilizes the entire body to transition into faster and stronger pulls.  Compared with the Kipping Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up cuts down on half of the swing cycle and thus results in much faster reps.  Compared with the Strict Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up maximizes the use of the kip swing and thus results in the ability to do more volume.  Needless to say, this Butterfly Pull Up variation requires the most skill - which means more practice!

In this video, Carl explains how to add a kick in the kip swing for more explosiveness to yeild more speed and power. We normally talk about keeping the legs straight while kipping for a simple shape, globally flexing and extending the body like a bow with no kinks in the system.  However, if timed right a knee bend and kick may be executed at the right time to load the system up even more to add more tension to be released in the kip.  As we add more complexity to the skill, it's important to still keep a focus on the clean form and good positions while practicing the new techniques and timing, otherwise the movement quickly becomes an out-of-control, swinging mess.

Butterfly Pull Up Progression Pt.4

The Butterfly Pull Up is the most dynamic Pull Up variation and utilizes the entire body to transition into faster and stronger pulls.  Compared with the Kipping Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up cuts down on half of the swing cycle and thus results in much faster reps.  Compared with the Strict Pull Up, the Butterfly Pull Up maximizes the use of the kip swing and thus results in the ability to do more volume.  Needless to say, this Butterfly Pull Up variation requires the most skill - which means more practice!

In this video, Carl explains how to clean up your form and execute the Butterfly Pull Ups with a good shoulder position.  We practice pull ups not just for the sake of more pull ups, but the goal is to make this an opportunity for skill transfer into other pulling movements like Muscle Ups, Rope Climbs, and etc.  For maximum skill transfer benefit, we need to make sure the shoulders are well prepped and that the elbows are not flaring out during the transitions.  No matter how strong you are it would be very hard to transition to and receive into a strong dip if your elbows are way out to the side as a result of a sloppy pull up.  Keep everything close and tight to the midline, and you'll have faster, stronger, and more efficient transitions!

Chest to Bar Butterfly Pull Up with Kick

... (details coming soon)

Controlled Chest to Bar Butterfly Pull Up

... (details coming soon)

CrossFit Games Breakdown - Regionals Workouts - Pt.5

With the 2011 CrossFit Games Regionals Workouts announced ahead of the competition this year, we are fortunate enough to get a chance to break down some of the key gymnastics movements for you with some final coaching tips and cues. In this video, Carl talks about the Pull Ups, and strategies to preserve your hands to minimize suffering down the line.

There will be Pull Ups, and there will be a lot of them. And if you are not prepared, most likely your hands will tear from the volume and you'll put the subsequent workouts at risk. Recall the GWOD training you've done with practicing your false grips, and try to apply a bit of that grip to the bar to minimize rubbing and friction on your calluses - use your wrists instead to pivot, and it'll work whether you kip, butterfly, or do it strict like a beast.

CrossFit Games Breakdown - Week 6 Workout - Pt.3

You're tuned in once again to this week's CrossFit Games Workout 11.6! In this video Carl breaks down the key cues to help you get your chest to the bar with those pull ups. POSITIONS: Keep your head neutral, shoulders on the shelf, pull your elbows all the way back. MOVEMENT: Explosive kip/kick and row back. PURPOSE: Chest slapping the bar for a PR party!