Crossfit Pull up

Pull Ups: You Can Do This!

Pull ups, the holy grail of strength for every junior high boy and girl in P.E. You may have gotten a few when you were younger but now, now you are not so sure. We are here to tell you that you can do this! With the right skill progression and some resolve, pull ups are in your future. Why the pull up though? The pull up offers a body weight movement that greatly strengthens your upper body, core, and grip strength. CrossFit is also all about functional fitness, imagine you are hanging off a cliff, you will probably want to be able to do at least one pull up.

Progressions to Get Your First Pull Up

When we teach gymnastics at CrossFit Citadel, first we work on developing strict strength before adding any kip.

These pull up accessory moves are meant to develop the strength needed for your first strict pull up.

Hollow Body, Superman Positions

First, we start by practicing the hollow body position.  This is one of two positions we try to hold on the pull up bar. The second position is the Superman hold, which is opposite of the hollow body.  If you are unable to hold yourself on the bar, you can do both holds on the floor.

Pull-Up Hollow Hold

Hollow Hold on the bar

Hollow Hold Pull-Up Progression

Hollow Hold on the floor

Ring Rows

Second, we start with the ring row.  Ring rows are great for beginners to help develop a more general pulling strength.  You can gradually increase the difficulty as needed.


Ring Row Starting Position

Ring Row Ending Position

Ring Row Ending Position

Negative Pull Ups

Once we develop some arm and back strength we can work on a negative pull up.  You can use a pull up bar or rings to do this.  Use a box or plates to step up or jump up to the top of the bar where your chin is over the bar.  Slowly let your self down focusing on holding a hollow body on this drill.

If you are looking to add pull ups into a workout, you can try a toe pull up.  Start seated on the ground underneath a bar.  With the help of your legs you will then pull yourself up.

Negative Pull-Up Starting Position

Start with Chin over the Bar

Negative Pull-Up Ending Position

Lower Yourself to the Floor

Workout Options

  • Hollow Body + Active Hang
  • Ring Row: 10×3 hard or 6×7 easy
  • Toe Pull Ups: use rings or bar
  • Mix Up Grip
  • Use Rings instead of the Bar

Warm-up/Cash out Drill

Banded pull-down: accumulate 20-30 reps

Banded Pull-Down Starting Position

Start Seated with Bar Overhead

Banded Pull-Down Ending Position

Pull the Bar Under Your Chin

The real takeaway is, even though pull ups may seem well out of reach CrossFit Citadel has a plan to get you strong, get you up on that bar and showing your 14 year old self you still have it. We look forward to see you at the box.